|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Shop||Mobile|
Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi makes his entrance
Birth of Mansur Ali Khan, aka the Nawab of Pataudi junior. The Nawab of Pataudi senior had scored a Test century for England, but his son "Tiger" played exclusively for India, 40 times as captain (in 46 Tests), scoring 2793 runs and six centuries. Not bad for someone whose Test career didn't begin until a car crash had cost him the sight in one eye. Pataudi Jr was credited with the strategy that saw India play a spin-heavy attack for much of the 1970s, and it was under him that they won their first Test overseas, against New Zealand in 1968. Pataudi, arguably India's finest captain, first took charge in 1962, at 21, becoming the youngest captain in Tests, a record that stood for over 40 years. He retired in 1975, and served as a match referee between 1993 and 1996. He died of a lung infection in 2011.
The day Australia completed their second whitewash of England in six years - and only their third ever. They did it in style, wiping the floor with the old enemy to the tune of 281 runs on day three of the fifth Test, in Sydney. It brought to a close a one-sided series that gave the lie to the 3-0 scoreline in England's favour the previous summer. Mitchell Johnson was head and shoulders a deserving Man of the Series for his 37 wickets at an eye-popping 13.97 each. In Sydney, as at points earlier in the tour, England flattered to deceive when they had Australia on the mat at 97 for 5 in the first innings, only for Steve Smith to come to the rescue with his second century of the series. In the fourth Test, in Melbourne, Chris Rogers, another of Australia's finds of the series, swung the deal with a fifty and a hundred, and Nathan Lyon chipped in with five wickets in England's second innings. The lone bright spot in the visitors' ill-starred campaign (which featured the retirement of Graeme Swann after the series was lost 3-0 in Perth) was debutant allrounder Ben Stokes, who took 15 wickets and made 279 runs in the four matches he played.
A maiden, and epic, Test century for Brian Lara turned into a crucial and commanding one, the first of nine against Australia. Wisden described his 277 in Sydney as an innings of "breathtaking quality" which turned a series that was slipping from West Indies. Richie Richardson, who scored a century of his own, later said: "I can hardly remember my hundred. It was difficult playing and being a spectator at the same time." At the close on the third day Lara had made 124.
Australia drubbed England 5-0 in the Ashes - only the second whitewash in the bilateral contest - with a win in the final Test in Sydney. It was a fitting way to get over the loss in 2005, and also a fitting farewell for Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne and Justin Langer - the Test careers of all three came to a close with the series.
In the first ever one-day international, in Melbourne, John Edrich was made Man of the Match for his top score of 82, but England's bowlers were too expensive to stop Australia winning by five wickets. The match was played only because the third Test had been washed out. To the astonishment of the Australian board, 46,000 turned up - it was then they realised that this one-day malarkey might be a good, money-spinning idea.
Marlon Samuels, born today, was talented enough at the start of his career to be compared to Viv Richards, before he had played first-class cricket. He scored his maiden hundred in Kolkata in 2002 but struggled with his discipline off the field. In 2007, Samuels was embroiled in a match-fixing controversy after the Nagpur police alleged he had passed on match-related information to an alleged bookie. In 2008, after his bowling action was deemed illegal, Samuels was found guilty of match-fixing and banned for two years. He returned in 2011, and in England in 2012, against a top-class bowling attack in difficult conditions, Samuels scored 386 runs in five innings. Later that year his gutsy 78 in the World Twenty20 final helped West Indies to their first world title since the 1979 World Cup.
England won by 185 runs in Melbourne thanks to the slow left-arm of Wilfred Rhodes, who took 7 for 56 and 8 for 68. Australia's totals would have been much lower if eight catches hadn't been dropped off Rhodes' bowling.
One of Pakistan's early stalwarts was born. Wicketkeeper, batsman and captain, Imtiaz Ahmed played in 41 Tests from 1952-53 to 1962, making 93 dismissals, including seven catches, all off Fazal Mahmood, in Pakistan's first Test win against England, at The Oval in 1954. The highest of his three Test centuries was 209, at No. 8, against New Zealand in Lahore in 1955-56.
Birth of Brendon Kuruppu, who set two Test records while making his debut for Sri Lanka, against New Zealand at the Colombo Cricket Club. His 201 was at the time the highest not-out score by a batsman playing in his first Test, let alone his first Test innings - and it was the slowest Test double-ton of all time until Gary Kirsten's 275 in 1999-2000. Kuruppu's innings lasted 777 minutes, which must be some kind of devil's number as it is three minutes short of 13 hours. He kept wicket too, so he had his pads on for the entire match.
In his final Test innings, against Pakistan in Sydney, Greg Chappell signed off a great career with an innings of 182. Against West Indies eight years earlier, he'd made the same score on the same ground on the same day.
Bob Cunis, an honest seamer and lower-order scrapper, played 20 Tests for New Zealand between 1964 and 1972 with limited success. He made only one fifty and took only one five-for, the latter against England in Auckland in 1970-71, when he bowled Alan Knott four runs short of a second hundred in the match. Cunis went on to coach New Zealand for a time, and in his playing days was also a very handy rugby three-quarter.
After being called for throwing in a Test match (see December 26), Muttiah Muralitharan had to suffer the same humiliation in a one-day international, against West Indies in Brisbane.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Martin Crowe: Misbah, McCullum, and the ICC's efforts against chucking were the positive highlights in a year that ended with the tragedy of Phillip Hughes' death
Numbers Game: Australia haven't lost at the Gabba since 1988, while South Africa have a 14-2 record in Centurion
Dravid and Manjrekar discuss Brian Lara's adaptability
Nicholas Hogg: Cook lacks certain qualities the ex-England captain listed as those fitting of an ideal leader, in particular, charisma
After the tragedy of Phillip Hughes' death, this match showed that cricket and life will continue to go on. This time Test cricket dug in and got through to tea.
Virat Kohli's innings on the final day transcended the conditions, the bowlers and his batting partners, and when it was all in vain, he displayed remarkable grace in defeat
The new stand-in captain has the makings of a long-term leader, given his ability to stay ahead of the game
Both batsmen seemingly have buckets of talent at their disposal and the backing of their captains, but soft dismissals relentlessly follow both around the Test arena
The failed gamble of handing Karn Sharma a Test debut despite him having a moderate first-class record means India have to rethink who their spinner will be
Turning your back on a system that the whole cricketing world wants a discussion on, refusing to discuss it because it is not 100%, is not good enough
After a long time we have seen an Indian team and captain enjoy the challenge of trying to overcome stronger opposition in an overseas Test