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August 23 down the years

An innings and 579 runs

When England didn't go for 1000

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Wally Hammond: the luxury of declaring at 903 for 7
Wally Hammond: the luxury of declaring at 903 for 7 © Getty Images
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1938
England captain Wally Hammond finally deigned to declare the innings closed - although if he'd let it run its course it might have really amounted to something. As it was, 903 for 7 was quite enough to destroy an injury-hit Australia by the ludicrous margin of an innings and 579 runs. The head groundsman at The Oval, "Bosser" Martin wasn't impressed. In a Test with no time limit, he thought England should have gone for the 1000. Instead, that 903 was a Test record until Sri Lanka amassed 952 for 6 against India in 1997-98.

1972
Birth of an England batsman who was the son of another. Mark Butcher's father Alan played in one Test, against India at The Oval in 1979. His son Mark played in rather more, scoring centuries against South Africa in 1998 and in Australia the following winter. He was England's best batsman in the 2001 Ashes series, his several good scores culminating in 173 not out, his highest Test score, which gave England an unlikely, restorative win at Headingley. After that he reinvented himself as a sober, secure No. 3, but was hindered by a wrist injury sustained in the summer of 2005. There was also a long-standing knee-problem that forced him to finally call time on a 19-year first-class career in 2009.

2009
England, led by Andrew Strauss, beat Australia in four days at The Oval and regained the Ashes by winning the series 2-1. The 197-run defeat meant that Ricky Ponting became the first Australian captain since Billy Murdoch in 1890 to lose the Ashes twice in England.

1974
Another Test double-century in England for Zaheer Abbas. Strangely enough, his 240 at The Oval was his first Test ton since his equally epic 274 at Edgbaston in 1971. England had less trouble drawing the match this time.

1963
Slow left-armer Richard Illingworth was born. No great terror to Test batsmen, he nevertheless wrote his line in the record books with his very first ball, against West Indies at Trent Bridge in 1991. Phil Simmons jammed it into the ground, it skidded back and hit the stumps - and Illingworth was the first England bowler to take a wicket with his opening delivery in Tests since Dick Howorth in 1947. Illingworth took only another 19 Test wickets, conceding just 2.48 runs an over.

1911
Kent wicketkeeper Fred Huish set a first-class record that still stands, by making his ninth stumping of the match against Surrey at The Oval.

1993
A Test match special. The last day behind the microphone for Brian Johnston. England rewarded his longevity by beating Australia by 161 runs, ending a sequence of 10 matches without a win. Johnners died the following winter.

Other birthdays
1909 Syd Buller (English Test umpire)
1921 Cecil "Sam" Cook (England)
1930 Jack Bannister (England)
1967 Richard Petrie (New Zealand)
1973 Kerry Walmsley (New Zealand)

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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