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The scores are level, but it's not a tie
The first Test match to be drawn with the scores level was flippin' murder for the visiting coach. After Zimbabwe frustrated England with a stint of leg-side bowling in Bulawayo, David Lloyd made it clear (in the Wisden Almanack, among other places) that he wasn't altogether sure a draw was the right result.
One of South Africa's best allrounders was born. Aggressive with bat, ball and vocal chords, a stoat in the slips despite his solid frame, Brian McMillan took 75 Test wickets and hit three Test hundreds, all at home - though his drawn-out 100 in Johannesburg in 1995-96 contributed to Mike Atherton and England being able to escape with a draw.
The end of a shockingly low-scoring series in New Zealand after a wet summer left the pitches more unpredictable than usual. India were bowled out for 161 on the first morning at the Basin Reserve, and they folded for 121 inside 39 overs in the second innings, leaving New Zealand 36 runs to get. The second Test in Hamilton, was also a three-day affair. Neither team made it to 100 in the first innings. Shane Bond and Daryl Tuffey took four each in the first innings, and Zaheer Khan a five-for. The visitors did a shade better with 154 in the second innings, but the target of 160 was hardly a stretch for the home side. It was the first time New Zealand had won more than one Test in a series against India.
Birth of another talented allrounder - although Mike Brearley believed that "with a slightly different psychosomatic constitution, Chris Old could have been one of cricket's great players, instead of being merely an extremely good Test player". His reasons for missing Test matches were almost in the Chris Lewis class - but he nevertheless took 143 Test wickets, including four in five balls (the other was a no-ball) against Pakistan at Edgbaston in 1978, and helped Geoff Arnold dismiss India for 42 at Lord's in 1974. At Headingley in 1981 he hit a crucial 29 and then grabbed the key wicket of Allan Border as Australia fell apart in the second innings.
One of four Test-playing brothers was born. Generally in the shadow of his kid brother Hanif, Wazir Mohammad scored both his Test hundreds in the Caribbean series of 1957-58 - but even then his 189 which won the fifth Test was eclipsed by Hanif's 337 in Bridgetown.
The loss of a complete day's play made a draw inevitable, but India used the time to pile up what was then their their then highest total against any country: 676 for 7 against Sri Lanka in Kanpur. Three batsmen made hundreds, but Mohammad Azharuddin must have had mixed feelings about being one of the few to be out for 199 in a Test.
A late starter was born. Although he didn't play for India till he was 31, Dilip Doshi's slow left-arm brought him 114 Test wickets. Bespectacled and patient, he took 6 for 103 on his debut against Australia in Madras in 1979-80, and 6 for 102 at Old Trafford in 1982. He and Australian legspinner Clarrie Grimmett are the only men to take 100 Test wickets after having made debuts when they were past 31.
A solitary success for West Indies on their disastrous tour Down Under. Frank Worrell, better known as a stylish batsman, took 6 for 38 to dismiss Australia for 82 in Adelaide. West Indies won by six wickets but lost the series 4-1.
Birth of Derick Parry, who had no luck at the top level. An offspinner in an era of all-out West Indian pace, he was dismissed by the first ball he faced in Test cricket (against Australia in Port-of- Spain in 1977-78) and missed a run-out with his last, in Dunedin in 1979-80, which cost West Indies their last series defeat before 1994-95. He did take 5 for 15 - four of them bowled - to skittle Australia for 94 in Trindad in 1977-78.
More mammoth batting by Bill Ponsford (see 18 and 19 December). He and Edgar Mayne put on 456 for Victoria v Queensland in Melbourne, still the highest opening stand in first-class cricket in Australia.
Roland Holder, born today, was a middle-order batsman who played 11 Tests and 37 ODIs for West Indies in the late 1990s at a time when they were a side in transition searching for stability. He only went past 50 twice, both in his first series, at home against India, but in fairness he was never really given a real chance as he had to bat at No. 6 or 7. His ODI career, which almost entirely preceded his Tests, was similar, with only two fifties in 31 middle-order innings. After retirement, he worked in administration, first as manager of Barbados and then cricket operations manager at the 2007 World Cup.
© ESPN EMEA Ltd.
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