|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Shop||Mobile|
MS Dhoni leads team from the front to put paid to Sri Lanka's hopes
Twenty-eight years after they first won the World Cup, India became the second team not called Australia (West Indies is the other) to win a second title. Favourites going into the tournament, the tenth, they came up against Sri Lanka, playing their second World Cup final in a row, and broke a number of hoodoos in the Mumbai final: of home teams never having won the title, teams chasing having won only twice before, and century-makers in finals never having finished on the losing side. When Mahela Jayawardene produced a perfectly paced hundred and Lasith Malinga struck early to reduce them to 31 for 2, India looked a long shot, but Gautam Gambhir anchored them with a resolute 97. Then MS Dhoni, the captain, walked out at No. 5 instead of Yuvraj Singh - who was later voted Man of the Tournament - and delivered an innings for the ages, seeing off the threat of Muttiah Muralitharan, playing in his last game, and finishing proceedings majestically with a six clouted high over long-on to cue night-long celebrations all over Mumbai and India.
Singapore's inaugural one-day international, and some unforgettable pyrotechnics from Sanath Jayasuriya. At the smallish Padang ground he savaged Pakistan for a century off just 48 balls - a record at the time - and in all walloped 134 off 65 balls of pure bedlam. There were 11 fours and 11 sixes, including four sixes in a row. Sri Lanka won a match of 664 runs, another record that has since been broken. The next time they met Pakistan, in the final five days later, Jayasuriya belted 76... off 28 balls.
Australian batsman Michael Clarke, who was born today, had a sensational debut against India in Bangalore in 2004, scoring 151 to give Australia the series lead in the conquest of their "final frontier". His first Test season ended with the Allan Border Medal but Clarke's career hit a pothole thereafter when he was dropped in 2005 after a succession of poor scores. He bounced back by scoring a double-century for New South Wales in the Pura Cup and fought his way back into the national team. He scored 389 runs at nearly 78 in the 2006-07 Ashes. Clarke took over from Ricky Ponting as Australia's captain in all three formats in 2011 and after leading the side to defeats in Cape Town - where Australia were bowled out for 47 - and Horbart, against New Zealand, he presided over a series whitewash over India, scoring his maiden triple-century, in Sydney, in the process. In his next seven Tests he scored three double-hundreds, and ended 2012 with 1595 runs, averaging over 100. The year 2013 started off equally productively in terms of his run-scoring, but Australia lost 0-4 in India and 3-0 in England. No one expected anything different for the home Ashes at the end of the year. But Clarke led Australia's resurgence with a 5-0 mauling of England and a 2-1 defeat of South Africa away.
Birth of an innovator. Dermot Reeve had enough theories and plans to make an MCC member choke on his coaching manual. In one match, against Hampshire in 1996, he deliberately dropped his bat time and time again when facing left-arm spinner Raj Maru, so that he could not be given out caught off the glove. Reeve and Bob Woolmer formed a fearsome captain-coach partnership and led Warwickshire to unprecedented success in the mid-1990s. Reeve - who was born in Hong Kong, and played for them in the 1982 ICC Trophy - could certainly play (he famously mauled Allan Donald in the 1991-92 World Cup semi-final, and had about six different slower balls), and was probably unlucky not to lead England in one-day cricket.
One of cricket's finest writers was born, in Manchester. Neville Cardus revolutionised sports-writing by rejecting the accepted way of doing things; Matthew Engel described him as "an artist of devastating originality". A Guardian man, who was notably anti-establishment and whose beginnings in life were distinctly humble, Cardus was knighted in 1967 and died in 1975. He was also a distinguished writer on music.
Pakistan seamer Mahmood Hussain, who was born today, gave wholehearted support to the great Fazal Mahmood in Pakistan's formative years as a Test-playing nation, and took five wickets in their memorable victory over England at The Oval in 1954. Mahmood was often overbowled, but one of his injuries was a blessing in disguise: he bowled only five balls before hobbling off in Kingston in 1957-58, when Garry Sobers smacked his famous 365 not out. Mahmood died at Harrow in 1991.
Birth of the gangling New Zealand swing bowler Richard Collinge, who despite 110 Test wickets and a batting average of 14 is best remembered for his feats with the willow. Against Pakistan in Auckland in 1972-73, Collinge made 68 not out, then the highest Test score by a No. 11, and added a record 151 for the 10th wicket with Brian Hastings. But bowling was his trade, and he took six wickets in New Zealand's first victory over England, in Wellington, including, crucially, Geoff Boycott in each innings. Only Richard Hadlee has taken more wickets (97) for New Zealand against England than Collinge's 48.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
2014 in review: Player strikes, defeats against fellow minnows, and mountains of debt for the board marked another grim year for Zimbabwe
Ashley Mallett: Nearly 150 years ago, the MCG saw the start of a much-loved tradition, with a match starring Aboriginal players
2014 in review: Embarrassing defeats, a beleaguered captain, a bitter former star, alienating administrators - England's year was gloomy. By George Dobell
Gallery: Efforts by Surrey have helped transform a coastal village in Sri Lanka devastated by the December 26 tsunami
Anantha Narayanan: An anecdotal account of close finishes similar to the recent Adelaide Test
A look at some of cricket's most memorable strokes - and their makers