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April 7 down the years


Birth of an English stalwart

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Dennis Amiss: appetite for the big scores
Dennis Amiss: appetite for the big scores © The Cricketer International

An immovable object is born. When Dennis Amiss got going, bowlers could be forgiven for abandoning hope. A stalwart at the top of the order for Warwickshire and England, Amiss made eight scores (out of 11 Test hundreds) of over 150. His unbending concentration was best exemplified by an awesome unbeaten 262 - in 570 minutes, from 563 balls - to save the Jamaica Test in 1973-74. The next-highest score was 41 - and that was extras. The one blot on Amiss' copybook was his record against Australia: seven ducks in 21 innings. He also made the first ODI hundred, and completed a century of first-class centuries in 1986.

Birth of Bert "Dainty" Ironmonger, the Australian left-arm spinner who was close to unplayable on bad wickets. The loss of the top joint of his forefinger in childhood allowed him to impart huge spin off the stump. He made his Test debut at the age of 46, and against South Africa in Melbourne in 1931-32 he returned the staggering match figures of 11 for 24 off 22.5 overs, the cheapest ten-for in Test history. And he played in the 1932-33 Bodyline series at the age of 50. He was utterly useless with the bat, and a popular myth is that Ironmonger's wife once phoned the MCG, and upon being told her husband had just gone into bat, decided to hold. He died in Melbourne in 1971.

West Indies continued to stomp all over India on the way to their first whitewash, going 4-0 up after four Tests with a seven-wicket win in Trinidad. But that only came after the great Polly Umrigar had rammed an unbeaten 172 - made in four hours and out of only 230 runs scored while he was at the crease - in the second innings, the last of his 12 Test hundreds.

England kept their No. 1 ranking with a series-levelling win in Colombo. Kevin Pietersen's first away century since December 2010 was the engine that drove England's batting - he made 151 off 165 balls - and Graeme Swann's ten wickets tied Sri Lanka down and prevented them from achieving their first series win in three years. There were some nerves during England's chase of 92 - the shadow of the 74 all out against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi a few months ago lurked briefly - but Pietersen brushed them off with a six to bring up the win.

A walking wicket is born. South African opener Gerry Liebenberg was out to the first ball of his Test career, against Sri Lanka in Centurion in 1997-98, and was dropped first ball in the second innings. Things didn't get much better, either: he had a horrible tour of England in 1998, failing to pass 21 in four Tests, and was not picked since.

Even by Sanath Jayasuriya's standards, this Singer Cup final assault was utterly ridiculous. He spanked 76 off only 28 balls - that's a rate of 271 runs per 100 deliveries - and when his opening partner, Romesh Kaluwitharana, was out for a duck in the sixth over, the score was 70 for 1. Jayasuriya hit eight fours and five sixes, and his 50 came up in a record 17 balls. Despite that start, and a modest target of 216, Sri Lanka were well beaten, bowled out by Pakistan for 172 in only 32.5 overs.

As the second Test between Pakistan and New Zealand petered out to a draw in Lahore, Bev Congdon became only the second substitute to make a stumping in a Test, when Pervez Sajjad gave Barry Sinclair the charge. Congdon was one of three wicketkeepers used by New Zealand: the regular incumbent, Artie Dick, was injured, and captain John Reid took over for a while before Congdon's moment of glory.

Maitland Hathorn, born today, played 12 Tests for South Africa between 1902 and 1911. He scored his only century against England in Johannesburg in 1906. He toured England the year after but made only 46 runs in five innings. He also toured Australia in 1911 but played only one Test owing to ill health.

Other birthdays
1918 Bertie Clarke (West Indies)
1965 Kaushik Amalean (Sri Lanka)
1967 Sandeep Gupta (Kenya)
1977 Tama Canning (New Zealand)

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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