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July 17 down the years

Perfection in gauntlets

A keeper to keep

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Taylor's glovework was fantastic, but his batting wasn't
Taylor's glovework was fantastic, but his batting wasn't © Mangesh Zemse
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1941
One of England's most accomplished wicketkeepers is born. It was Bob Taylor's misfortune that he was around at the same time as Alan Knott, and in an era when wicketkeepers were expected to deliver with the bat for the first time. Taylor couldn't - he made only three fifties in 57 Tests - but he could certainly keep. His glovework was near perfect at times, and nobody in history can match his 1649 dismissals (1473 caught, 176 stumped), most of them in a 28-year career with Derbyshire. Ten of those catches came in Bombay in the Golden Jubilee Test of 1979-80, when Taylor stole a bit of the limelight from Ian Botham. Taylor's last Test was in Pakistan in 1983-84, but two years later, against New Zealand at Lord's in 1986, he took over the gloves from the injured Bruce French. He was only at the match as a media relations officer for Cornhill Insurance, the sponsors.

1944
The New Zealand batsman Mark Burgess, who was born today, made five hundreds in his 50 Tests, and three of them came in consecutive Tests. It looks like the ultimate purple patch - except those three Tests were spread over two years. Burgess was only on a winning side five times, but one of those was when he was captain for the first time - the Wellington demolition of 1977-78, where New Zealand beat England for the first time in 42 attempts and 48 years.

1975
Birth of another New Zealander. The temperamental Andre Adams only played one Test, but in his 42 one-day internationals showed enough potential to indicate a successful international career - even if his credentials as a big hitter didn't stack up. A handy bowling allrounder, Adams came back from an injury to play in 2004 and featured off and on for the ODI side, but in late 2007 said he was not willing to play any more ODIs under the then administration. A perceived casual attitude, injuries and inconsistent performances perhaps had its effect on New Zealand's selectors. Adams then joined the unofficial Indian Cricket League, all but ending his international career.

1888
A record 27 wickets fell in a little over four hours on the second day of the Lord's Test between England and Australia. Heavy rain and an uncovered pitch created a batsman's nightmare. On the first day, 13 wickets fell in three hours, and on the second England lost their last seven wickets for 35, bowled out Australia for 60, and were again dismissed for 62, losing by 61 runs.

1960
Birth of the man who once had the highest batting average in one-day internationals. Kim Barnett did only play one game, when he carved 84 against Sri Lanka at The Oval in 1988, but it was enough to put him top of the tree. A few weeks before that, he hit 66 on his Test debut, against Sri Lanka at Lord's, and then thumped a merry 80 in England's next Test, against Australia at Headingley a year later. But Barnett's on-the-walk technique was soon found out, and after being dropped he went on the rebel tour to South Africa in 1989-90. That was his international career done, but he ploughed on as county cricket's elder statesman for another 13 years, mostly with Derbyshire but later with Gloucestershire, until his retirement in 2002.

1893
Against Australia at Lord's, England's Arthur Shrewsbury became the first man to make 1000 runs in Tests when he hammered 106 in the first innings.

1919
With a bowling average in excess of 50, New Zealand legspinner Alex Moir, who was born today, didn't exactly have a Boy's Own Test career. That was after something of a dream start, when he took 6 for 155 against England in Christchurch in 1950-51. But overall, New Zealand lost 12 and won none of Moir's 17 Tests.

1933
In Rhodesia, a South African batsman is born. Tony Pithey's 17-Test career had one distinct highlight: a patient 154 against England in Cape Town in 1964-65. It was his only Test hundred. His brother David also played eight Tests for South Africa.

1982
Birth of Omari Banks, the first player from the Leeward island of Anguilla to play Test cricket for West Indies. His debut was inauspicious, to say the least. He took three wickets in the first innings against Australia in Barbados in 2003, but was hit for 204 runs in 40 overs - then the most runs conceded in an innings by a debutant. He played only nine more Tests, the highlight of which was an unbeaten 47 in West Indies' famous chase of 418 in Antigua, in the same series.

Other birthdays
1955 Christopher Chappell (Canada)
1962 Debra Stock (England)
1977 Inoka Galagedara (Sri Lanka)

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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