October 26, 2003

It's not how you start ...

Wisden Cricinfo staff
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All Today's Yesterdays - October 26 down the years

October 25 | October 27

1965
Few people have had as bad a start to their Test career as Ken Rutherford, who was born today. Rutherford was 19 when he was thrown in at the deep end in the Caribbean in 1984-85, and made only 12 runs in seven innings (and was run out without facing a ball to bag a pair on debut). He was out five times to Malcolm Marshall, who did to him what Curtly Ambrose would do to Graeme Hick six years later. But Rutherford eventually came of age, and at his best was an impressively assertive performer (he cracked 317 in four hours against Brian Close's XI in 1986), undeniably better than an average of 27 suggests. He would surely have improved on that had his Test career not ended in 1995 when, aged only 29, he lost the captaincy and his place.

1987
In a winner-takes-all showdown at Jaipur, England grabbed their second victory over West Indies in their World Cup group in a thrilling match that virtually clinched their semi-final place. Graham Gooch hit a controlled 92 before John Emburey and Phil DeFreitas helped add 83 off the last 10 overs to set West Indies a target of 270. Viv Richards raced to fifty at a run a ball, including three sixes, but the tide turned when he was bowled by Eddie Hemmings. After that the lower order fell away to DeFreitas (3 for 28) and England won by 34 runs, 22 of which came from West Indian wides.

1890
Birth of perhaps the only Test player to be taken prisoner during the First World War. Harry Lee was erroneously reported dead after being captured by the Germans, though he did suffer a badly broken thigh, as a result of which he was told he would never play cricket again. This proved incorrect, although he was left with a permanent limp. Despite this Lee went on to make over 20,000 runs and take more than 400 wickets for Middlesex. His one Test came in South Africa in 1930-31, when he was called up after a series of injuries hit Percy Chapman's team. He died in London in 1981.

1952
Pakistan's maiden Test victory. In only their second match, played on jute matting at Lucknow, they thrashed India by an innings and 43 runs. That master craftsman Fazal Mahmood was the star man, taking 5 for 52 and 7 for 42 (his best figures in Tests) as India were blown away for 106 and 182. Nazar Mohammad anchored Pakistan's 331 with a painstaking unbeaten 124, carrying his bat after 515 minutes at the crease. He became the first man to be on the field throughout an entire Test match.

1998
A historic day for Australia at Karachi. They drew the third Test to clinch their first series victory in Pakistan for 39 years. An outstanding performance from Glenn McGrath (5 for 66) gave them a first-innings lead of 28, and from there they were happy to bat Pakistan out of the match and the series. Justin Langer took almost four hours to make 51, and in all Australia's 390 took 142.3 overs. There was only one winner after that. As the match petered out, there was another hundred for Ijaz Ahmed, half of whose 12 Test tons came against the Aussies.

1961
England grabbed their first win in Pakistan at the first attempt with a five-wicket win at Lahore. Despite 139 from Ken Barrington and 99 from MJK Smith, England trailed by seven on first innings, but they whipped Pakistan out for 200 in their second knock and the captain Ted Dexter (66 not out) took them home comfortably. It was a bit of a false dawn though - England failed to win any of their next 19 Tests in Pakistan (17 of which were drawn) before Graham Thorpe's Chinese cut off Saqlain Mushtaq sealed a famous victory in the Karachi gloom last December.

Other birthdays
1950 TE Srinivasan (India)
1971 Ronnie Irani (England)