The history boy
A moment of history at the Sinhalese Sports Club, Colombo, as Mohammad Ashraful of Bangladesh became the youngest man, or boy, ever to make a Test century. Ashraful made 114 in Bangladesh's second innings against Sri Lanka, and though this did not have much of an impact on the result - trailing by 465 runs on first innings, Bangladesh were eventually bowled out for 328 - it was quite some consolation for the perennial whipping boys of world cricket. It was the day before Ashraful's 17th birthday, according to some sources, and 63 days after it, according to others; either way, he broke the long-standing record for the youngest centurion, set by Mushtaq Mohammad when he made 101 for Pakistan against India in 1960-61 (17 years, 82 days).
Birth of a Test cricketer who became an important coach of the art of legspin. Although he took 5 for 90 on a batsman's pitch in Port-of-Spain in 1972-73, Terry Jenner was best known for being hit on the head by England fast bowler John Snow in Sydney in 1970-71. But he made a significant contribution to Test cricket by recognising and nurturing the talent of Shane Warne. Jenner died at the age of 66, following prolonged illness.
At long last, after defeat in two previous finals, Somerset won their first major trophy, beating Northants at Lord's to win the Gillette Cup. Their West Indian Test stars did all the damage. Viv Richards was made Man of the Match for his superb 117, and big Joel Garner sent the ball down from the stratosphere to take 6 for 29. Like people waiting for a bus, Somerset spent 104 years without winning a title, and then two came along together: they won the Sunday League the following day.
England allrounder Geoff Miller was born. Although he surprised many people, including himself, by playing in 34 Tests, there were moments where he looked a useful allrounder. He helped England beat a weakened Australia 5-1 in 1978-79, taking his only five-wicket haul in Sydney. Typical of a nearly man, he twice hit 98 in Tests. His biggest moment came in Melbourne in 1982-83. A long last-wicket stand left Australia needing only four runs to win when Jeff Thomson edged Ian Botham to slip. Chris Tavaré could only get his fingertips to it, but Miller pouched the rebound for a dramatic victory. He later served as a national selector.
Birth of Jos Buttler, one of a handful of young players to push the limited-overs batting envelope in the mid 2010s. Buttler announced himself with a ten-ball 32 in a T20I against South Africa in 2012, and inside four years he had scored three of England's fastest one-day hundreds, including one in 46 balls against Pakistan in Dubai in 2015. In the 2016 World T20, he scored 191 runs from six innings at a strike rate of 159.16. But while he was perceived to be a limited-overs savant, Buttler couldn't replicate his fortunes in Test cricket and struggled to hold down a place in the side after starting off impressively as a replacement to Matt Prior behind the stumps.
Before Daniel Vettori arrived in 1996-97, New Zealand's youngest Test player was Doug Freeman, who was born today. He was only 18 years 197 days old when he played in the first of his two Tests, both against a powerful England side that had just regained the Ashes in 1932-33. While the mighty Wally Hammond was hitting 227 in Christchurch, and a world record 336 not out in Auckland, Freeman's legspin was bringing him figures of 0 for 78 and 1 for 91. His only Test victim was a distinguished one: the great Herbert Sutcliffe, caught by Lindsay "Dad" Weir for 24. Young Freeman's entire first-class career consisted of only five matches.
Sri Lanka middle-order batsman Lahiru Thirimanne, born today, impressed with a quick half-century in a tricky chase in an ODI in Johannesburg in January 2012. He got two more in the next couple of months in the CB Series in Australia, and was also involved in a Mankading attempt by R Ashwin during his 62 in Brisbane. Thirimanne made his Test debut in 2011 in England as a replacement for the injured Tillakaratne Dilshan, and made his first Test hundred - 155 not out against Bangladesh in Galle - in 2013. With Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene being the only batting mainstays in a fragile line-up, Thirimanne looked to occupy the crease for long - for over three hours in drawing the Abu Dhabi Test in 2011; another three hours for an unbeaten 62 in Wellington in 2015; and for nearly four and a half hours for 62 against India at the P Sara later that year.