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A shoo-in for any team in the world
Jacques Kallis, who was born today, is possibly the greatest allrounder in cricket history (with all respect to Garry Sobers). It took him a while to find his feet, but a masterful, match-saving 101 in Melbourne in 1997-98 announced the arrival of a batsman of real class. Kallis took a step up in the West Indies series in 2003-04, scoring a record number of runs for a four-Test series and making six centuries in the Test and one-day series. He lacks the ability to empty bars that Botham or Imran had, but he would still walk into any team in the world. Kallis finally got the recognition he deserved when he was named Player of the Year and Test Player of the Year at the ICC Awards in October 2005. In the 2007 World Cup, he was South Africa's highest run-scorer, with 485, but drew further criticism for his sluggish approach at the crease. He was not included in the South African side for the World Twenty20 at home in September, but returned later that year, and in 2008-09 he went past the 10,000-run milestone - first in ODIs then in Tests, both against Australia. The 2010-11 season was even better for Kallis - in nine Test innings, he scored 821 runs, with one half-century and five hundreds, including his maiden double, at 57.4. He looks the only batsman in the world with anything close to a shot at challenging Sachin Tendulkar's record for most Test runs.
In Delhi, Pakistan became the seventh Test-playing nation. Like most before them, they were hammered in their inaugural match. India eased to victory by an innings and 70 runs, with Hemu Adhikari and Ghulam Ahmed adding an Indian-record 109 for the last wicket. Then Vinoo Mankad got to work with 8 for 52 in the innings and 13 for 131 for the match. Pakistan did bounce back with a win in the next game, though.
Birth of an elegant Indian left-handed opener. When Sadagoppan Ramesh took guard in his Test debut against Pakistan at his home ground, Chennai, in 1999, he toyed with Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis like he was literally batting in his own backyard. He ran up a series of consistent scores, including a couple of hundreds, and suddenly India had unearthed a world-class opening batsman. Indian pitches suited his style of play but critics weren't so confident of his chances overseas. Ramesh played only three Tests outside the subcontinent in his two-year stint with the team, and managed only single-digit scores. He was mysteriously discarded after an impressive tour of Sri Lanka in 2001.
That great allrounder Kapil Dev made his Test debut in Faisalabad. He didn't make the most auspicious start - 1 for 96 and eight runs in the match - but things would get better. Kapil finished with 5248 runs and took 434 wickets, a world record until Courtney Walsh went past him. The game itself was a classic bore-draw, with big hundreds for Zaheer Abbas, Javed Miandad and Gundappa Viswanath. Not the biggest surprise in the world this - it was the 13th consecutive draw between the sides.
Birth of the man who scored South Africa's first three Test hundreds. Jimmy Sinclair was a fine fast bowler and a brutal hitter, who apparently once smashed Wilfred Rhodes out of the Harrogate ground so fiercely that he knocked a cabbie off his hansom. Sinclair's first Test hundred was also his maiden first-class one, 106 against England in Cape Town in 1898-99. He also took 6 for 26 and 3 for 63 in the match, but South Africa still lost by 210 runs. Two Tests and three years later Sinclair took 101 off Australia in Johannesburg, and in the next match, in Cape Town, he smashed a century in just 80 minutes. It included six sixes and remains South Africa's fastest in terms of time. Sinclair died in Johannesburg in 1913.
The birth of Bob Cottam, England's specialist bowling coach until he was replaced by Graham Dilley after the 2001 Ashes defeat. As a player Cottam was a typically English seamer, who was a little unlucky not to play more than four Tests - all on the subcontinent. With 14 wickets at an average of 23, he certainly didn't let anyone down.
A violent assault by Brian Lara on the Sri Lankan bowlers in a Champions Trophy match in Sharjah. Lara made his highest one-day score, 169, off 129 balls with 15 fours and four sixes. It was the spinners who bore the brunt: Kumar Dharmasena disappeared for 72 off 10 overs and Aravinda de Silva 51 off six. But Sri Lanka almost won, despite a seemingly impossible target of 334. Hashan Tillekeratne hit an even 100 to lead a recovery from 109 for 5, but when he was last out, in the final over, Sri Lanka were an agonising four runs short of victory.
Allan Donald proved too hot for Zimbabwe in the one-off Test in Harare, the first between the two countries. Donald took 8 for 71 in the second innings to complete a match haul of 11 as South Africa eased home by seven wickets. Donald also chipped in with a useful 33, adding 79 for the ninth wicket with Brian McMillan (98 not out) to take the game away from the Zimbabweans. It was South Africa's fifth consecutive Test win, their best-ever run and one they equalled when they whitewashed West Indies in 1998-99.
1937 Shirley Banfield (Australia)
1968 Robert van Oosterom (Holland)
1971 David Johnson (India)
1972 Matthew Cassar (England)
1975 Michelle Lynch (New Zealand)
1986 Peter George (Australia)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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