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September 4 down the years

A thriller at The Oval

Gavaskar takes India agonisingly close

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Gavaskar after the 1979 Oval draw: so near yet so far
Gavaskar after the 1979 Oval draw: so near yet so far © Getty Images
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1979
Needing a record 438 to win the Oval Test, India came frustratingly close. Sunil Gavaskar batted superbly for 221 - then the highest by an Indian against England - and added 153 with Dilip Vengsarkar at more than a run a minute. but Gavaskar fell when India needed 49 off 7.4 overs. Ian Botham, who dismissed Gavaskar, took two more and ran out a third, so that India needed 15 off the last over. They finished on 429 for 8, just nine runs short. The draw gave England the series 1-0.

1947
Playing for Middlesex at Lord's, Denis Compton took yet another century off the touring South Africans in his golden summer. This latest ton was statistically the most significant: his 17th of the season, breaking the record set by Jack Hobbs in 1925. Compton finished the year with 18, a mark that still stands.

1925
Talking of Jack Hobbs in 1925, the 15th of the great man's centuries that year was scored as captain of the Players at Scarborough. He carried his bat in scoring 266, which remained the highest score in the Gentlemen v Players fixture, which ran from 1806 to 1962.

2000
When Courtney Walsh walked to the wicket at The Oval to play his last Test innings in England, Nasser Hussain's team formed a guard of honour for him. Not long afterwards, they took part in a rather less formal celebration. Walsh's last Test duck, lbw to Dominic Cork, gave England the match by 158 runs. It was their first series victory against West Indies since 1969.

1971
One of the most punishing allrounders in modern cricket was born. Lance Klusener had made his mark at Test level, especially in 1996-97, when he hit an unbeaten 102 against India at Newlands, and took 8 for 64 in Calcutta. But he'll probably be best remembered for his performances in the 1999 World Cup, when he won four Man-of-the-Match awards. Only an excruciating defeat by Australia kept South Africa out of the final - and big Lance almost won that semi-final, hitting consecutive boundaries to level the score. Dismissed only twice in the tournament, he ended it with a batting average of 140.50 as well as taking 5 for 21 against Kenya. Four years later, though, in the World Cup at home, Klusener had a rather less successful time. His eight-ball 1 against Sri Lanka was largely blamed for the tie that dumped South Africa out of the Super Six.

1939
One of the great wicketkeeper-batsmen was born. Denis Lindsay was a vital member of South Africa's strong Test teams in the second half of the 1960s. He had a tremendous time against Australia in 1966-67, taking 24 catches and hitting 606 runs, the most by a wicketkeeper in any Test series. He started as he went on, scoring 69 and 182 to win the opening Test in Johannesburg, following that with 137 and 131 in the third and fourth Tests. Recalled against the same opponents in 1969-70, he scored 43 and 60 in a 323-run win in Port Elizabeth, South Africa's last match before their worldwide ban.

1962
Birth of another class act behind the stumps. Talented and talkative, Kiran More made 130 dismissals in his 49 Tests for India. Against West Indies in Madras in 1987-88, he made five stumpings in an innings and six in the match, Test records that still stand. His highest Test score was 73 against New Zealand in Napier in 1989-90. He served as the BCCI's chairman of selectors from 2003 to 2006 and joined the ICL as an executive director in 2007.

1965
Those who didn't believe Geoff Boycott could cut it as a one-day batsman had to contend with his 146 against Surrey at Lord's. Yorkshire won this Gillette Cup decider by the superfluous margin of 175 runs. Brian Close claimed some credit for upping Sir Geoffrey's run-rate in the match, but try telling Boycott that.

1976
Lancashire made their sixth appearance in seven Gillette Cup finals, losing for only the second time (they won in 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1975). Clive Lloyd, who appeared in all four of their winning sides, was captaining the touring West Indians this time - and an injury to Barry Wood depleted Lancashire's batting and bowling. Despite 26 runs in an over by David Hughes, they made only 195 and lost to Northants by four wickets.

1955
One of South Africa's fastest bowlers was born. The worldwide ban cost big Garth Le Roux a Test career, but he emerged as a surprise star of World Series Cricket matches in the late 1970s, matching Lillee, Roberts and Holding bouncer for bouncer. He played in 15 unofficial Tests for South Africa and unnerved a few county batsmen in his appearances for Sussex. He took 81 wickets at 19.53 in 1981.

1979
The birth of Haidee Tiffin, one of the best allrounders in women's cricket. She made her debut for the White Ferns at the age of 19 and was part of New Zealand's victorious World Cup campaign on home soil in 2000. She also led her side to the 2009 World Cup final in Australia, where New Zealand lost to England by four wickets.

Other birthdays
1902 Tommy Mitchell (England)
1910 Denis Tomlinson (South Africa)
1941 Ramesh Sethi (East Africa)
1946 Bryan Mauricette (Canada)
1950 Ehteshamuddin (Pakistan)
1961 Rizwan-uz-Zaman (Pakistan)
1967 Darrin Murray (New Zealand)
1974 Naved Ashraf (Pakistan)
1974 Lincoln Roberts (West Indies)
1983 Tareq Aziz (Bangladesh)
1986 Shingirai Masakadza (Zimbabwe)

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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