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The man with an eye for the superfluous run
Though he could look quite brilliant at times, the career of Dean Jones, who was born today, was slighted by a reputation that he had too keen an eye for the superfluous run. The selectors certainly seemed to think so when they dumped him, aged 31, for Damien Martyn ahead of the crunch West Indies series at home in 1992-93. The statistics back up the perception: apart from his unspeakably brave 210 in the tied Test in Madras in 1986-87, Jones made twn hundreds: three were against Sri Lanka - the Bangladesh of Jones' day - and four came in the final Tests of dead rubbers. And when Australia lost, Jones averaged only 17.93. Nobody could deny that Jones was one of the first great one-day batsmen, though: he was electric between the wickets, and was still averaging over 50 after 110 ODIs before he faded towards the end.
A first 4-0 series win for India, when they beat Australia in a low-scoring three-day affair on a viciously spinning track in Delhi. Cheteshwar Pujara scored twin fifties, and R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja each took five-fors. It was a forgettable first Test as captain for Shane Watson, who returned from a suspension on disciplinary grounds to replace Michael Clarke, who was out injured. The only highlight for Australia was Nathan Lyon's seven-wicket haul.
After a tenure that was undermined by a number of unforgettable collapses, it was fitting that England marked Mike Atherton's last match as regular captain by subsiding pathetically against West Indies in Antigua: seven wickets for 26 runs in 26 excruciating overs. England lost by an innings, the last act of a 1-3 defeat in a series that could, and should, have been much closer.
From the last day as England captain for Athers, to the first as Australian captain for Kim Hughes. He was only 25 when he first got the job - as cover for the injured Graham Yallop - and his courageous decision to put Pakistan in at the WACA was rewarded with victory. But it was a reign that was destined to end in tears, when Hughes blubbed his way into infamy after defeat to West Indies in 1984-85. In between times the job went back to Greg Chappell post-Packer, before Hughes began his second stint with the 1981 Ashes series.
Australia had gone 34 games without a defeat in World Cups before losing to Pakistan in Colombo. The week after, their stranglehold on the trophy was wrenched free on this day by Yuvraj Singh, assisted by Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir and Suresh Raina. Australia got themselves into an advantageous position in the quarter-final in Ahmedabad when they reached 260, thanks to Ricky Ponting's back-to-basics century. When Yuvraj came to the crease, India needed 110 off a little over 21 overs and were stuttering. They proceeded to lose another two wickets but the momentum shifted with a cracking Yuvraj boundary over point off Shaun Tait, followed by three fours - one by Raina - in the next over, off Brett Lee. India got home with more than two overs to spare in the end.
Offspinner and handy lower-order batsman Graeme Swann, who was born today, was only 20 when he made his England debut, in a one-dayer Bloemfontein in 1999-2000. A bright future seemed assured, but following a poor season in 2000 he slipped down the pecking order... before unexpectedly making it to the Test side aged 29, in 2008 against India, and impressing with 19 wickets in his second series, against West Indies. He produced four-wicket hauls in the 2009 Ashes, and took the decisive wicket of the series, that of Michael Hussey on the final day of the fifth Test. Swann also picked up nine wickets in the Durban Test later that year which took him to 54 wickets for the calendar year, the first time an England spinner had managed more than 50 in a year. His appetite for wickets didn't diminish thereafter - he took 22 wickets in four Tests against Pakistan in 2010 and 13 more against India (nine of those at The Oval) in 2011.
Bangladesh's most talented allrounder is born. A penetrative and economical left-arm spinner and an attacking, middle-order batsman, Shakib Al Hasan took the best figures in an innings by a Bangladesh bowler - 7 for 36 against New Zealand in Chittagong in 2008 - and then batted them to their first tri-series final the following year. The same year he led Bangladesh, in the absence of the injured Mashrafe Mortaza, to their first overseas Test series win - albeit against a second-string West Indies side. He scored an unbeaten 96 in Grenada and was the Man of the Series for his 13 wickets. In 2010 he made his first Test hundred, in Hamilton, and the year after that (he took 21 wickets in five Tests) Shakib became the first Bangladesh player to score a hundred and take a five-for in the same Test.
Upset by the attitude of the England players, who disputed several of his decisions during the final Test in Melbourne, umpire Jack Hodges refused to resume after tea on the third day. Tom Garrett, one of the Australian XI, took his place.
Drewy Stoddart made hay while the sun shone on an Adelaide belter, stroking 134 as England piled up 499 in the third Test against Australia. Then came a torrential downpour, which transformed the pitch into the sort of sticky wicket on which Johnny Briggs was virtually unplayable. Briggs took 12 wickets and England won by an innings and 230 runs, still their biggest win in Australia. Some consolation for a 1-2 series defeat.
The day Norman Gifford made his one-day international debut - at the age of 44. Gifford captained a motley English crew (Colin Wells, Rob Bailey and Pat Pocock also made their ODI debuts) to the Rothmans Four-Nations Cup, a mercifully brief seven-day, four-match affair. England lost both the semi-final, to Australia, and the amusingly named "consolation final", to Pakistan. Unsurprisingly Gifford did not play again.
Cuan McCarthy, born today, opened the bowling for South Africa in his 15 Tests between 1948 and 1951. He took 6 for 43 on debut against England in Durban. During Australia's 1949-50 tour of South Africa, the Age in a scouting report called him a "menace". But he finished his career with just 36 wickets at 41.94.
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