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Wisden CricInfo staff
April 18, 2003
The day Brian Charles Lara made the highest score in Test history. He started the third day of the fifth Test against England in Antigua unbeaten on 320, and an already delirious crowd reached fever pitch as he closed in on Garry Sobers's 365. Lara went level with Sobers when he creamed Andy Caddick through the covers for four, and in the next over he pulled Chris Lewis through square leg to break the record. A manic pitch invasion ensued, and Sobers made his way through the melee to offer his congratulations. Nobody realised it at the time, but Lara had come perilously close to dislodging a bail as he rocked back for the pull. Six runs later, he edged Caddick to Jack Russell for 375, off 538 balls and 766 minutes, including 45 fours. It might have seemed like the pinnacle, but this was just the start: six weeks later, batting for Warwickshire against Durham, Lara made 501 not out, the highest score in first-class history.
The birth of Macko. Malcolm Marshall arguably had more weaponry than any quick bowler in the history of the game: late swing both ways; seam movement on all but the most lifeless surface; genuine pace from that famous, whippy action; a skiddy bouncer made all the more unplayable because of his low trajectory; all backed up by the keenest and most cunning of cricketing minds. And though a thoroughly decent and popular man, Marshall had the necessary devil: on his first tour as a Test player, to India in 1978-79, Marshall felt cheated when Dilip Vengsarkar claimed a dodgy catch. He waited four years for revenge, and in 10 Tests between 1982 and 1984 nailed Vengsarkar no fewer than nine times. Marshall was brave too, and nobody will forget his demolition of England at Headingley in 1984, when he batted one-handed and then took 7 for 53 with his fractured thumb in plaster. He was widely mourned when he succumbed to cancer in 1999, at the early age of 41
An historic day in Barbados, as South Africa began their first Test for 22 years following their return to the international arena, and their first ever against a non-white team.
One of England's most influential administrators is born. Essex's Doug Insole did play nine Tests, with his unusually bottom-handed technique bringing one century at Durban in 1956-57, but it was upon retirement that he really made a name for himself. His CV includes being an England selector for 19 years - he was the man who dropped Geoff Boycott for slow (or, in Insole's words, "selfish") batting - on the MCC committee for over 20, and managing two England tours of Australia, including one in 1978-79 when he managed to ward off the advances of Kerry Packer.
Phil Simmons, who was born today in Trinidad, never quite translated his clean-hitting potential to the top level for West Indies, although he threatened to crack it in 1992-93, when he made his one Test hundred - 110 at the MCG - and a couple of 80s against Australia and Pakistan. Simmons excelled at Leicestershire, whom he helped to the County Championship in 1996 and 1998. His earlier experiences of cricket in England were less happy: in 1988 he was struck by David Lawrence in a tour game and had to have emergency brain surgery to save his life.
A Sharjah final, Pakistan against India, and Pakistan needed four to win off the final ball. Chetan Sharma was bowling to Javed Miandad, who smacked a mighty six to conclude a sensational innings of 116 not out off 114 balls, for which he was showered with umpteen gifts. It was Pakistan's first victory in a major tournament and kickstarted a woeful run for India: they've hardly won a final outside their own country since.
1858 George McShane (Australia)
1867 Thomas Routledge (South Africa)
1901 Wilf Barber (England)
1914 CS Nayudu (India)
1927 Jim de Courcy (Australia)
1944 Irvine Shillingford (West Indies)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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