Two countries, one batsman
Only one batsman has scored Test centuries and 1000 runs each for two separate countries. Kepler Wessels was born today in Bloemfontein but didn't play for South Africa until he had represented Australia, where he emigrated. He scored a century in his first Test innings against England for both countries: 162 in Brisbane in 1982-83, and 105 in a huge win at Lord's in 1994, when he captained South Africa in their first Test in England since 1965. He also led them in their return to Test cricket, in Bridgetown in 1991-92, and in their first World Cup (1992). His four other Test centuries were scored against four different countries.
Birth of a left-hand opening batsman who "had clearly attended the Gordon Greenidge school of controlled aggression". The Wisden Almanack made the comment after Aamer Sohail had turned his maiden Test century into a double, scoring 205 at Old Trafford in 1992. It was only his third Test, but he had to wait another 16 for his second hundred, although there were several good scores in between. He made two tons in the 1997-98 series against West Indies and others against Australia in 1994-95 and 1998-99. His one-day hundreds include two in the World Cup and a highest score of 134 against New Zealand in Sharjah in 1993-94.
A historic win for Zimbabwe in Harare. Chasing 264, Pakistan began the final day needing 105 runs with five wickets in hand but they were undone by medium-pacer Tendai Chatara's maiden five-wicket haul. It took Zimbabwe to their first Test win (against a side other than Bangladesh) since 2001 and only their 11th victory since their admission to the international fold in 1992. Pakistan's captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, made a valiant 79 but he ran out of partners in the face of a persistent bowling and fielding effort.
The Champion County v the Rest of England match at The Oval was the last of the season. On its first day Lancashire's Dick Tyldesley was stumped off fellow England legspinner Percy "Tich" Freeman, who was playing for the Rest. With a depressing lack of originality, Freeman was known as Tich because he wasn't very tall - but his bowling figures were those of a colossus. The wicket of Tyldesley was his 300th of the season, a landmark no one else has reached. Freeman finished with 304 as the Rest won by an innings. In all, he took over 250 wickets on six separate occasions.
Another in the sequence of world-class Australian wicketkeepers was born. Gil Langley was No. 1 choice between the reigns of Don Tallon and Wally Grout. In Australia's win at Lord's in 1956, he became the first wicketkeeper to effect nine dismissals in a single Test. His only Test fifty was made at No. 10, in an innings of 668 in Bridgetown in 1954-55.
Two Kent pace bowlers took hat-tricks against Hampshire in Canterbury. Reason to be cheerful for Martin McCague - but a bit old hat for Dean Headley, who achieved his hat-trick on the 14th. It was his third of the season, equalling the world record set by Charlie Parker in 1924 and JS Rao in 1963-64. Headley's two previous hat-tricks in 1996 were against Derbyshire in Derby, and Worcestershire, again in Canterbury.
The first player born in the West Indies to play Test cricket for India only did it once. Rabindra "Robin" Singh, who was born on this day in Trinidad, played in only one Test, in Harare in 1998-99, when he scored 15 and 12 and didn't take a wicket. Something to do with being regarded as an ODI specialist, perhaps: by the time his career wound up, he had played in 136 of them, including the first on his old home ground of Port-of-Spain in 1988-89. His highest score was exactly 100 at Colombo's SSC in 1997-98, and he took 5 for 31 as India crushed the holders, Sri Lanka, in Taunton in the 1999 World Cup. After retirement in 2004, he took up a career in coaching, taking charge of India's junior and A teams before going on to become the fielding coach of the national side, and then returning to the West Indies to coach in the CPL.
If you're going to be a one-Test wonder, you might as well live up to the word. Charles "Father" Marriott, a tall lanky legspinner, was born today. At the end of his only Test, against West Indies at The Oval in 1933, he had figures of 5 for 37 and 6 for 59 to help England win by an innings. He toured India that winter, taking a hat-trick against Madras, but he was kept out of the Test team by Hedley Verity, which was fair enough.
Some players see the start of their Test careers through rose-tinted specs. Lancashire seamer Paul Allott, who was born today, played in glasses. When he made his Test debut, it was on his home ground, Old Trafford, in the famous Ashes series of 1981. When he batted, he made 52 not out, his maiden first-class fifty. When he bowled, he took 2 for 17 in Australia's first innings. England won by 103 runs and retained the Ashes. The rest of Allott's Test career couldn't live up to a start like that (his 26 wickets cost 41.69 apiece), but he had one more big moment, taking 6 for 61 at Headingley during the 1984 "blackwash" by West Indies.
New Zealand captain Jeff Crowe, who was born today, lived in the shadow of his sublimely talented brother Martin - but he emerged blinking into the light from time to time. He scored Test centuries against England, West Indies and Sri Lanka, the last one as captain away from home.
Birth of a man who captained his country in every one of his ten Tests. Herby Wade's Test batting average was only 20.43, but he led South Africa to their first win in England, at Lord's in 1935. In his last innings of the series, he hit 40 not out at The Oval to make sure of the draw that clinched a 1-0 win.
1868 Arthur Seccull (South Africa)
1884 Dave Smith (Australia)
1911 Robert Harvey (South Africa)
1916 Geff Noblet (Australia)
1919 Shah Nyalchand (India)
1959 Brendon Bracewell (New Zealand)
1959 Saliya Ahangama (Sri Lanka)
1983 Nicola Browne (New Zealand)