May 26, 2003

The hard-nosed Kiwi

All Today's Yesterdays - May 26 down the years

1947
Birth of one of New Zealand's finest batsmen. Glenn Turner combined a hard-nosed mental toughness with a textbook technique and an increasingly extensive array of strokes to mould himself into a formidable opening batsman. He added 387 with Terry Jarvis in Guyana in 1971-72, the second-highest opening partnership in Test history. Turner went on to make a massive 259, one of four double-centuries he made on that tour, two in the Tests and two in tour matches. In all he averaged 65.77 in Tests against West Indies, more than even Sunil Gavaskar. He also became the first New Zealander to score two hundreds in a Test, at Christchurch in 1973-74, when the Kiwis beat Australia for the first time. Turner was an outstanding servant for Worcestershire, but his most famous achievement in England came as a New Zealand tourist: in 1973 he became the first person to score 1000 runs by the end of May for 35 years. He later managed New Zealand, and is now coach of Otago.

1995
Everyone thought England had picked the wrong Lancastrian when Peter "Digger" Martin was called up for the one-day series against West Indies. Glenn Chapple had just had a barnstorming A tour of India; Martin had never been on an A tour, but he got the nod and he grasped the nettle by bowling England to victory on this day at The Oval. Martin had a sensational start, taking 3 for 6 off his first four overs, including Brian Lara bowled neck and crop. He ended with 4 for 44, the Man of the Match award, and a Test debut two weeks later.

1948
Birth of the last white man to play for West Indies. The opener Geoff Greenidge, who like Gordon was born in Barbados, was the author of one of the most amazing debuts in cricket history. In only his fourth first-class match, for Barbados against Jamaica at Bridgetown in 1966-67, he cracked 205 and then took 7 for 124 in the first innings with his occasional legspinners. Both remained career bests: Greenidge only took six more wickets in 181 matches over the next ten years. His Test career was modest: he played only five times but never topped his debut 50, against New Zealand in Guyana in 1971-72. Greenidge also played for Sussex.

1920
A South African captain is born. Jack Cheetham was in charge when South Africa, famously and totally unexpectedly, pulled off a surprise 2-2 draw in Australia in 1952-53. He was an assertive middle-order batsman who made five Test fifties without ever reaching three figures. He was also captain in England in 1955, when South Africa came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2. Ironically, because of injury, Cheetham did not play in either victory, but he remained an inspiration to the side. He died in Johannesburg in 1980.

1996
A great day for Graham Thorpe ... with the ball. Thorpe took his only international wickets in the one-dayer against India at The Oval. Vikram Rathore was caught at long-on, and Sourav Ganguly was stumped off a wide. Thorpe looked like he couldn't believe it, and with good reason: he's only been brought on twice in 51 ODIs since.

1999
Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid added a monstrous 318 for the second wicket at Taunton as India sounded the death knell for Sri Lanka's defence of the World Cup. Ganguly creamed 183 off 147 balls, and Dravid 145 off 129. At the time it was a one-day record for any wicket, but it has since been broken ... and amazingly, Dravid was again involved. He added 331 - for the second wicket again - with Sachin Tendulkar against New Zealand at Hyderabad the following winter.

1921
Birth of the New Zealand wicketkeeper Frank Mooney, who was nicknamed "Starlight" because of his active social life and twinkling toes. That was in complete contrast to his on-field persona; Mooney was a crisp, undemonstrative keeper. He played 14 Tests but never managed more than the 46 he made in his first Test innings, at Headingley in 1949.

Other birthdays
1868 Howard Francis (South Africa)
1884 Louis Stricker (South Africa)
1966 Grant Bradburn (New Zealand)
1977 Avishka Gunawardene (Sri Lanka)

Comments