England give it a go
The day another Ashes dream died. England had to win at Trent Bridge to keep their hopes alive, and when they were left to chase 451 in a day and a half, they decided to go for it. A ball short of 49 overs later they had been dismissed for 186, and it was all over for another 18 months. There was a desperate air about England from the start of this game - they even chucked in both Hollioakes for their Test debuts - but at least they gave it a go: Jason Gillespie had bizarre figures of 8-0-65-3 in that second innings. The key moment came earlier on this, the fourth day. When Steve Waugh went to the first ball of the morning, Australia were leading by 281 runs, not unassailable on a good pitch. Enter Ian Healy to swat and swipe the initiative for one last time, with a 49-ball half-century.
The last day of Test cricket for Arjuna Ranatunga, whose 28 not out at Colombo's Sinhalese Sports Club helped draw the match and the series against South Africa. He was only 18 when he played in Sri Lanka's very first Test, against England in 1981-82, and his appearance against Pakistan in 2000-01 made him the only man to play in his country's first and 100th Tests. The dominant figure in Sri Lankan cricket for two decades, he was captain in 56 Tests and scored 5105 runs in all.
At the end of the first day of the fifth Test, Australia emphasised their series-long superiority over the England bowling by scoring 301 without loss. Opening batsmen Mark Taylor and Geoff Marsh, later captain and coach of the national team, went on to make 329 for the first wicket, still the highest stand for any wicket in a Trent Bridge Test. Allan Border's team declared at 602 for 6 and won by an innings to go 4-0 up in the series.
A day of destiny for England at Headingley, with the series poised 1-1. After Angus Fraser took a third consecutive five-for in the first innings to keep South Africa's lead to 22, the visitors began the last day of the final Test on 185 for 8, needing 219 to win. In 29 minutes it was all over when Darren Gough trapped Makhaya Ntini lbw, a dodgy decision in a match full of them. The performance of the neutral umpire, Javed Akhtar, was to come under scrutiny when the match-fixing scandal broke, but England couldn't have cared less: they'd won their first five-match series since 1986-87.
The Test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan in Galle sparked to life on the fifth day (after the sides scored over 450 apiece in their first innings over the first four) thanks to Rangana Herath, Pakistan's unpredictability and the weather. Pakistan went into the day needing to bat it out, but their go-slow backfired, as Herath picked up six wickets to dismiss them for 180. It left the hosts 99 to chase with rain closing in and the light fading. A big, dark cloud hung over the ground as Angelo Mathews swatted an unbeaten 25 off 13 to drag his side home with under five overs remaining. The rain pelted down seconds after the winning runs were scored.
Another great day for English cricket. At The Oval, Phil Tufnell demolished West Indies with a spell of 6 for 4 in 33 balls - all caught - and set England on their way to a series-levelling victory. The West Indies batsmen weren't so much trying to run before they could walk as make love before they'd kissed - the last six managed only four runs between them.
Derbyshire fast bowler Alan Ward was born. When England went to Australia in 1970-71, their captain, Ray Illingworth, trumpeted his opening attack of Ward and John Snow. But while Snow thrived in the limelight, taking 31 wickets to win the series, Ward shrank from it - even before his tour was wrecked by injury. He played in only five Tests, taking 14 wickets, and was sacked by Derbyshire in 1976. A genuine sense of waste.
Six days after the outbreak of the Great War, Surrey's home match against Kent was transferred to Lord's after The Oval was requisitioned for military use. Surrey, the champions, won inside two days, with WG Grace among the spectators.
Cyril Washbrook's benefit match earned him £14,000, which remained a record until Colin Milburn's benefit in 1971. The presence of Don Bradman's Australians did Washbrook's coffers no harm - and the Don rewarded the spectators with his highest score at Old Trafford. His unbeaten 133 was his last century against an English county. Meanwhile Washbrook top-scored with 38 out of 130 in a match Lancashire were happy to draw.
Death of one of the all-time great wicketkeepers. Bert Oldfield was Australia's No. 1 throughout the 1920s and most of the 1930s, neat and tidy and sharp as a stoat. Often finishing off the work of legspinners Clarrie Grimmett and Bill O'Reilly, he made 52 stumpings in Test cricket, still the record for any country. The ball from Harold Larwood that knocked him out in Adelaide in 1932-33 was one of the flashpoints of the notorious Bodyline series - but he recovered to help regain the Ashes in 1934 and retain them in 1936-37.
Notts and England wicketkeeper Chris Read was born. In his debut Test, against New Zealand at Edgbaston in 1999, he made eight dismissals and looked the brightest young England keeper in years. But then he had a few problems keeping to the spinners, eyesight trouble led to him being convulsively bowled by Chris Cairns' slower ball, New Zealand won the series - and Read's Test career stalled. He had been in and out of the Test team, keeping in the final two Tests of the 2006-07 Ashes after Geraint Jones' poor performance behind the stumps, but that was to be his last series.
Birth of a more successful England wicketkeeper. In his debut Test innings, in Brisbane in 1986-87, Surrey's Jack Richards was out for 0 - but made up for that in the second Test, when his 133 in Perth was the second Test hundred by an England keeper in Australia, after Alan Knott's in 1974-75 [Matt Prior also joined the list with a century in Sydney in 2011]. Richards averaged 37.71 in the series, and although he went the way of all flesh against West Indies in 1988, he'd had his moment in the sun as England's wicketkeeper in a victorious Ashes series.
The death of Gilbert Parkhouse. A successful Test recall after eight years (he put on 146 with Geoff Pullar against India at Headingley in 1959) couldn't banish the memory of the 1950-51 series Down Under, when his highest score was 28. But he was a real stalwart for Glamorgan, scoring 22,619 runs and helping them win the Championship in his first season (1948).
1895 Hammy Love (Australia)
1923 Fred Ridgway (England)
1943 Shafqat Rana (Pakistan)
1967 Reinout Scholte (Holland)
1970 Brendon Julian (Australia)
1979 Dinusha Fernando (Sri Lanka)
1980 Riaan Walters (Namibia)