June 29, 2003

Those two little pals of mine

Wisden CricInfo staff

All Today's Yesterdays - June 29 down the years

A landmark day for West Indian cricket. West Indies won their first Test in England, a 326-run thrashing at Lord's, led by a mystifying display from their young spin twins Sonny Ramadhin and Alf Valentine. They were both playing their second Tests, having each only played two first-class matches before the tour. Valentine's match figures were 116-75-127-7 (the 75 maidens are still a Test record), and Ramadhin's 115-70-152-11; it was the slowest torture imaginable. They were abetted by 168 from Clyde Walcott, an innings that John Arlott described as being "of thunder, of almost biblical intensity". England never recovered, and lost 3-1 a series they had expected to win comfortably. Maybe hubris set in. A crowd full of West Indian fans didn't care as they celebrated joyously, and a famous Calypso song - "With those little pals of mine, Ramadhin and Valentine" - was born.

Birth of the gangling Victorian seamer Alan Connolly, a bit of an unsung hero for Australia in the sixties. He finished with 102 wickets, and four five-fors - none of which came in Aussie victories. His best figures were 6 for 47 against South Africa at Port Elizabeth ... when Australia were routed by 323 runs. Unusually, Connolly excelled overseas, with 66 in 16 Tests. At home he took only 36 in 13. He also played county cricket for Middlesex.

Whatever happened to Paul Jarvis, the England pace bowler who was born today? When he became Yorkshire's youngest-ever player - at just 16 years 75 days - he was burdened with a "new Fred Trueman" tag, but he never got close, taking only 21 wickets in nine Tests. Injuries didn't help, nor did the selectors' penchant for shunting him in and out of them (those nine Tests came in five instalments, either side of Jarvis's ban for going on the South African rebel tour of 1989-90). Jarvis later played for Sussex and Somerset, but got nowhere near leaving the legacy people expected, although he has taken almost twice as many one-day wickets in India than any other Englishman. It's not much consolation.

The fifth-highest opening partnership in Test history - and Sri Lanka's highest by almost 150 runs. In a dead rubber against Pakistan at Kandy, Sanath Jayasuriya and Marvan Atapattu put on 335, with Atapattu making his third Test double-hundred. In a match of only 155.4 overs, Atapattu was still there at the bitter end, 207 not out and having dead-batted allcomers into submission.

Another weighty partnership, this one for the eighth wicket. Les Ames and Gubby Allen got England out of a hole by adding 246 against New Zealand at Lord's, with Allen making his only Test hundred and Ames his first in England. At the time it was the highest for the eighth-wicket in Test history, but it's been passed twice in the last six years, by Wasim Akram and Saqlain Mushtaq at Sheikupura in 1996-97, and by Nathan Astle and Adam Parore at Perth in 2001-02.

Birth of the link in the only three-generation Test-playing family. West Indian opener Ron Headley was the son of the great George and father of England seamer Dean. He played just two Tests, both in England in 1973. Headley played much of his cricket in England, for Worcestershire and Derbyshire.

Long before speed-guns inflated Shoaib Akhtar's ego further, Worcestershire's Robert Burrows bowled Lancashire's William Huddleston in a County Championship match at Old Trafford - and sent the bail flying 67 yards. It's a record that even Shoaib hasn't broken.

Other birthdays
1947 Jeff Moss (Australia) 1969 Simon Brown (England)