Cowdrey's crowning glory
An Edgbaston fairy tale. 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.
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.
An unexpected win for England in the opening Test of the 2015 Ashes, in Cardiff. All the pre-series talk, which centred on Australian dominance, was given the lie when England won by 169 runs inside four days. It started with Joe Root's century, giving his team a strong first-innings lead of 122. Mitchell Johnson had a poor game with the ball, on a slowish pitch, and a listless Australia were set 412. At 122 for 6 on the fourth day, an early finish seemed inevitable, and so it proved, with Root figuring in the last three wickets, as bowler in two.
At Edgbaston, England ran roughshod over Australia in an eight-wicket win that took them to their first World Cup final since 1992. Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer landed the first blows, dismissing Australia's dangerous openers inside the first three overs. Steven Smith and Alex Carey - who continued batting after a blow to the chin by Archer that drew blood - led the recovery with a century stand, but legspinner Adil Rashid broke the partnership and restricted Australia to 223. Given New Zealand had successfully defended 240 in the first semi-final a day before, you could have been forgiven for thinking the total wasn't sub-par. Jason Roy would disagree with you: along with Jonny Bairstow, he added 124 in quick time and England wrapped up the game with nearly 18 overs to spare.
New Zealand's most productive legspinner is 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 took 22 wickets.
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 wristspinner 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.
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.
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 Nine 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.
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.