Chapman in charge
One of England's most popular and successful Test captains is born. Instantly successful, too. In his first match in charge, Percy Chapman led England to victory by 289 runs over Australia at The Oval in 1926, a win that regained the Ashes. Chapman was captain when they were retained 4-1 in 1928-29, a series that saw him at his peak. Before drink got the better of him, he was one of the all-time great close fielders (32 catches in 26 Tests) and hit a sparkling century in defeat against Australia at Lord's in 1930. His score of 121 would have been even higher if he hadn't choked on a flying insect!
Birth of the pugnacious Johnny Douglas, who was England's captain when they lost all five Tests in Australia in 1920-21. But English cricket had been decimated by the First World War - and Douglas had had better days Down Under. Back in 1911-12, he took over when Plum Warner fell ill, and led England to a 4-1 victory that regained the Ashes. This after Douglas had helped lose the first Test in Sydney by opening the bowling himself instead of using Sydney Barnes. A few well-chosen words by Warner and Barnes and it didn't happen again. It took someone as strong-willed as Barnes to stand up to Douglas, who had won the Olympic middleweight boxing title in 1908 (beating an Australian in the final). His batting was so slow at times that his initials JWHT were translated as "Johnny Won't Hit Today" - but probably not to his face. He drowned in 1930 while trying to save his father from a sinking ship.
Birth of that wristy and obdurate batsman Basil Butcher, who was an important member of the side that served West Indies so well in the 1960s. He averaged 43.11 and scored seven centuries in Tests, including a superb 209 not out that won the Trent Bridge Test of 1966 after West Indies had trailed by 90 on first innings. He took 5 for 34 with his legspin in Port-of-Spain in 1967-68, but they were his only Test wickets and England won the match.
The end of the longest first-class match played in England (32 hours 17 minutes). Under an agreement between the English and Australian authorities, the final Test of the 1975 series was to be extended to six days if the Ashes were still at stake. They were, but the extra day looked academic when England followed on 341 runs in arrears early on the fourth morning. But anchored by Bob Woolmer's 149, England not only avoided an innings defeat but also managed a draw.
India's first series without Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman (except for one Test in 2010) since 1996. But their opponents, New Zealand, weren't quite up to the task of using it to their advantage. India's next generation of middle-order batsmen stepped up - Cheteshwar Pujara, returning from injury, scored 159 in an innings victory in Hyderabad and Virat Kohli made his second Test hundred, in Bangalore. Offspinner R Ashwin took 12 for 85 - his first ten-wicket match haul and the best figures by an Indian against New Zealand.
Unsung Kent swing bowler Richard Ellison completed figures of 5 for 46 at The Oval to help dismiss Australia for 129 and win the match. England's innings victory clinched the series 3-1 and regained the Ashes. Genial Bernard Thomas retired as England physio after 17 years.
In the NatWest final at Lord's, Somerset avenged their 1967 defeat to Kent by beating the same side to win the trophy for the first time in their history. Although they made only 193 batting first, their bowling was too economical for Kent. Ian Botham took 2 for 29 in his 10 overs, and Joel Garner 2 for only 15 in nine. But Vic Marks was made Man of the Match for his 3 for 30 in 10 overs to go with an innings of 29.
Birth of fast bowler and major cricketing personality Tom Emmett, who played for England in the inaugural Test, in Melbourne in 1876-77, when he bowled 12 overs for only 13 runs but didn't take a wicket. That lack of penetration was reflected in his overall Test career (nine wickets in seven matches) - but as captain of Yorkshire he gave as good as he got in verbal exchanges with WG Grace, which was no mean feat. Emmett described one of his standard deliveries as a "sostenuter" on the basis of "What else would you call it?"
Paul Stirling, a promising Irish batsman, is born. Part of Ireland's team that performed well at the World Twenty20 in England in 2009, Stirling signed a three-year deal with Middlesex in December 2009, where he joined fellow Irish-born batsman Eoin Morgan. In 2010 he made a 134-ball 177 for Ireland against Canada, which remains the highest ODI score made by an Irishman. He scored a century in the 2011 World Cup, against Netherlands, and one against Pakistan in a bilateral ODI immediately after the tournament. In Ireland's opening match of the next World Cup, Stirling made a match-winning 92 off 84 balls to chase 305 and beat West Indies by four wickets.
Birth of New Zealand left-hander Jackie Mills, whose only Test century was scored on his debut. Against England in Wellington in 1929-30, he scored 117 and put on 276 for the first wicket with the great Stewie Dempster. It's still New Zealand's highest stand for any wicket against England.