Fredericks flays the Aussies
Perhaps the most audacious innings in Test history. Australia thumped West Indies in five out of six Tests in the series, but in the second match, at the WACA, Roy Fredericks led West Indies to an innings victory with an astonishing display. Only a fool gives Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson as good as he gets on a Perth flyer, but Fredericks did exactly that and smacked them all round the park. Even though they were eight-ball overs, Lillee and Thomson's figures of 37-0-251-5 were not a pretty sight, and at lunch on the second day West Indies were 130 for 1 - from 14 overs. Fredericks flayed 50 off 33 balls; 100 in 71; in all he faced only 145 deliveries for his 169.
Forty-two-year-old Colin Cowdrey was sitting at home in Kent looking forward to Christmas. But an injury crisis led to his being summoned to Australia to reinforce the beleaguered English tourists. He barely had time to get over jet lag before he was thrown in at the deep end in the second Test, in Perth, against a rampant Lillee and Thomson. Cowdrey made 22 and 41 and famously reduced Thomson to incredulous silence when he arrived at the wicket and politely introduced himself with a cheery "Hello, I'm Colin Cowdrey, I don't believe we've met."
Double-hundred no biggie for Rohit Sharma, who got his third in ODIs, against Sri Lanka - who were also on the other end of his record 264 - in Mohali. Three days after India were bowled out for 112, Rohit's innings propelled them to 392. Shikhar Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer chipped in with half-centuries and India won by 141 runs.
Sydney Barnes, considered by many to be the greatest bowler of the 20th century, took 5 for 65 on debut against Australia at the SCG. He took one more wicket in the second innings and England won by an innings and 124 runs in a match where three other visiting players made their debut: Charlie Blythe, Len Braund and John Gunn.
England recovered from 2 for 4 and all that in Johannesburg with a rough, tough draw in the second Test, in Port Elizabeth. Nasser Hussain led from the front, pounding 82 - his first three scoring strokes were 4, 6 and 6 - and 70 not out. There were also hundreds for Mike Atherton and Lance Klusener (a mighty 174) in a match that ended tempestuously, with four of England's six second-innings victims sawed off by poor decisions.
Disappointment for Virat Kohli in his first Test as captain. After the Brisbane Test was postponed due to Phillip Hughes' death, the two teams met for an emotional contest in Adelaide a week after Hughes' funeral. Kohli's twin hundreds (he became the second batsman after Greg Chappell to score two hundreds in his first Test as captain) were matched by David Warner, and then eclipsed by offspinner Nathan Lyon's 12 wickets. India chased 364 on the last day - a total that looked gettable when Kohli and M Vijay batted after lunch. After Vijay was trapped leg-before by Lyon for 99, Kohli carried on, taking India past 300. But on 141, he was caught at the boundary, after which India collapsed and lost by 48 runs.
Twenty-two-year-old Clive Lloyd made his debut, against India in Bombay. He scored half-centuries in both innings - an unbeaten 78 in the second - as West Indies won the first Test by six wickets. Lloyd didn't top his 78 in the rest of the series, which West Indies won 2-0, but he averaged 56.75 from the five innings, and he went on to greater things in his next 107 Tests.
A glorious performance from 19-year-old Doug Walters illuminated the drawn first Test between Australia and England in Brisbane. Playing in his first Test, Walters cracked a brilliant 155 in trying circumstances. That gave Australia the whip hand, but rain played its part and England got away comfortably enough with a draw.
An enigma is born. Basit Ali made his debut for Pakistan in the unofficial world championship duel with West Indies in 1992-93, and looked a class act as the rest of the batsmen surrendered lamely to Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh and Ian Bishop. But as so often happens with Pakistani prodigies, his star faded quickly.
Having suffered humiliating defeats at the hands of England and New Zealand in the previous four months, Australia heralded a new era by giving debuts to Merv Hughes, Geoff Marsh and Bruce Reid in the first Test against India. All three would play key roles in the rebirth of Australian cricket, as would one Steve Waugh, who took his bow in the next match. The match was a dull, high-scoring draw on a typical Adelaide shirtfront, notable mainly for Sunil Gavaskar becoming the first man to reach 9000 Test runs in the course of a grand, unbeaten 166.
Greg Chappell, batting at No. 7, marked his Test debut with a glorious 108 in the drawn second Test between Australia and England in Perth. There were also tons for Brian Luckhurst, in his second Test, John Edrich and Ian Redpath, while Bill Lawry reached 5000 Test runs in the second innings.
Birth of Corey Anderson, best known for scoring what was then the fastest ODI century, off 36 balls, against West Indies in 2014. Anderson belted 14 sixes and six fours in his unbeaten 131, off 47 balls, in the rain-reduced game in Queenstown. He held the record for just over a year, before AB de Villiers' produced a 31-ball special. A useful left-arm seamer, Anderson was earmarked as a promising allrounder at Under-19 level. He scored his first Test century, against Bangladesh, on his maiden international tour in 2013.