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Larwood's last goodbye
Death of Harold Larwood - in Australia, the country whose batsmen he'd once traumatised. One of the fastest bowlers of all time, Larwood took 33 wickets in the controversial 1932-33 Bodyline series, including Don Bradman's four times, as England regained the Ashes but nearly lost an empire. In his last innings of this, his last series, he hit 98, the highest Test score by a night-watchman for England until surpassed by Alex Tudor at Edgbaston 66 years later. A century seemed Larwood's for the taking until he was caught in the deep by that dreadful fielder Bert Ironmonger, who was nicknamed "Dainty" because he wasn't.
Shane Warne was once asked who wrote his scripts. That would be a good question to put to his long-time rival as well. When Muttiah Muralitharan announced his intention to retire from Tests before the first match against India in Galle, he had 792 wickets. By the end of day three - day two was a complete washout - he had inched to 793, with Sachin Tendulkar's wicket. But the fourth day brought 12 Indian wickets, five of them going to Murali. On the final day, with India following on, VVS Laxman shepherded the tail, seeking a draw while Sri Lanka pushed for a win and those two wickets for Murali. When Laxman was run-out with one wicket remaining, many feared it wasn't to be. But Murali got Pragyan Ojha to nick one to slip - a record 77th time c Jayawardene b Muralitharan appeared on a Test scorecard - and, like Richard Hadlee, finished with a wicket off his final ball in Test cricket.
A towering innings comes to an end. Frank Worrell's 261, his highest score, and at the time the highest score in a Test at Trent Bridge, set West Indies on their way to a first-innings lead of 335 and a victory by ten wickets that put them 2-1 up in the series. It wasn't all plain sailing, though. Cyril Washbrook and Reg Simpson opened England's second innings with 212 for the first wicket, and at 326 for 2 the match was back in the balance. But then, not for the first time in the series, the spin twins took over. Sonny Ramadhin (5 for 135) and Alf Valentine (3 for 140) decimated the lower and middle orders, with the last five wickets falling for 28 runs. Only Godfrey Evans, with an assured 63, provided any resistance.
On his Test debut, Jack Barrett became the first opener to carry his bat through a completed Test innings in an Ashes Test. At Lord's, his unbeaten 67 out of 176 gave Australia hope of an unlikely victory after they had collapsed to 132 all out in the first innings, but WG Grace was in no mood to capitulate. His 75 not out carried England to a seven-wicket victory - "an innings," wrote the Almanack, "entirely worthy of his reputation".
After a thrilling start at Trent Bridge, a match that brought Edgbaston 2005 to mind, England went up 2-0 in the Ashes with an emphatic, if anti-climatic, 347-run win at Lord's - Australia's third-largest defeat by runs. Joe Root became the youngest Englishman to score a Test hundred at the venue, and he hurt Australia with his bowling as well, taking the wickets of Usman Khawaja and Michael Clarke - the only two batsmen in the side to cross 50 - in the second innings.
John Price, born today, was a solidly built right-arm fast bowler with a distinctive angled approach to the wicket and an exceptionally long run-up. On his day he was dangerous, with pace generated by his powerful upper body, and the ability to swing the ball away from the right-hander, but he was too prone to injury to become an England regular. His fielding in the deep was superb, his batting at No. 11 less so. He played 242 matches for Middlesex taking 734 wickets
Birth of Runako Morton, mostly remembered for lying about the death of a grandmother so he could skip the Champions Trophy. But Morton got past the controversy, as he did previous incidents at the West Indian Academy, and went on to settle into the West Indies one-day side by 2005. But it was a brief stay (during which he recorded the then-slowest duck, off 31 balls) for though he scored 90 against Australia in the 2006 Champions Trophy, his form fell away subsequently. Morton tragically died in 2012 after his car crashed into a utility pole.
Nuwan Kulasekara, born today, made an instant impression when he was plucked out of relative obscurity. From a bustling run-up and whippy open-chested action, he generates lively pace, moves the ball off the seam, and reverse-swings it. Between April 2008 and May 2009, he took 47 ODI wickets and became Sri Lanka's leading one-day strike bowler. In 2013, he took a career-best 5 for 22, against Australia in Brisbane
That well-known medium-pacer Tom Cartwright was born. On his Test debut, against Australia at Old Trafford in 1964, he bowled 77 overs in taking 2 for 118. In the following Test, at The Oval, he bowled 62 overs for figures of 3 for 110. Cartwright should have played many more than his five Tests, but he was mistrusted by the selectors, who preferred their change bowlers to have an extra yard of pace. He is, however, assured of a place in the pantheon, as the man who taught Ian Botham how to bowl.
1859 (and 1865)
VE Walker had a thing about July 22. On this day in 1859 he took 10 for 74 for England v Surrey. Six years later to the day, he took 10 for 104 for Middlesex v Lancashire.
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