Greenidge's final frenzy
A bewildering and brutal innings from Gordon Greenidge in Barbados took care of Australia's hopes of becoming the world's best side. When he strode to the wicket in the second innings of the fourth Test in Barbados, Greenidge had made only one fifty in his last 24 innings, and 20 wickets had fallen for only 283 runs in the match. Greenidge got almost as many on his own in a display that rolled back the years. His violent 226 was his fourth Test double-hundred, and with West Indies rampaging to 536 for 9 declared, Australia were well beaten by 343 runs. Two down with one to play, their hopes of usurping West Indies were shattered.
Another brutal innings from another West Indian. Chris Gayle sent record books flying out of the park when he hit the highest T20 score of 175, which included the fastest T20 century (off 30 balls) and the most sixes in an innings (17). His innings helped Royal Challengers Bangalore get to a record total of 263. Gayle's utter domination of the match was evident from his 167-run opening stand with Tillakaratne Dilshan, who contributed only 33 to it. The hapless victims were Pune Warriors, who could only manage 133 for 9 in reply, losing their last two wickets to Gayle in one over.
Birth of the hard-hitting Australian left-hander Barry Shepherd. He played nine Tests in the 1960s, and started off with a crucial 71 not out on debut, in the victory over England in Sydney in 1962-63. Shepherd averaged 41 from his nine Tests, but never managed a century. The closest he came was when he made 96 against South Africa at the MCG in 1963-64.
A maiden Test century on his home ground for Brian Lara, but not a landmark that came easy: he had played nine Tests and 19 innings in Trinidad before finally reaching the three-figure mark a full ten years after he first played a Test here. That didn't change West Indies' fortunes, though, as they went down by 118 runs to Australia.
The first Test in Kandy, and the first between Sri Lanka and Australia, is perhaps best remembered for David Hookes' maiden century. Hookes got his hundred in 156 minutes and scored an unbeaten 143 off 152 balls - 100 of those came between lunch and tea on this day, and his innings including two sixes and 17 fours. Spinners Bruce Yardley and Tom Hogan - the latter of whom made his debut in the match - took five each in either innings as Sri Lanka lost by an innings and 38 runs.
Birth of a wicketkeeper-batsman who, like Kepler Wessels, played for two major teams. Luke Ronchi first represented Australia as an injury replacement for Brad Haddin in a T20 against West Indies in 2008. His glovework was up to the mark and he impressed with a 22-ball fifty in an ODI on the same tour. But his form fell away drastically and by the end of 2008-09 he was out of his state side, Western Australia, as well. At the end of 2011-12, he moved to New Zealand, the country of his birth, where his performances were strong enough for a call-up to the ODI squad in 2013 once he had qualified to play for the country. He scored back-to-back half-centuries against South Africa in January 2014 and a maiden one-day hundred - a massive 170 in a record stand of 267 with Grant Elliott - a month before the 2015 World Cup.
Birth of another keeper, but a strange one. Though he made his international debut in 2007, in a Twenty20 for Pakistan Zulqarnain Haider really arrived in 2010, when he replaced the struggling Kamran Akmal behind the stumps in the Edgbaston Test and made a determined 88 in the second innings. In November that year, after helping his side level a ODI series against South Africa in Abu Dhabi, Zulqarnain disappeared from the team hotel, only to appear in London, claiming to have received death threats from bookmakers. He then announced his retirement from international cricket and applied for asylum in UK before withdrawing the application the following April after receiving assurances from the Pakistan government with regard to his security at home. On his return, he was fined by the PCB for violating the code of conduct and put on probation from the national team for a year but allowed to play domestic cricket.
As the first Test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan petered out in Colombo on the final day, Aravinda de Silva cracked a princely 168. Nothing unusual in that, but it was a real turning point for de Silva: in his previous 15 Test innings he had failed to reach 40, but this was the first of a spellbinding six consecutive centuries in Test innings at the various Colombo grounds.
Birth of Claude Carter, the South African left-arm spinner who played ten Tests between 1912 and 1924. South Africa were a poor side in those days, and Carter was never on a winning team in a Test. But he was particularly effective on matting, and he did take a couple of six-fors: against England in Durban in 1913-14, and against Australia in Johannesburg eight years later. Carter also played for Cornwall for a number of years. He died in his native Durban in 1952.
Graham Gooch got the county season - the first to include four-day games - off to a barnstorming start with a massive 275 against Kent at Chelmsford. It was Gooch's highest first-class score... for a couple of years at least, until he belted 333 against India at Lord's. He took his good form into the Test arena too, and made 73 and 146 in the first Test at Trent Bridge, without which, it ultimately transpired, England would have been whitewashed by West Indies for the third series in a row.
Al Sahariar Rokon, born today, played 15 Tests and 29 ODIs for Bangladesh between 1999 and 2003. A natural strokemaker, at his best he was a wonderful timer of the ball, and at his worst he reached for it with flat-footed uncertainty. His cause was not helped by the Bangladesh selectors, who insisted on playing him as an opener. He attempted to curb his natural aggression, and played some gutsy cameos, but a highest score of 71 in 15 Tests led to his exclusion from the squad after Bangladesh's 2003-04 tour of Australia.