The history boy
All Today's Yesterdays - September 8 down the years
A moment of history at the Sinhalese Sports Club, Colombo, as Mohammad Ashraful of Bangladesh becomes the youngest man, or boy, ever to make a Test century. Ashraful made 114 in Bangladesh's second innings against Sri Lanka, and though this did not have much of an impact on the result - trailing by 465 runs on first innings, they were eventually bowled out for 328 - it was quite some consolation for the perennial whipping boys of world cricket. It was the day before Ashraful's 17th birthday according to some sources, and 63 days after it according to others; either way, he broke the longstanding record for the youngest centurion set by Mushtaq Mohammad when he made 101 for Pakistan against India in 1960-61 (17 years, 82 days).
Birth of a Test cricketer who became an important coach in the art of legspin. Although he took 5 for 90 on a batsman's pitch at Port-of-Spain in 1972-73, Terry Jenner was best known for being hit on the head by England fast bowler John Snow at Sydney in 1970-71. But he made a significant contribution to Test cricket by recognising and nurturing the talent of Shane Warne.
At long last, after defeat in two previous finals, Somerset won their first major trophy, beating Northants at Lord's to win the Gillette Cup. Their West Indian Test stars did all the damage. Viv Richards was made Man of the Match for his superb 117, and big Joel Garner sent the ball down from the stratosphere to take 6 for 29. Like people waiting for a bus, Somerset spent 104 years without winning a title - then two came along together: they won the Sunday League the following day.
England Test selector Geoff Miller was born. Although he surprised many people, including himself, by playing in 34 Tests, there were moments where he looked a useful allrounder. He helped England beat a weakened Australia 5-1 in 1978-79, taking his only five-wicket haul at Sydney. Typical of a nearly man, he twice hit 98 in Tests. His biggest moment came at Melbourne in 1982-83. A long last-wicket stand left Australia needing only four runs to win when Jeff Thomson edged Ian Botham to slip. Chris Tavaré could only get his fingertips to it, but Miller pouched the rebound for a dramatic victory.
The first Test ever played in England came to an end at The Oval. Billy Murdoch hit an unbeaten 153 (one run more than WG Grace scored two days earlier: see September 6) - but Australia could only set England a target of 57. They lost five wickets in reaching it. September 8 is still the latest date on which Test cricket has been played in England.
Before Daniel Vettori arrived in 1996-97, New Zealand's youngest Test player was Doug Freeman, who was born today. He was only 18 years 197 days old when he played in the first of his two Tests, both against a powerful England side that had just regained the Ashes in 1932-33. While the mighty Wally Hammond was hitting 227 at Christchurch and a world record 336 not out at Auckland, Freeman's legspin was bringing him figures of 0 for 78 and 1 for 91. His only Test victim was a distinguished one: the great Herbert Sutcliffe caught by Lindsay "Dad" Weir for 24. Young Freeman's entire first-class career consisted of only five matches.
A century comes to an end. Edward Aspey English was once the longest-lived first-class cricketer. He played 18 matches for Hampshire from 1898 to 1901 and died today at the age of 102 years 250 days.