Out on a high
The end of an era that was only just beginning. South Africa completed their first series whitewash with a thumping victory over Australia in Port Elizabeth. Their 4-0 triumph was made up of four huge victories: 170 runs, an innings and 129 runs, 307 runs, and 323 runs. But South Africa would not play another Test for 22 years, after apartheid brought about their isolation, and nobody will ever know just how good this team - which included Barry Richards, the Pollocks, Eddie Barlow, Denis Lindsay and Mike Procter - could have been. In this one, Richards and Lee Irvine made centuries in their final Test innings, Procter took nine wickets, while Peter Pollock pulled a hamstring and could not complete what turned out to be his last over in Tests.
A triple-century of bewitching brilliance from Lawrence Rowe, in the third Test against England in Barbados. His 302 included 36 fours and a six, and came off just 430 balls. Remarkably, it was his 11th first-class hundred, but the first he had scored outside his native Jamaica. Rowe's was an odd career: in his first 13 Tests he made six hundreds and averaged 70; in his last 17 he made only one and averaged 26. He wasn't helped when someone found he was allergic to grass. This match was drawn, but there was also some outstanding work from Tony Greig, who became the first Englishman to make a century and take a five-for in the same Test.
Saleem Malik, aged 18 years and 328 days, became the youngest man to score a century on Test debut, in Karachi. Malik shared the first of many big stands with Javed Miandad in the first Test against Sri Lanka, who were playing their first overseas Test. They made a good fist of it, trailing by only 52 on the first innings, but collapsed on the last day for 149. Malik's record has since been usurped, first by Zimbabwe's Hamilton Masakadza and then Bangladesh's Mohammad Ashraful.
Birth of Ijaz Butt, who made more headlines after the age of 70 than during his brief career as a Pakistan wicketkeeper. The highlight of his cricketing years was the half-century he scored in Karachi in 1959-60 against a touring Australian side that included Richie Benaud, Ray Lindwall and Alan Davidson. But it was in his role as Pakistan board president that Butt gained fame, or rather notoriety - for his outrageous remarks, bans and reversals of bans on players, and generally shambolic administration.
And on his 72nd birthday, Ijaz Butt, as the Pakistan board president, carried out the deepest cull of a senior cricket team in many years, in the wake of the side's pathetic performance on the 2009-10 tour of Australia. Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf were banned from playing for Pakistan for an indefinite period, Shoaib Malik and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan got one-year bans, and Shahid Afridi and Umar and Kamran Akmal were fined Rs 2-3 million ($24,000-35,000) for various misdemeanours and put on six-month probations.
The last Test of Fanie de Villiers' short-but-sweet career (18 Tests; 85 wickets at 24), and he inspired a series-squaring rout of Pakistan in Port Elizabeth with an outstanding performance, demolishing Pakistan in the first innings with 6 for 23 - his best figures - and adding two more in the second for good measure. Pakistan managed only 240 runs in two innings: no surprise as they picked a wretched side that had Moin Khan as a specialist batsman batting as high as No. 5.
Arthur Milton, who was born today, played only six Tests, though he made over 30,000 first-class runs. He also played football for England. When he made a century on his Test debut - against New Zealand, at Headingley in 1958 - he opened the batting with Mike "MJK" Smith, himself an England rugby international. In that game, Milton also became the first Englishman to be on the field throughout an entire Test match.
India won their first Test against West Indies at the 25th attempt. Sunil Gavaskar (67 not out) hit the winning runs in a victory in Port-of-Spain. Dilip Sardesai's hundred and half-centuries by Gavaskar and Eknath Solkar gave India a first-innings lead of 138. Offspinner Jack Noreiga took 9 for 95 - a West Indian record. S Venkataraghavan took five in the second innings as West Indies were bowled out for 261. India wrapped up the match with a day to spare. It was enough to give them a 1-0 win in the five-Test series.
Ricky Ponting's uncle is born. Greg Campbell, an enthusiastic seamer, played four Tests for Australia himself, but he didn't do a lot. There were a couple of high points, though: he was part of the attack that smashed England at Headingley in 1989. And there is only one person on this planet who can sincerely claim to have nailed Derek Pringle lbw in an Ashes Test. Campbell is that man. He was also one of three Tasmanians (David Boon and umpire Steve Randell were the others) involved in the state's first Test - against Sri Lanka in Hobart in 1989-90. In all, Campbell played only 44 first-class games, before a persistent back injury forced him to retire in 1992.
Australia eased the pain of a first series defeat by South Africa at home by beating them in the return series 2-0. Phil Hughes, who had scored a duck on debut in the previous Test, made centuries in both innings in Durban. South Africa were set 546 to chase, Peter Siddle and Simon Katich (who also scored a century) took three wickets each and Australia won by 175 runs.
India won the World Championship of Cricket by beating Pakistan in the final at the MCG. Kapil Dev and Chetan Sharma reduced Pakistan to 33 for 4 before Javed Miandad and Imran took them past 100. But legspinner Laxman Sivaramakrishnan dismissed the two batsmen and Pakistan ended with just 176. Ravi Shastri and Kris Srikkanth scored half-centuries in the eight-wicket win.
The birth of tall Sri Lankan swing bowler Suranga Lakmal. He made his ODI debut in Nagpur in 2009 and won his first Test cap a year later, against the West Indies in the second Test in Colombo. An ankle injury kept him out of the squad for eight months but he has chipped in with handy performances since, including 12 wickets in three Tests against Pakistan in a drawn series in the UAE.