New Zealand sneak past Pakistan in Abu Dhabi
The fifth tightest Test result of all time. New Zealand beat Pakistan by four runs in Abu Dhabi in a Test the home side looked to have in the bag at lunch on day four, when they had seven wickets in hand chasing 46 runs to win. Then came another of Pakistan's famous meltdowns, which peaked in the last-wicket pair hanging grimly on for close to eight overs. But though Azhar Ali looked set to drag his team across the line with singles, debutant left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel got his man lbw in the end to finish with a five-for.
Sunil Gavaskar, 67 not out overnight, completed his second hundred of the match in the third Test against Pakistan in Karachi. He finished with 137 but India fell apart at the hands of Sarfraz Nawaz (5 for 70) and Pakistan completed an eight-wicket win when they chased down 164 with seven balls to spare to clinch their first series victory against India.
The "can't bat, can't bowl, can't field" England vintage got their Ashes tour under way in perfect style with a crushing win in the first Test in Brisbane. And central to their victory was Ian Botham at his swashbuckling best. With the game in the balance at 198 for 4, Botham slammed an imperious 138 off 174 balls, with four sixes and 13 fours. He also set a new record for Ashes Tests by lacing 22 off one over from a young Merv Hughes. England were always in control after that. Graham Dilley took 5 for 68 in the first innings, and John Emburey a rare five-for in the second. England eased home by seven wickets on the final day.
The first signs of what became known as Bodyline, in the tour match between the MCC and an Australian XI at the MCG... the irony being that Douglas Jardine was not even on the ground, as he had gone fishing in the Bogong Valley. Harold Larwood struck Bill Woodfull around the heart, causing a ten-minute delay, while Don Bradman opted to scurry round the crease to try to combat the leg theory. He was out lbw shuffling across his crease, but not before he had played what was described as an overhead tennis smash for an all-run five off a ball aimed at his head. The 50,000-plus crowd were left bemused. Larwood took his 1000th first-class wicket later in the day.
Birth of the man who inspired probably the biggest shock in cricket history. Kenyan seamer Rajab Ali will never forget the events of Leap Year Day in 1996, when he took 3 for 17 as Kenya astonishingly bowled out West Indies for 93, to beat them by 73 runs in their World Cup match. Kenya captain Maurice Odumbe took the match award, but Ali made the initial incisions, bowling Richie Richardson and then having Brian Lara caught behind as a disbelieving public realised that, on a day that comes once every four years, they were about to see an upset that comes once in a lifetime. Ali soon came down to earth, though - in his next match he was on the wrong end of an assault from Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana and conceded 67 from his six overs.
An emotional day for Allan Donald, who became the first South African to take 300 Test wickets, during the first Test against New Zealand. And better still, he did it on his home ground, in Bloemfontein. Donald trapped Shayne O'Connor lbw to spark wild celebrations, with three blasts from a cannon on the boundary commemorating the feat. He took three wickets in each innings to help South Africa to a five-wicket win over a durable but under-strength New Zealand side. It was a good match, too, for Jacques Kallis, who flashed a boundary-laden 160 on the first day, and Makhaya Ntini, whose second-innings 6 for 66 wrapped things up just as New Zealand were threatening to make a game of it.
Birth of the tragic Billy Bates, whose luminous career was cut short by a freak injury in Australia in 1887-88. Bates was bowling his offspinners in the nets when a straight drive hit him in the face, damaging his eyesight so badly that he never played first-class cricket again. After that, he became depressed and attempted suicide. Bates took 50 wickets in 15 Tests (all of which he played in Australia) at a startling average of 16.42. His finest hour came in Melbourne in 1882-83, when he took 7 for 28 (including the first Test hat-trick by an Englishman) and 7 for 74 as England hammered Australia by an innings. As a batsman he made 10 first-class hundreds, and was good enough to open for England. He died in Yorkshire in 1900, aged only 45.
Adrian Griffith, the lanky West Indian left-hander, who was born today, looked to have established himself when he scored 114 against New Zealand in Hamilton in 1999-2000. After that, though, he averaged just under 22 from his next 10 Tests, and he was jettisoned at the end of the 2000 tour of England. He also featured in nine ODIs, scoring 99 runs at 14.14, with his highest of 47 coming against Pakistan in Sydney in January 1997.
Saleem Jaffar, the tall Pakistan fast bowler, who was born on this day, took 5 for 11 on his first-class debut in 1983-84, and, in 1985-86, finished the season with 80 wickets at 19. His international call-up was no surprise, and he made both his Test and ODI debuts against West Indies that season. His tour of England in 1987 was ended by injury, and when he returned for the World Cup later that year he suffered a terrible mauling by Australia. His best Test outing came against New Zealand in Wellington in 1988-89, where he took match figures of 8 for 134, including his only Test five-for.
Wicketkeeper Peter McGlashan took 12 catches - then a world record for first-class matches - against Central Districts in Whangarei. Six of his catches came off the bowling of Graeme Aldrige, who took 11 in the match. The world record of 14 dismissals (stumpings included) was set by India's Ibrahim Khaleel for Hyderabad against Assam in Guwahati in 2011-12.