Glued to the wicket
Hanif Mohammad batted for 970 minutes (that's over 16 hours, or nearly 11 football matches) to save Pakistan's first Test against West Indies in Barbados. His 337 was at the time the second-highest score in Test history; it's now the eighth. It was also the longest innings in first-class history, until Rajeev Nayyar went 45 minutes better for Himachal Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy in 1999-2000. In Hanif's match, Pakistan had followed on, the small matter of 473 runs behind - they made 657 for 8 from a mere 319 overs.
If you had told a West Indian cricket fan at the height of the team's supremacy in the mid-1980s that within 15 years they would be 31 for 8 - and then 91 all out - against Zimbabwe, you'd have been accused of having one rum too many. But that's what happened in an amazing one-dayer in Sydney. West Indies needed only 139 to win but that proved beyond them: only Jimmy Adams (22) and Nixon McLean (40) reached double figures; five of the batsmen were out for 0, including Brian Lara.
More unpalatable fare, but for different reasons. Ross Emerson stirred a hornet's nest when he no-balled Muttiah Muralitharan for throwing in the World Series match against England in Adelaide. Arjuna Ranatunga led his team off the pitch for a while, and was later involved in an ugly exchange with his English counterpart Alec Stewart. Oh, and Darren Gough feigned a head-butt at Roshan Mahanama after he was obstructed. Shame about all the nonsense, as it obscured a cracking match - Graeme Hick's fine century was matched by Mahela Jayawardene's, and Sri Lanka, needing 303 to win, got home with one wicket and two balls to spare when Murali, of all people, hit the winning runs.
A world-record sixth-wicket stand of 267 was set by New Zealand in the fifth ODI against Sri Lanka in Dunedin. New Zealand were in trouble at 93 for 5 in the 20th over when Luke Ronchi joined Grant Elliott, but the did not get another wicket. The two men sent New Zealand soaring to 360, their stand coming off only 180 balls. It was also the second-highest for any wicket for New Zealand. Ronchi was the most destructive, hitting 14 fours and nine sixes in his 99-ball knock 170. Sri Lanka, in reply, managed 15 less than what the pair scored together.
Birth of the first Maori to make a Test hundred. Adam Parore made his Test debut as a 19-year-old at Edgbaston in 1990. A more-than-competent gloveman, and good enough to play 11 Tests as a specialist batsman in the Lee Germon years, he scored two Test centuries, the second in a famous eighth-wicket partnership of 253 with Nathan Astle in Perth in 2001-02, before the day-to-day grind of international cricket led to his retirement at 31.
The day Don Bradman passed 200 for the 12th and final time in Tests. His 201 and Lindsay Hassett's 198 were the cornerstones of Australia's mammoth 674 - the third-highest total in a Test in Australia - in the fourth Test against India on an Adelaide shirtfront.
Birth of South Africa's first non-white cricketer to play international cricket. Omar Henry had that honour at the World Cup in 1992, and later that same year he made his Test debut - at the age of 40 - against India in Durban. He was a fine left-arm spinner, and though his short international career was undistinguished, his first-class record (434 wickets at under 25 each) showed what might have been had he been able to play for his country in his prime.
Birth of that meaty Australian batsman Greg Ritchie, who played 30 Tests between 1982 and 1987. He could give the ball a real belt, and played some fine innings: a century in his , an important 94 in a match-winning partnership of 212 with Allan Border at Lord's in 1985, and a patient 89 in the victory over New Zealand in Sydney the following winter. But it's a measure of just how poor Australia were around this time that Ritchie was on the winning side only four times.
An Australian legspinner is born. Largely unheralded when he made his Test debut at 34, Trevor "Cracka" Hohns played a handy role in the Ashes-winning 1989 squad, chipping in with some useful wickets, notably Ian Botham's in the fourth Test, at Old Trafford, bowled for a duck as he missed a charging hoick. But ageing, innocuous spinners were ten-a-penny in Australian cricket in those days, and the selectors - whose ranks Hohns would later join - went back to the likes of Greg Matthews and the two Peters, Sleep and Taylor, before Shane Warne wobbled onto the scene a few years later.
A great display from Fanie de Villiers as South Africa stomped all over an exasperatingly listless Pakistan in a one-off Test in Johannesburg. First, he flashed 66 off 68 balls, including three sixes, from No. 10 (this in a period of eight Test innings, spread over two years, in which he averaged 90), and then he tore Pakistan apart with 6 for 81 and 4 for 27. A 324-run victory margin said it all.
A maiden Test hundred for Chris Cairns against Zimbabwe in Auckland, and he did it in style. It came off only 86 balls, and in all, his 120 included ten fours and nine sixes. Only Wasim Akram, Nathan Astle, Matthew Hayden and Wally Hammond have cleared the rope more often in a Test innings.
Asif Masood, born today, was a Pakistan right-arm fast-medium bowler, hostile with the new ball and memorable for a bizarre start to his run-up, in which he turned sideways to the wickets and leaned backwards before starting his approach. He relied mainly on varying his angle of attack and an ability to swing and seam the ball. He made his Test debut against England in 1968-69, and was a fairly permanent member of the side over the next seven years, touring England and Australia (both twice). He played 16 Tests, with a best return of 5 for 111 at Edgbaston in 1971.