August 21, 2003

Who writes your scripts?

Wisden CricInfo staff

All Today's Yesterdays - August 21 down the years

August 20 | August 22

Nobody had a greater sense of theatre than Ian Botham. Restored to the England side after a ban for admitting to the use of marijuana, he took a wicket with his first ball against New Zealand at The Oval, having Bruce Edgar caught by Graham Gooch, whose remark said it all: "Who writes your scripts?" Botham had just taken his 355th Test wicket, equalling the world record. Naturally he soon got the 356th, Jeff Crowe lbw - and followed it up with a rapid fifty. Beefy was well and truly back.

One of England's most prominent and controversial legspinners was born. Doug Wright was prominent because he took seven hat-tricks, still a record in first-class cricket - and had his moments in the Test team too, including 7 for 105 at Sydney in 1946-47. But controversial because his 108 Test wickets cost 39.11 each: he simply bowled too many bad balls. Against the strong Australian teams he faced, this was asking for trouble. He was on the winning side only once in 14 Ashes Tests.

Yorkshire beat Surrey by three wickets at Chingford to win the inaugural women's County Championship.

Birth of the first woman to captain England in a Test. In the inaugural match, at Brisbane in 1934-35, Betty Archdale hit an unbeaten 32, her highest Test score, out of an unexceptional total of 154 - which was enough to win the match by nine wickets. Australia made only 138 and lost the three-match series 2-0. Archdale went to live in Australia, where she died in January 2000 aged 92.

Against Kent at The Oval, Surrey wicketkeeper Ted Pooley made his eighth stumping of the match, then a record in first-class cricket. Against Sussex on the same ground in 1868, he made 12 dismissals, another world record at the time and still the record for a first-class match in England. One of the best keepers of his day, he never won an England cap - although he would have played in the inaugural Test, at Melbourne in 1876-77, if he hadn't been in jail. He was arrested following a betting scam in New Zealand.

Other birthdays
1905 Stan Worthington (England)
1905 Errol Holmes (England)
1935 Ken Taylor (England)
1961 V.B.Chandrasekhar (India)
1970 Keith Semple (West Indies)
1975 Simon Katich (Australia)