The mighty metronome

Wisden Cricinfo staff

July 4, 2003

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All Today's Yesterdays - July 4 down the years

1918
The quintessential English seamer is born. Surrey's Alec Bedser was simply one of England's greatest post-war bowlers, a disciple of line and length, seam and swing. He began his Test career with a staggering 22 wickets in his first two Tests, against India in 1946. Indeed, throughout his career Bedser's wickets came in clusters: 23 in three Tests against South Africa in 1951, 36 in four against Australia two years later, including match figures of 14 for 99 at Trent Bridge, the greatest in Test history by a bowler not on the winning side. He was later an England selector for a record 23 years, and was knighted in 1996. His twin brother Eric was also a fine allrounder for Surrey.

1981
Put in on a moist pitch in the County Championship match at Bournemouth, Nottinghamshire were dispatched for 143 by Hampshire. Nothing unusual in that, but while batsman after batsman laboured at one end, Clive Rice batted as if it was a Johannesburg shirtfront. He made a superb 105 not out; the next-highest score was Tim Robinson's 10. The Wisden Almanack report, presumably written by David Coleman, called his performance "remarkable".

1959
Birth of the highest runscorer in women's Test cricket history. Nobody can match Jan Brittin's 1935 runs, made in 27 Tests for England between 1979 and 1996. Her five hundreds are also a record.

1931
A prankster is born. England's Peter Richardson had a fondness for sending false cricket records to EW Swanton, for publication in the Daily Telegraph. Oh and he batted too, extremely successfully in 34 Tests between 1956 and 1963. A diligent left-handed opener, he made five hundreds in his first 16 Tests, including 104 against Australia in Laker's Match at Old Trafford in 1956. He played for Worcestershire and Kent, and in 1957, he played alongside his brother Dick in the Trent Bridge Test of 1957. They were the last brothers to do so for England until the Hollioakes.

1986
A burly 183 not out from Mike Gatting, in his second game as captain, was the highlight of England's drawn third Test against India at Edgbaston. It was a result not to be sneezed at - England had lost seven in a row going into this. This was also the debut of Mark Benson, the Kent opener. He faced his first ball with England at 0 for 2, made 21 and 30 in good style - and was never picked again.

1922
Birth of Ghulam Ahmed, one of India's premier spinners in their formative years of Test cricket. He was at his best on helpful wickets, where he could be lethal. Three of his four five-fors came in defeat though, including his best figures - 7 for 49 against Australia at Calcutta in 1956-57. He was an aggressive but essentially hopeless tailender - in 22 completed Test innings he made nine ducks, but he somehow made 50 against Pakistan at Delhi in 1952-53. He was secretary of the BCCI between 1975 and 1980, and died in his native Hyderabad in 1998.

1984
A complete mismatch at Edgbaston, where Warwickshire thumped Oxfordshire by 227 runs in a NatWest Trophy match. Alvin Kallicharran flayed 206 ... and then took 6 for 32 with his gentle offspinners. His was the first double-hundred in a one-day match in England, although it looks piddling compared to Ally Brown's butchery in the 2002 season.

1972
Craig Spearman, the New Zealand opener who turns 31 today, has never quite done justice to his explosive talent in 19 Tests. He slashed a quickfire 40 on debut, in a lowscoring match against Pakistan at Christchurch in 1995-96, and later that winter made his only hundred, against Zimbabwe at Auckland. His nature should have made him suited to the one-day game, but in 51 appearances he averaged only 18. He is now playing for Gloucestershire as a non-overseas player, qualifying by virtue of his Welsh mother.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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