Prince of the Golden Age
No one ever batted quite like Ranjitsinhji, who was born today. Words like "exotic", "princely" and "eastern magic" are easy to bandy about, but it's understandable: this was an Indian prince whose batting was a captivating mixture of flexibility, timing and grace. Even Mark Waugh has never glanced the ball off his middle stump the same way. Ranji scored heavily as well as prettily: on his debut for England, against Australia at Old Trafford in 1896, he scored 62 and 154 not out. He made 10 centuries and headed the national averages that season. He also scored a century in his first Test in Australia, 175 in Sydney in 1897-98, the highest score for England at the time. His partnerships for Sussex with the equally classical CB Fry were among the reasons this was known as the Golden Age of batting. India's domestic first-class championship, the Ranji Trophy, is named after him. All in all, not bad for someone who played a summer sport while suffering from hay fever.
Opinion was divided about Geoff Boycott's running between the wickets. He probably thought it was fine; others weren't quite so sure. So it was appropriate enough that his last first-class innings should end in a run-out. On a Scarborough pitch of uneven bounce, he was his usual watchful self, making 61 in Yorkshire's only innings of a drawn match with Northants. He finished with 48,426 first-class runs at 56.83, the highest average among batsmen who scored over 30,000.
Of the batsmen who scored over 25,000 runs, only Don Bradman's average of 95.14 is higher than Boycott's. To no one's surprise, The Don added a small fraction to it by scoring 153 in his last first-class innings in England, for the Australians against HDG Leveson-Gower's XI in Scarborough. He shared a stand of 225 with Sid Barnes before the rain-affected match ended in a draw.
One of Australia's most successful captains and opening bats was born. Belinda Clark led Australia to victory in the 1997 World Cup, during which she became the first player, man or woman, to hit a double-century in one-day international cricket. Her 229 against the hapless Danes in Mumbai helped Australia score 412 for 3. They batted for more overs than Denmark scored runs. All out for 49, they lost by a preposterous 363 runs. She also guided Australia to the 2005 World Cup trophy, but then captained the side in England, where they lost the Ashes for the first time in more than 40 years. Clark then retired to take up a managing position at Cricket Australia's Centre of Excellence in Brisbane.
Eoin Morgan, born today, gained initial recognition with a one-day hundred for Ireland in the World Cricket League. His performances for Middlesex in the 2008 Twenty20 Cup earned him a call-up to the England squad, and he impressed in South Africa the following winter with match-winning performances. His growing stature was confirmed when he was the only England player to be awarded a new contract at the auction for the third season of the IPL in January 2010. After a successful World Twenty20, which England won, Morgan got a surprise Test call-up against Bangladesh and got his maiden hundred in his third Test, against Pakistan. In 2011, he became the second player after Kepler Wessels to captain against his old team - Ireland in this case, in an ODI in Dublin.
The USA's first ODI, in the Champions Trophy. And they lost by 210 runs. Nathan Astle (145 not out) and Craig McMillan (64 not out) smashed 13 sixes between them, following which, after a promising start with 52 for the first wicket, USA were rocked by Jacob Oram (5 for 36) and ended up losing nine wickets for 85 runs.
Playing for National Bank against Punjab in Lahore, future Test wicketkeeper Taslim Arif became the first from Pakistan to effect ten dismissals in a first-class match. Punjab were dismissed for 74 and 143 and lost by an innings. Taslim's haul remained a national record until Wasim Yousoufi made 11 dismissals for Peshawar v Bahawalpur in Peshawar in 1997-98.
The Middlesex legspinner Jim Sims had played for England before the War. Now, in the East v West match at Kingston-on-Thames, his 18.4 overs in the second innings went for 90 runs - but there were compensations. "Cleverly varying his flight and spin," according to the Wisden Almanack, he took all ten wickets (13 in the match) to bowl the East to victory by 223 runs.