January 3 down the years

Five-ton Weekes

A quintet of centuries for the West Indian

Everton Weekes (right) made 141, 128, 194, 162 and 101 back to back © Getty Images

That devastating and prolific batsman Everton Weekes set a world record that looks likely to last a while longer. His 101 in Calcutta completed a sequence of scoring a century in each of five consecutive Test innings. He might have set a target that would really have had 'em chasing if he hadn't been run out for 90 in his next Test innings, in Madras. Weekes' run began with 141 against England in Kingston in March 1948 and continued with 128 in Delhi, 194 in Bombay and then 162 in the first innings in Calcutta. In 1955, Weekes also scored three back-to-back hundreds against New Zealand.

If we say one of cricket's great characters was born, it might suggest Arthur Mailey was better known for his whims and wit than his legbreaks. But he's still the only bowler to take nine wickets in a Test innings for Australia, his 9 for 121 against England in Melbourne helping Australia to win the series 5-0. Happy to buy his wickets when necessary ("Medium-pacers can keep the score down. I'm here to take wickets"), he was amused to finish with 99 in Tests, and his 10 for 66 in an innings against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham in 1921 gave him the perfect title for his autobiography: Ten For 66 And All That.

Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow's 399-run stand in Cape Town set a new record for the sixth wicket in Tests - surpassing Kane Williamson and BJ Watling's 365 from the year before - and the second-highest overall for England. Stokes' double-hundred was the second fastest of all time, of which 130 came on the morning of day two, breaking an 81-year-old record for most runs by a batsman in the first session of a day in Tests. The drawn match was a run fest. Hashim Amla also scored a double-century (and then stepped down as South Africa's Test captain), and wicketkeeper Temba Bavuma became the country's first black African batsman to score a Test hundred.

A dream day for Steve Waugh at his home ground in Sydney. Playing his last Ashes Test, Waugh clattered Richard Dawson through cover to bring up his hundred off the final ball of the day. It was an uncharacteristically quick knock too, taking just 130 balls. Earlier that day, Waugh had reached another milestone, becoming only the third player - after Sunil Gavaskar and Allan Border - to score 10,000 runs in Test cricket.

Tension all around as Australia's last two batsmen, tailenders Doug Ring and Bill Johnston, put on 38 to win the Melbourne Test. Instead of winning their second successive Test to level the series, West Indies lost it after going 3-1 down.

The first of too many in English eyes. Here in Melbourne, Don Bradman made his maiden Test century, one of 19 against England, a record for any batsman against any one country.

Australia's only win in the Bodyline series was in Melbourne. Don Bradman returned to the side for the second Test, after illness kept him out of the first, and was bowled first ball by Bill Bowes. However England captain Douglas Jardine had made the mistake of including Bowes in place of spinner Hedley Verity, anticipating a fast track. The dead pitch instead favoured the Australian spinners - Bill O'Reilly took a match haul of 10 for 129 - and Bradman scored an unbeaten century in the second innings. Australia won by 111 runs.

Two more centuries for Bradman in Melbourne, in both innings - the only time in his career - in Australia's 233-run win against India. Vinoo Mankad scored the only century by India and took 4 for 135 in the first innings. Indian wicketkeeper Khokhan Singh made his debut in the Test.

Another Australia-India match in Melbourne, but one that India won to record their first success in the country. On the fourth day Bhagwath Chandrasekhar took 6 for 52 for the second time in the match to bring Australia down to their knees at 123 for 8, needing 387 to win. Bishan Bedi took the final two on the fifth day and India won by 222 runs. Sunil Gavaskar scored the only century in the low-scoring game.

Mohammad Azharuddin announced his arrival with a century on debut in an otherwise tedious draw with England in Calcutta. The hosts reached 164 for 4 on day one and added only ten more on day two, more or less lost to smog and rain. Azhar batted soundly during his 110 but his partnership with Ravi Shastri dragged on painfully till the third day, for they scored at under two an over. Shastri, who batted on all five days of the match, took an hour longer for his second fifty than for his first, seven hours in all, and spent an hour in the 90s.

Unorthodox slow left-armer Lindsay Kline, who featured in another famous last-wicket stand against West Indies, in Adelaide in 1960-61, did his day job today in Cape Town, taking a hat-trick to wrap up Australia's innings win over South Africa.

Queensland wicketkeeper Don Tallon, one of the greatest ever produced by Australia, made his 12th dismissal of the match against New South Wales in Sydney. This equalled Ted Pooley's total for Surrey against Sussex at The Oval way back in 1868, and remained a joint world record until Wayne James made 13 dismissals for Matabeleland against Mashonaland in Bulawayo in 1995-96.

Test centuries by No. 10 batsmen don't grow on trees, and only two have been scored by a No. 10 making his debut. Held back while a rain-affected pitch lost its venom, Reggie Duff - who usually opened - hit 104 to help Australia beat England in Melbourne. He and fellow debutant Warwick Armstrong made Test cricket's first century partnership for the last wicket. The next day Hugh Trumble finished off their second innings with the first of his two Test hat-tricks and Australia won by 229 runs.

Birth of Indian seamer Chetan Sharma, best remembered for the victorious six Javed Miandad hit off him from the last ball of the 1986 Sharjah final. Two months later, Sharma took his only ten-wicket haul in Tests, against England at Edgbaston. When Sharma took the first World Cup hat-trick (all bowled) against New Zealand in Nagpur in 1987-88, joy wasn't altogether unconfined: there had been murmurs about his bowling action, especially when he sent down the bouncer. Another action raised some eyebrows in Kanpur in 1989-90: a startling one-day hundred against England.

Talking of one-day international hat-tricks... Eddo Brandes, chicken farmer and seamer rolled into one, took 5 for 28, including three in three balls, against England in Harare as Zimbabwe sealed the series 3-0.

A chequered career for Aamer Malik, who was born today. He is one of only three men to score a century in both innings of his first-class debut (Arthur Morris and Nari Contractor are the others). Malik made a seven-hour unbeaten 98 in his second Test, made back-to-back hundreds against India in 1989-90, effected a Test stumping as stand-in keeper, took one Test wicket (Australia's Peter Taylor - batting at No. 2), and was recalled after a four-year absence to face Australia in 1994-95. He helped save the second Test with a crucial second-innings 65... and was dropped, this time for good.

Birth of England's first T20I centurion. Alex Hales had made 99 in his fifth T20, but had to wait two years before he could go past 100, during the 2014 World T20. He made his one-day debut that year and scored his maiden century in the format during England's memorable series win against Pakistan in the UAE in 2015. England's Test series defeat on that tour prompted the selectors to try out Hales as Alastair Cook's opening partner in the Tests in South Africa. He scored five fifties in 11 Tests between December 2015 and August 2016 before being dropped. But Hales was far more prolific in ODIs in that period, making five scores of 50-plus back to back and then setting the record for the highest score by an England batsman - 171, against Pakistan at Trent Bridge.

Other birthdays
1932 Jaswick Taylor (West Indies)
1943 Helen Lee (Australia
1979 Brent Arnel (New Zealand)