July 29, 2003

Out of Africa

Wisden CricInfo staff

All Today's Yesterdays - July 29 down the years

July 28| July 30

Hamilton Masakadza becomes the first black African to score a Test century - and, for all of 41 days, the youngest debutant centurion in Test history. Aged just 17 years and 352 days at the start of the match, Masakadza's inclusion in the Zimbabwe team for the second Test against West Indies had been the subject of some controversy - many observers felt that, with just a year's first-class cricket under his belt, he was a political rather than a sporting selection. But, with Zimbabwe facing a first-innings deficit of 216, he silenced his doubters in emphatic fashion, batting for 388 minutes and 316 balls for his 119, with 12 fours. Zimbabwe declared on 563 for 6, and had rain not washed out the final day, they might even have squared the series. Masakadza was the seventh black African to play for Zimbabwe, but only the second out-and-out batsman, after Trevor Madondo, who had tragically died of malaria a month earlier. And, until Mohammad Ashraful made his bow for Bangladesh later in the year, only Mushtaq Mohammad and Sachin Tendulkar had reached three figures in a Test at a younger age.

One of the great England collapses. They had to bat out a day and a bit to draw the first Test against Pakistan at Lord's. At lunch on the final day they were one down and Ladbrokes had closed the book, with Mike Atherton and Alec Stewart looking untroubled. But then Atherton fell, and down England went like a bunch of drunks on a bouncy castle. They lost seven for 18 in a fearful collapse, with Mushtaq Ahmed at his most mischievous and Waqar Younis feasting on the scraps. Graeme Hick was Waqar-ed twice in the match for 4 - and he was also given not-out wrongly off a bat-pad catch off Mushtaq in the second innings. Only a couple of months after a Wisden Cricket Monthly cover had proclaimed that Hick was "nearly there", he would be dropped for the Test team for the next two years. His Test career was never the same again.

As he lambasts batsmen from the Sky Sports commentary box, it's sometimes easy to forget that Bob Willis had a Test batting average of 11, but he did once save a Test with the willow. When Willis marched to the crease against West Indies at The Oval, England were 92 for 9 in their second innings, just after lunch on the final day. But somehow, Willis survived for almost three hours. He made 24 not out, Peter Willey his first Test hundred, and England saved a match that looked lost.

England opener Dennis Amiss scored his 100th first-class hundred, for Warwickshire against Lancashire at Edgbaston.

Born with two fingers missing on his right hand, Azeem Hafeez went on to bowl left-arm pace for Pakistan. He took 63 wickets in 18 Tests, the last in 1984-85 when he was still only 21.

Some of us have never seen it happen, but on this day England retained the Ashes. They did so with a nine-wicket win at Headingley , as Derek Underwood exploited a grassless, flooded, and much-criticised pitch to take 10 for 82 in the match. England's top-scorers were the unlikely pair of Ray Illingworth (57) and John Snow (48), who effectively decided things with an eighth-wicket partnership of 104.

New Zealand opening batsman Terry Jarvis was born. His highest Test score of 182 was made in a mammoth opening partnership of 387 with Glenn Turner at Georgetown in 1971-72. New Zealand drew the series despite losing the toss every time.

To a Test cricketer, a son is born. Alfred Scott followed his father OC `Tommy' Scott into the West Indies team, but took 0 for 140 in his only Test.

Other birthdays
1933 Cammie Smith (West Indies)
1970 John Rennie (Zimbabwe)
1975 Lanka de Silva (Sri Lanka)