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A modern classic is sealed
The end of an 18-year famine for English cricket, and the culmination of one of the greatest series of all time. Needing a draw to regain the Ashes after eight desperately one-sided rubbers, England were handily placed on the final morning of a weather-interrupted match. But Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath - making their final appearances in England - weren't about to go quietly. England slipped to 127 for 5 before lunch - a lead of 134 - and that might have been even worse but for a crucial reprieve for Kevin Pietersen, by Warne himself at first slip. Seizing his moment, Pietersen opted for an all-out assault, clubbing seven sixes in a thrilling 158 to carry England beyond the point of no-return and trigger the mother and father of all celebrations.
The first of West Indies' great post-war fast bowlers was born. With his gold chain bouncing at his throat, Wes Hall made the ball do the same to opposition batsmen. After one of the longest run-ups in Test cricket, he bowled genuinely fast - and he could do it all day, as in his marathon spell in the famous Lord's Test of 1963, when he bowled unchanged for over three hours on the last day. His partnership with Charlie Griffith on that tour was the stuff of English nightmares. Hall enjoyed the dramatic moment as much as anyone: he bowled the last over of the first tied Test, in Brisbane in 1960-61. He took 192 wickets in 48 Tests (exactly four a game), with best figures of 7 for 69 against England in Kingston in 1959-60, when he was at his frightening fastest.
Although his performance was upstaged by Gilbert Jessop's typically explosive 233, it was Charles Fry who set a record on this day that hasn't been broken. Playing for the Rest of England against Yorkshire at Lord's, CB scored 105 ("a beautiful innings" according to the Wisden Almanack). It was his sixth consecutive first-class century, setting a record equalled only by Don Bradman in 1938-39 and Mike Procter in 1970-71. The Rest made 526 and won by an innings.
Birth of Nathan Bracken, one of the best exponents of the slower ball in modern one-day cricket. A tall left-arm seamer, Bracken became a regular in Australia's one-day team in the second half of the 2000s. He entered the Test side briefly in 2003-04 but struggled against the touring Indians' powerful line-up. In 2006 he took 46 wickets and performed creditably in the big tournaments that Australia won - the Champions Trophy and the World Cup. After the 2008 West Indies tour he was, for a time, the No. 1-ranked one-day bowler in the world, but a serious knee injury saw him sidelined since, and he lost his central contract in 2010.
If Lillee and Thomson were the tormentors-in-chief in the mid-1970s, batsmen didn't get much respite when Australia's first-change came on. Max Walker, who was born today, was known as Tangles because he bowled off the wrong foot - but no one chuckled at his relentless support bowling. And when the terrifying twosome were injured, Walker was an effective frontline bowler in his own right. On the Caribbean tour of 1972-73, for example, he took 26 wickets to help win the series 2-0. In the sixth Test in Melbourne in 1974-75, he took 8 for 143 in an England innings of 529. His best Test figures were also the most expensive eight-for in international history, but typical of Walker, who never said die.
Right-arm seamer Richard Snell played in both South Africa's first ODI and first Test after readmission. His best performance came in that historic Test match in Barbados. South Africa lost the match but Snell took 8 for 157, including the wickets of Desmond Haynes and captain Richie Richardson in both innings. He took eight wickets in nine World Cup matches in 1992.
In the season in which he passed WG Grace's total of 126 first-class hundreds, Jack Hobbs set another record right at the end. Playing for the Rest of England against the champions Yorkshire, he made 106 in the first innings. It was The Master's 16th first-class century of the season, a record until Denis Compton hit 18 in 1947.
Birth of classy strokeplayer Waqar Hassan, whose only Test century was a big one: 189 against New Zealand in Lahore in 1955-56. His partnership of 308 with wicketkeeper Imtiaz Ahmed was Pakistan's first 300-run stand in Tests and is still their highest for the seventh wicket against any country. Pakistan won by four wickets. Waqar made six other Test fifties, including 97 in Calcutta in 1952-53.
A partnership of 222 between Allan Border (162) and his captain Kim Hughes (100) made up the bulk of Australia's first-innings total of 390 in Madras. In his first bowl in Test cricket, slow left-armer Dilip Doshi finished with figures of 6 for 103, which set him on the way to a rare little record: he, Clarrie Grimmett and Saeed Ajmal are the only bowlers to take 100 Test wickets after starting their international careers when they were over 30.
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
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