Test cricket turns 2000
The 2000th Test. Also, the 100th Test between England and India, Duncan Fletcher's 100th Test as coach, and one that bore the possibility of Sachin Tendulkar making his 100th hundred at the home of cricket. Burdened by these milestones, the Lord's Test got off to a slow start. The only drama on day one was Zaheer Khan pulling out of the attack after straining a hamstring. A weakened India struggled on day two, and watched Kevin Pietersen get his first century at home in three years, 202. Praveen Kumar joined him on the honours board with five wickets, as did Rahul Dravid, who made a fighting unbeaten hundred, which didn't help India avoid a big first-innings deficit, and an eventual loss - the first of eight defeats overseas in a row.
The beginning of England's tale of four wicketkeepers. When Richard Hadlee sent Bruce French to hospital in the first Test at Lord's, England needed a replacement keeper. Bill Athey donned the gloves for two overs, and then Bob Taylor - aged 45 and at the ground doing PR work for the sponsors Cornhill Insurance - sheepishly came onto the field and kept so impeccably that it seemed he'd never been away. The next day Hampshire's Bobby Parks stood in from after lunch, and then French resumed on the fourth day - for all of one ball, which was all it took to wrap up New Zealand's innings. Oddly, none of the four took any catches.
At Headingley, a pivotal moment in an Ashes series. With the series locked at 1-1, Australia were 50 for 3 in reply to England's 172, Matthew Elliott poked at an away swinger from Mike Smith, and edged it gently towards first slip - where Graham Thorpe dropped it. It was a dolly. Off the very next ball, Dean Headley nabbed Steve Waugh, so the Aussies might have been 50 for 5. Instead their fifth-wicket pair of Elliott and Ricky Ponting, who made his maiden Test century in his first Ashes Test, added a soul-destroying 288. Elliott, 29 when he was dropped, plunged 170 daggers into Thorpe's heart. England were pummelled by an innings - and Smith, who himself later dropped Elliott, never did take a Test wicket.
Lucky 13th for New Zealand. They had got close on a couple of occasions, not least on their previous visit in 1994, but at the 13th attempt, they won a Test at Lord's. The architects of their nine-wicket win were Chris Cairns, who took 6 for 77 to shoot England out for 186 in their first innings, and Matt Horne, whose even 100 ensured that the initiative was not lost. England, who had won an extraordinary match at Edgbaston to go 1-0 up, never recovered, and eventually succumbed 2-1. It was an inauspicious start to Nasser Hussain's tenure as captain.
Warwick Armstrong's reputation as an ogre seemed to get to the umpires on the second day of the fourth Test between England and Australia at Old Trafford. When England's captain, Lionel Tennyson, tried to declare shortly before the close of play Armstrong objected - under the laws as they stood then, because the first day had been washed out the match was classed as a two-day game and so declarations were not permissible - and a lengthy discussion ensued. When play resumed, Armstrong, who had just completed an over before the delay, bowled the next one from the other end.
The match between Lancashire and Gloucestershire was abandoned as a result of the death of Martha Grace, mother of WG and EM, who were both playing in the game. It remains the only first-class match to be abandoned for such a reason.
The hat-trick taken by fast bowler Peter Loader against West Indies at Headingley was the last by an England bowler in a Test until Dominic Cork's in 1995. Loader dismissed West Indies captain John Goddard, then bowlers Sonny Ramadhin and Roy Gilchrist, as West Indies collapsed to 142 all out. England replied with 279, which was enough to seal an innings victory and an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.
At the age of 66, the incomparable WG Grace made 69 not out for Eltham away to Grove Park, his last innings in club cricket. He died the following year.
The start of England's 500th Test (not counting the three abandoned without a ball being bowled), against Pakistan at Headingley, was marked by play being suspended for 14 minutes on the first morning after a bomb scare led to one of the stands being evacuated. The match ended in a draw.
Living up to his reputation as one of the biggest hitters in history, Gilbert Jessop scored a hundred before lunch twice in the same match, for Gloucestershire in Bradford against a Yorkshire opening attack of George Hirst and Wilfred Rhodes.
Birth of spectacled Yorkshire fast bowler Bill Bowes, who dismissed Don Bradman for a duck in the Melbourne Test of the Bodyline series. Bowes played 15 Tests in all, though that MCG match was only one of two he played outside England. He took nine in the series decider at The Oval in 1934, but Australia went on to clinch the Ashes with a 562-run win. Considering Larwood, Voce and Allen bowled faster than him, Bowes was often overlooked, and dropped for a spinner. He took 68 Test wickets at 22.
Birth of New Zealand batsman Murray Chapple, who played 14 Tests between 1953 and 1966, 11 of them against South Africa, a country he toured twice, the second time in 1961-62, as vice-captain to John Reid. Chapple was a member of the first New Zealand side to win a Test match, against West Indies in Auckland in 1955-56, and in his last Test match, against England in Christchurch 10 years later, he was New Zealand's captain. Injury forced him into retirement and he became a national selector until 1970.