England 4, India 0
England completed their first series whitewash in seven years when they won the Oval Test against India by an innings and eight runs. Ian Bell was India's chief tormentor, getting his first double-century in the course of a 350-run partnership with Kevin Pietersen. India made 300 for the first time in a series where the abjectness of their performance belied their No. 1 ranking, and that was solely due to an unbeaten century by Rahul Dravid, who carried his bat and came out again to open in the follow-on. When Sachin Tendulkar and Amit Mishra put on 144 on the last day, it looked like India might engineer an escape, but Tendulkar fell nine short of what would have been his 100th international hundred, after which five wickets were lost for 21 runs. Graeme Swann, who came late to the series party, took nine in the match.
Birth of Australia's pre-war captain Bill Woodfull, who liked to regain the Ashes on his birthday: he did it in 1930 and again in 1934 (see below). Known as "The Rock" because of his imperturbable temperament, Woodfull possessed an immensely strong defence and great patience. He led Australia in the Bodyline series and during the Adelaide Test famously told the England manager, Plum Warner, "There are two teams out there. One is playing cricket and the other is not," regarding England's tactics. He scored three half-centuries in the last three Tests of the series. In 35 Tests, Woodfull scored 2300 runs at 46, with seven hundreds.
Aristocratic strokemaker KS Ranjitsinhji achieved the unique feat of scoring two first-class hundreds on the same day, for Sussex against Yorkshire at Hove. A month earlier, the Indian-born Ranji had made an unbeaten 154 on his debut for England, against Australia at Old Trafford. His county partnerships with the equally cultured CB Fry were legendary.
At Colombo's Sinhalese Sports Club, Sri Lanka needed only 54 to win with eight wickets left. Offspinner Greg Matthews and fast bowler Craig McDermott took the next five wickets and brought the game to a head with Sri Lanka needing 31 more. Then a hitherto underachieving legspinner, Shane Warne, took the last three without conceding a run and sealed a 16-run win for Australia. This after Sri Lanka had taken a first-innings lead of 291, with Romesh Kaluwitharana flaying 132 not out on his debut. The remaining two Tests were drawn.
Debut Test matches rarely get better than the one Jonathan Trott had against Australia at The Oval. He became the 18th England batsman to score a century on debut. What made Trott's effort all the more special was that his 119 came in the deciding Test of an Ashes series and helped clinch the rubber 2-1. Trott, who grew up in South Africa before moving to England, was picked at The Oval at the expense of Ravi Bopara after England's middle order had failed repeatedly in the previous Tests of the series.
Birth of Australian spinner Peter Taylor, who was so unknown that when he made his debut against England at the SCG in 1986-87, many thought it had been a misprint for the then uncapped Mark Taylor. He took 6 for 78 with his looping offbreaks and helped Australia win a match that went to the penultimate over. It was the only five-wicket haul of his 13-Test career, but he took 97 wickets in 83 one-day internationals and went on to become a Test selector.
As people's thoughts turned to what Wisden described as the "European situation", the third Test between England and West Indies at The Oval petered out into a tame draw in front of 9000 spectators. It was the last Test to be played until New Zealand hosted Australia at the Basin Reserve in March 1946, six and a half years later. West Indies cancelled the remainder of their tour and returned home early. Within a fortnight England had declared war on Germany.
Australia regained the Ashes with an innings win at The Oval, thanks to Don Bradman's 232, which was almost an average score for him at the time. Earlier in the series he had made 131, 254 and 334. His total of 974 runs is still a record for any Test series.
Another Oval Test, another Bradman double-ton, another big Australian win to regain the Ashes. This time the Don hit 244 and shared a record stand of 451 with Bill Ponsford, who scored 266 in his last Test. Also making his Test farewell was poor Frank Woolley, once a superb fielder but now a 47-year-old substitute wicketkeeper who conceded a Test-record 37 byes. An unjust end to one of the greatest careers.
England dismissed Australia for only 65 at The Oval (Woolley 5 for 20, Harry Dean 4 for 19) to win the Triangular Tournament, the only competition between three Test teams ever held in a single country (South Africa finished third).
Gloucestershire were all out for 17, their lowest score in any first-class match, against the Australians at Cheltenham. Two offspinners did all the bowling, Hugh Trumble taking 6 for 8 and Tom McKibbin 4 for 7.
Birth of double international Harry Makepeace, whose century in Melbourne in 1920-21 made up for some bad luck in his England matches as a footballer. On his debut, against Scotland in 1906, his injury was described as "the turning point of the match". He scored two other fifties in the 1920-21 Ashes series, some rare defiance in the face of a 5-0 defeat.
Sri Lankan fast bowler Charitha Buddhika, born today, played nine Tests and 17 ODIs between 2001 and 2003. He picked up 5 for 67 on one-day debut but went wicketless in his first Test, a month later, and never bettered the five-for in either format. He was a handy lower-order batsman, though, with five first-class centuries.