India's second-greatest triumph

Wisden CricInfo staff

July 13, 2003

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All Today's Yesterdays - July 13 down the years

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2002
Nineteen years on from their greatest triumph - the humbling of West Indies in the 1983 World Cup final - India returned to Lord's for another, no less astonishing, victory. This time, against England in the final of the NatWest Series, India did not start the match as rank outsiders, although the prospect of a tenth consecutive one-day final defeat weighed heavily on the players' minds. And at 146 for 5 chasing 327 for victory, with Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid all back in the pavilion, the contest was as good as over. But nobody, it seemed, had bothered to inform Mohammad Kaif and Yuvraj Singh (combined age 41). The pair added 121 in 106 balls to haul India back into contention, before Kaif sealed a two-wicket win with three balls to spare.

1953
An unsung hero is born. Of the big shots in West Indies' heavyweight 1980s side, Hilary Angelo Gomes (you can see why he was called "Larry") was the one most likely to escape the autograph hunters. But he added a crucial element of sobriety to the batting line-up, and was a watertight presence at No. 3 or 4. Packer gave him the chance to break into the Test team, and he took it with two centuries against Australia in 1977-78. Indeed six of Gomes's nine Test hundreds came against the Aussies - in Australia he averaged 70 - none better than a diligent 127 on a Perth flyer in 1984-85. That was the third of four centuries in eight Tests in 1984, two of them in England. His average hovered tantalisingly above 40 until his last Test appearance, against New Zealand at Christchurch in 1986-87, when scores of 8 and 33 dropped it just below. This all looked very unlikely during an early three-year spell at Middlesex, when Gomes failed to make a century.

1979
From a prosaic left-hander to a stereotypical one. Just over a year after his Test debut, David Gower carved a regal unbeaten 200 against India at Edgbaston. Already Gower was building a reputation for himself - the Wisden Almanack said he was "less aggressive than usual" - but his double-hundred still came off only 279 balls as England careered to 633 for 5.

1954
Birth of the last orthodox slow left-armer to play a Test for Australia. The Victorian Ray Bright's last series was in India in 1986-87 - he took 5 for 94 in the second innings of the tied Test at Madras - and he had the misfortune to ply his trade during Australia's nadir in the 1980s. The Aussies won only two of Bright's 25 Tests, and in Australia he averaged 68. That was one of many statistics that added up to an at-times torrid Test career: he averaged 89 in draws, 50 in the first innings, 182 when Australia lost the toss and were put in (when he took a wicket every 83 overs). And in 19 of his 39 innings, he failed to take a wicket at all.

1945
A more productive Australian spinner is born. Ashley Mallett was the best Aussie offspinner of the 20th century, in terms of output. He took 132 wickets from 38 Tests, 74 of them in victories. All of his six five-fors came in his first 13 Tests. The last of them, 8 for 59 against Pakistan at Adelaide in 1972-73, remain the best figures by a finger-spinner in a Test in Australia. Mallett later became a journalist, and has written biographies of Victor Trumper and Clarrie Grimmett. In 1981, "Rowdy" was banned for life by the Queensland Cricketers' Club for telling a series of off-colour jokes in the presence of ladies.

1974
They lap it up now, but India were actually quite slow to join cricket's pyjama party. On this day at Headingley they played their first one-day international, the last of the (then) six Test-playing nations to do so. They put up a decent fight, equalling the then-highest innings total (265) before John Edrich (90 off 97 balls) and Tony Greig (40 off 28) thumped England to a four-wicket victory.

1944
Birth of the hearty South Australian seamer Eric Freeman. He played 11 Tests between 1967-68 and 1969-70, peaking with 4 for 52 against West Indies on his home ground at Adelaide in 1968-69. He was dropped for good after Australia's humbling in South Africa a year later.

Other birthdays

1934 Ivor Mendonca (West Indies)
1941 Grahame Corling (Australia)
1964 Utpal Chatterjee (India)

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