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A Barbados thriller gets underway
The start of one of the most thrilling Tests of modern times. It didn't happen often in those days, but West Indies were definitely drinking in the last-chance saloon against Pakistan in Barbados: 0-1 down with one to play, and their eight-year unbeaten series run - not to mention their claim to be the world's best side - under serious threat. A magnificent match seesawed this way and that, with nobody making more than Viv Richards' first-innings 67. At 207 for 8 chasing 266, and with Courtney Walsh to come, Pakistan looked to have it in the bag, but Jeff Dujon blocked and Winston Benjamin blasted West Indies to a two-wicket win. Pakistan were left to lick their wounds; not least Abdul Qadir, who allegedly punched a heckler on the boundary and ended up paying an out-of-court settlement.
A battle royale between two legends who had had several face-offs over the years. And Sachin Tendulkar won again. The enduring image of this match in Sharjah is of Shane Warne swatting flies away from his face, looking perplexedly at Tendulkar, who read Warne's deliveries before they landed and sent them across the boundary. Tendulkar scored 143 in 131 balls - then his highest in ODIs - and though India lost (thanks largely to a well-paced hundred from Michael Bevan), they qualified for the final. Tendulkar made 134 in that match, on his 25th birthday, and India won the Coca Cola Cup.
Jonathan Trott, born today, celebrated his Test debut with an Ashes-winning century at The Oval in 2009. Two years later, and this time in Melbourne, Trott repeated the dose with a brilliant unbeaten 168 that ensured England would retain the urn on Australian soil for the first time in 24 years. He endured a form-slump in between - although he made a vital 69 in a tense draw in the first Test against South Africa in Centurion, he failed to pass fifty in five innings thereafter. He was inconsistent on England's tour to Bangladesh, but bounced back with early-season form for Warwickshire in 2010 and a marathon 226 to set up a win in the first Test against Bangladesh at Lord's. He made a third double, against Sri Lanka next May.
The umpire Ken Palmer, who was born today, also played one Test for England, in 1964-65, when he was coaching in Johannesburg and was called up after a series of injuries in England's ranks. It was a chastening debut: his bowling average of 189 is the second-worst in England's Test history, although he had a fine first-class record with bat and ball for Somerset. Palmer later forged a successful career as an umpire, though not one without controversy. In the fraught 1992 Headingley Test he gave Graham Gooch not out against Pakistan, even though replays showed Gooch was at least two feet short of his ground when Moin Khan removed the bails, a decision that prompted a lingering rancour after England went on to win by six wickets.
When Australia lost only four wickets in beating Sri Lanka by an innings in the inaugural Test between the sides, which began in Kandy on this day, any Aussie would have given you long odds on Sri Lanka turning the tables as comprehensively as they did in the World Cup final 13 years later. This match was Australia's from the first ball: Kepler Wessels and David Hookes made centuries in a top six that, unusually, had only one right-hander: Greg Chappell, playing for the 48th and final time as captain. Spinners Tom Hogan and Bruce Yardley did the rest on a wearing pitch.
Birth of the stylish Ranjan Madugalle, a regular fixture in the Sri Lankan middle order in their formative years as a Test-playing nation. He was only once on the winning side, and made one century - 103 against India in Colombo in 1985-86. Madugalle went on to head the ICC's elite panel of match referees.
A gentle giant is born. At 6ft 6in, the lumbering Western Australian quick bowler Jo Angel was a formidable opponent on the WACA surface. It was the site of his unmemorable Test debut, in the winner-takes-all clash against West Indies in 1992-93. His came back in Pakistan two years later, and nearly had Inzamam-ul-Haq plumb lbw in the course of Pakistan's famous, match-winning last-wicket partnership in Karachi. His Test career was over that winter.
Playing for the Minor Counties against blatantly superior players was a thankless task at the best of times, but particularly when a West Indian quick was tearing in as if it was a Test match. Today Middlesex's Wayne Daniel terrorised the Minors with 7 for 12 in Ipswich, the best figures in the history of the Benson & Hedges Cup.
1851 George Alexander (Australia)
1861 Clarence Wimble (South Africa)
1925 June James (Australia)
1943 Steve Dunne (New Zealand)
1955 Jim Love (England)
1958 Ashraf Ali (Pakistan)
1961 Mike Haysman (Australia)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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