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July 20 down the years

Botham's day

Beefy turns it on

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Botham. 1981. Headingley. You know the story
Botham. 1981. Headingley. You know the story © Getty Images
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1981
The most amazing day of a famously amazing Headingley Test. Ian Botham scored 145 of his 149 not out to give England an outside chance of beating Australia after following on, a chance Bob Willis took with his 8 for 43 the following day. This was also the day when England's odds slipped out to 500-1, an offer that Dennis Lillee and Rod Marsh couldn't refuse. Then Botham and Graham Dilley gave it some humpty, and the rest is history.

1900
Birth of that famously combative Yorkshireman, Maurice Leyland, who saved the best till last. His final Test innings of 187 was played during a partnership of 382 with Len Hutton at The Oval in 1938, still England's highest stand for any wicket against Australia.

2009
England win an Ashes Test at Lord's after 75 years. And who did they have to thank for it? Andrew Flintoff, of course. Having announced that he would retire at the end of the series, Flintoff had looked feeble till the fourth innings. Australia were set 522 (Andrew Strauss had made 161 earlier) and Flintoff came on to steal the show with his second five-for against Australia (and only his third in all). At the start of the final day, Australia were 313 for 5, but Flintoff had Brad Haddin edge to second slip in the second over and that started a collapse. Soon after lunch, England had taken a lead in the series.

2000
On the first day of the match in Galle, an opening partnership of 193 between Marvan Atapattu and Sanath Jayasuriya set Sri Lanka on the way to their first Test win over South Africa. That only tells half the story, though. Jayasuriya bashed 148 off only 156 balls - 96 of them in a scintillating morning session. Sri Lanka got to 522 - and then came Murali, who brushed South Africa to an innings defeat with 13 for 171.

1976
Birth of yet another in a long line of Indian medium-pacers who looked promising but couldn't quite make it on the big stage. Debasis Mohanty managed only two Tests and 45 ODIs. He was effective in English conditions and was a last-minute call-up for the 1999 World Cup - where he took his best figures of 4 for 56 against Kenya.

1990
In a one-day international at Trent Bridge, Robin Smith scored a hundred in 101 balls, but India won to take the Texaco Trophy for the first time. It was the story of the Judge's life: all of his one-day hundreds came in England defeats. And only two of his nine Test hundreds came in English victories.

1971
Controversial seam bowler Ed Giddins was born. He received an extensive ban for drug use, but took one five-wicket haul in Test cricket, against Zimbabwe at Lord's in 2000. Two Tests and one wicket later, Giddins was dropped.

1909
Birth of the confident and supremely patient Eric Rowan, who was often the mainstay of South Africa's batting. Against England in Johannesburg in 1948-49, he batted for six hours on the last day to make an unbeaten 156 that saved the match. At Headingley in 1951 he followed his Test-best 236 in the first innings with 60 not out in the second. His brother Athol also played for South Africa.

1973
One of the new wave of West Indian fast bowlers, Nixon McLean was born. Unfortunately his middle names (Alexei McNamara) were more impressive than his Test average (42.56).

Other birthdays
1911 Baqa Jilani (India)
1934 Doug Padgett (England)
1974 Caroline Salomons (Netherlands)
1975 Atiq-uz-Zaman (Pakistan)

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