|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Fantasy||Mobile|
The 916-wicket man
Birth of one of the greatest left-arm fast bowlers in history. Wasim Akram was at the top for almost 20 years, in which time his famous whippy action brought him a record 916 international wickets for Pakistan. In only his second Test, he took 10 for 128 in Dunedin and 11 for 179 in Wellington, when Pakistan toured in 1994. His annus mirabilis came in 1992, when he demolished England with two unforgettable, deliveries, to Allan Lamb and Chris Lewis, in the World Cup final in Melbourne, each a definition of unplayable. For good measure, Akram and Waqar Younis - partners in crime but never great friends - then bowled England to defeat in the Test series which followed. Akram was also an attacking batsman lower down the order and had a double-century against Zimbabwe to prove his credentials. Chuck in the film-star good looks and he really did have it all. His great career, which also included sterling work for Lancashire, was tainted only by his alleged involvement in the match-fixing scandal.
One of New Zealand's finest captains is born. John Reid was in charge for New Zealand's first three victories at Test level, but he was no Mike Brearley figure: Reid was well worth his place as his country's finest pre-Hadlee allrounder. His averages - 33 with bat and ball - are even more impressive given that New Zealand won only three of his 58 Tests. In the last of those wins, against South Africa in Port Elizabeth in 1961-62, Reid was heroic, with second-innings figures of 45-27-44-4, as New Zealand won a thriller by 40 runs to square the series. That was a landmark tour for Reid - he averaged 60 with the bat and 19 with the ball. A year later, batting for Wellington against Northern Districts, he whacked 15 sixes in his 296, a first-class record at the time. He later became an ICC match referee.
Birth of Walter Robins, England's dynamic allrounder who played 16 Tests leading up to the Second World War, and was captain in his last three, against New Zealand in 1937. He made one Test century, against South Africa at Old Trafford in 1935, and two years later was one of the first legspinners to demolish West Indies, with 6 for 32 at Lord's, a ground on which he also took two first-class hat-tricks. He died in London in 1968.
Many great players have had inauspicious Test debuts - Victor Trumper, Don Bradman, Martin Donnelly, Len Hutton, Graham Gooch, Michael Holding, Saeed Anwar, Shane Warne - and on this day Imran Khan kicked off his top-level career with 5 runs and 28 wicketless overs against England at Edgbaston.
Thirty-four-year-old Mike Brearley was thrown to the West Indian wolves for his debut in the drawn first Test at Trent Bridge. Brearley spent the first two days watching Viv Richards belt 232... and then bagged a fourth-ball duck. His fellow new boy and former Middlesex colleague, Larry Gomes, coming in at No. 7 for West Indies, also failed to score.
The last international for Mohammad Azharuddin and Ajay Jadeja. While Azhar was dismissed for 1, Jadeja went on to top-score for his side with 93 off 103 balls. But Mohammad Yousuf's (then Yousuf Youhana) century and Abdul Razzaq's 4 for 29 ensured Pakistan won the Asia Cup match by 44 runs, in Dhaka. In December that year Azhar was handed a life ban and Jadeja suspended for five years from all cricket-related activities by the BCCI over allegations of match-fixing.
Birth of Carl Rackemann, Australia's burly, balding fast bowler. He played 12 Tests and had a storming start with 11 wickets to demolish Pakistan on a Perth flyer in 1983-84. Rackemann liked Perth - against New Zealand there in 1989-90, he returned amazing second-innings figures of 31-21-23-1. His career at the top level was limited by injury and the decision to go on the 1985-86 rebel tour of South Africa.
Birth of the first Zimbabwean to face a ball in a Test. Kevin Arnott's first innings - 40 off 176 balls against India in Harare in 1992-93 - said everything about a technically sound batsman who sold his wicket dearly. In one World Cup match against Pakistan in 1992, he made 7 off 61 balls. He played only four Tests, and in the second, against New Zealand in Bulawayo in 1992-93, became the second Zimbabwean to make a Test hundred. His father, Don, played for Rhodesia in the 1950s.
Galle became Test cricket's 79th venue. Sri Lanka hosted New Zealand there on this day, and it quickly became a place where touring sides feared to tread. New Zealand were hammered by an innings - Mahela Jayawardene smacked 167 in a match where nobody else made over 53 - and Sri Lanka won six out of the first eight Tests here: three by an innings, two by 10 wickets, and the other by the small matter of 315 runs. However, the ground was ruined by the tsunami on Boxing Day in 2004 and underwent a large redevelopment before returning as a Test venue in late 2007.
1906 Norman Gallichan (New Zealand)
1930 Michael Melle (South Africa)
1940 Richard "Prof" Edwards (West Indies)
1951 David Ogilvie (Australia)
1954 Terri Russell (Australia)
1956 Surinder Khanna (India)
1965 Helen Plimmer (England)
1972 Robert Kennedy (New Zealand)
1977 Hasibul Hossain (Bangladesh)
1979 Neil Ferreira (Zimbabwe)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Mark Nicholas: Cricket - batting specifically - defines Jonathan Trott, which makes his continued suffering all the more painful
Bowl at Boycs: Geoff Boycott on hyped-up TV coverage, and the appointment of Peter Moores
Osman Samiuddin: A recent proposal to shake up the first-class set-up reinforces that change is the only constant in Pakistan
Former Australian PM Bob Hawke loved cricket. And he once left the Don speechless with the force of his political convictions
Jon Hotten: His second spell as England coach might be nothing like his first, but memories of it will hover nevertheless
Plays of the day from the IPL match between Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab in Abu Dhabi