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July 11 down the years

Cowdrey's crowning glory

MCC's special hundred

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Colin Cowdrey: the perfect way to bring up a century of Tests
Colin Cowdrey: the perfect way to bring up a century of Tests © Getty Images
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1968
An Edgbaston fairytale. England began the third Test against Australia - and Colin Cowdrey became the first man to make 100 Test appearances. He marked it with his 21st Test century. At the close of this first day Cowdrey was 95 not out, but after 30 tense minutes on the second morning, he reached a famous hundred. It must have been written in the heavens: he even survived pulling a muscle and having Geoff Boycott as a runner for half his innings.

1930
English audiences saw plenty of Don Bradman down the years, but he was never better than this. On the first day of the third Test at Headingley, Bradman lashed an unbeaten 309 in Australia's mammoth 458 for 3. In terms of time, his double-century is the fastest in Test history at 214 minutes. He was only the third man to make a century before lunch on the first day of a Test, and remains the only man to make 300 in a day. Bradman eventually went for 334. It was his highest Test score - although he rated his 254 at Lord's in 1930 higher.

1930
On the same day, New Zealand's most productive legspinner was born. No Kiwi leggie has more than Jack Alabaster's 49 Test wickets, although they did come at a cost of almost 40 each. Alabaster's 21 Tests were spread over 16 years, and he never took a five-for. His best performance was in Cape Town in 1961-62, when he bowled South Africa to defeat with a couple of four-fors. That was his best series - in five Tests he snared 22 wickets.

1950
Another Antipodean leggie is born. Jim Higgs played all of his 22 Tests between 1977-78 and 1980-81, and was probably Australia's finest wrist-spinner between Richie Benaud and Shane Warne. Like Warne, Higgs struggled against India: against everyone else he averaged less than 29; against India 47. But he did take his best figures against India - 7 for 143 in Chennai in 1979-80. More peculiarly, he was bowled by the only ball he faced on the 1975 tour of England. He later became a Test selector.

1848
The first known ten-for. Kent's Edmund Hinkly took 10 for 48 against an England XI at Lord's. He'd taken six in the first innings as well, but despite being skittled for 120 and 74, England won by 55 runs.

1971
Birth of the man who "can't bowl, can't throw". Queensland fast bowler Scott Muller's two Tests will always be remembered for a sound-effects mike picking up someone - allegedly Shane Warne - saying that Muller couldn't bowl or field. Warne denied it, and it was later attributed to a Channel 9 cameraman. By the time this happened, Muller was bowling India out in a tour match for Queensland, and making barbed comments to Warne via the stump mike.

1869
Another Australian who had a fractious relationship with his team-mates is born. Peter McAlister was a tall right-hand batsman who played eight Tests with little impact but is best remembered for a punch-up with his captain Clem Hill. When he was appointed chairman of selectors, McAlister persuaded his colleagues to send him to England as Monty Noble's vice-captain in 1909. He bore his team-mates little goodwill, and at 40 he was past his prime and did not make a century on the trip. Three years later, his problems with the new leader, Hill, came to a head at a selection meeting, when Hill punched McAlister on the nose.

Other birthdays
1893 Jack Durston (England)
1913 Paul Gibb (England)
1951 Sridharan Jeganathan (Sri Lanka)
1961 Sarah Potter (England)
1970 Pubudu Dassanayake (Sri Lanka)

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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