So near and yet...
Sanath Jayasuriya's date with destiny. He woke on 326 not out, within 50 of the highest score in Test history, against India in Colombo. But he added only 14 before he fell to Rajesh Chauhan for 340. There were a few other records, though: Sri Lanka stormed to 952 for 6 - the highest score in Test history - and Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahanama batted throughout two full days' play. In all, they added 576, a record for any Test wicket, which stood for nine years until Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara added 624 against South Africa in 2006. Pity poor Indian spinner Nilesh Kulkarni. He nabbed Marvan Atapattu with his first ball in Test cricket - and ended with figures of 70-12-195-1. Some consolation for Indian fans were centuries by Sachin Tendulkar, Mohammad Azharuddin and Navjot Sidhu.
Lucky numbers for Mark Butcher, who scored his maiden Test hundred in his 13th Test, against South Africa at Headingley. It was a vital contribution: England won by only 23 runs to take the series 2-1.
The day Peter Such got a standing ovation - for a duck. Such had survived 51 balls and 72 minutes against New Zealand at Old Trafford - and helped Mark Ramprakash add 31 - but his reception summed up the desperate, almost blackly comic, mood of English cricket. Rarely has it got any lower than this. England didn't lose this Test, but their first-innings 199 came off a buttock-clenching 109.1 overs, and then New Zealand took 496 pieces of candy off a desperate England attack. Rain gave England a reprieve... but only for two weeks. Thirteen days later, at a dark, dank Oval, England lost the match, the series - and became the worst team in the world according to the Wisden World Championship table.
Norman Gordon became the first Test cricketer to usher in his 100th birthday. Gordon, a South African fast bowler, played in the famous timeless Test in Durban in 1938-39, which lasted 10 days before play was called off so that the England team could catch the ship back home. Gordon played all five Tests in that series, his only one, and took 20 wickets. New Zealand's Eric Tindill was the only other Test cricketer to live past 99.
Jesse Ryder, born today, has often found himself in the eye of a storm. He made his senior international debut in 2008, a few months after telling the selectors he wasn't available for the A team's tour of Australia, and blossomed immediately, averaging 49 in five ODIs against England, and 91 in his second Test, against Bangladesh. He got his maiden Test and one-day centuries against India, and a Test double-hundred too. Ryder's career has been dogged with accusations of bad behaviour and frustrating injuries. In 2012 he chose to take an indefinite break from cricket after being dropped for drinking while undergoing injury rehabilitation. He didn't get a New Zealand contract that year, but he got one from Wellington He worked hard, got fitter, got therapy, boxed a little, came back to domestic cricket, and just when it seemed he was approaching a happy space in life he was assaulted brutally outside a suburban Christchurch bar in March 2013.
An injury-plagued swing bowler is born. Simon Doull's frequent troubles with his back and knee brought a premature end to his career. He'll be most remembered for setting up New Zealand's four-wicket win over India in Wellington in 1998, when he bagged the first seven wickets to fall in the Indian innings, to finish with 7 for 65. Doull made his last international appearance in March 2000 and turned to television commentary later in the decade.
Birth of Pakistan's most successful left-arm spinner, Iqbal Qasim. Often partnering Abdul Qadir, Qasim took 171 wickets in 50 Tests, including a 10-wicket haul against Australia in 1980 in Karachi, which set the stage for a series win. His bowling proved miserly, and he has among the best economy-rates for Pakistani bowlers with over 50 Test wickets.
The 48-year-old WG Grace completed the last of his three triple-hundreds, scoring 301 for Gloucestershire against Sussex at Bristol. He batted almost two days for his runs, and then chipped in with 4 for 23 in Sussex's second innings to wrap up the match.
In a drawn match at Headingley, South Africa's Peter Kirsten scored his only Test century, at the age of 39. His half-brother Gary Kirsten was also in the team. The next Test, at The Oval, which England won to square the series, was Peter's last.
A captain's innings of 146 not out by Allan Border saved Australia from defeat at Old Trafford. England had taken a lead of 225 in the first innings: Mike Gatting made 160 and David Gower scored his 5000th run in Test cricket, and Craig McDermott, playing his sixth Test, took 8 for 141.
Opening batsman Peter Lashley took the ball and dismissed Geoff Boycott with his third delivery in Test cricket, the only wicket he took for West Indies, whose win at Headingley sealed the series.
Ian Botham took his 100th Test wicket only two years and nine days after making his debut when Mike Brearley took a superb left-handed slip catch to remove Sunil Gavaskar in the second Test at Lord's. It was at the time the fastest century of Test wickets, but the record only lasted five months - Kapil Dev raced to the same landmark in just one year and 105 days.