|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Fantasy||Mobile|
A first-class century in 34 balls
The fastest-recorded authentic century in first-class history. There were no joke bowlers on show when David Hookes smashed 100 from just 34 balls for South Australia against Victoria in Adelaide. A stingy declaration left SA needing 270 off 30 overs, and Hookes took out his frustration by hitting most of the 128 that came from the first 10 overs. But his dismissal for 107 (made in only 55 minutes) ended South Australia's hopes of victory. It's enough to make you wonder why Hookes didn't play more than 23 Tests at a time when Australia weren't exactly top of the tree.
A sensational performance from Aaqib Javed gave Pakistan victory by 72 runs against India in the Wills Trophy final in Sharjah. Aaqib took 7 for 37 - the best figures in one-day international history until Muttiah Muralitharan grabbed 7 for 30 in 2000 - including a hat-trick of lbws (Ravi Shastri, Mohammad Azharuddin and Sachin Tendulkar) in his third over. A match-winning total of 262 for 6 had been set up by Zahid Fazal, who had to retire with cramp on 98. A cruel blow this: in nine Tests and 19 one-dayers, it was the closest Fazal got to a century for his country.
Birth of Peter Loader, who, with Alec Bedser, was the spearhead of the great Surrey side of the 1950s. He was genuinely quick and his 1326 first-class wickets came at a cost of less than 20 apiece. He was good enough to play 13 Tests too, and was probably unlucky not to play more, although there were occasional murmurs about his bowling action. At Headingley in 1957 he took the first post-war Test hat-trick, and the first by an Englishman at home since 1899, as West Indies were hammered by an innings. When he finished with Surrey, Loader emigrated to Australia in 1963.
Birth of the New Zealand offspinner Dipak Patel, who was born in Kenya and came close on more than one occasion to being picked by England during his time with Worcestershire. He is best remembered for his part in the 1992 World Cup, when he opened the bowling as an antidote to the emergent culture of pinch-hitting. The tactic was so unusual as to confound most sides - only in the semi-final, when New Zealand lost to Pakistan, did a side get after him. At Test level Patel never quite fulfilled his potential with bat or ball. The closest he came to a Test ton was a glistening 99 against England in Christchurch in 1991-92, when he paid the price for taking a third run to the lumbering Derek Pringle.
Russel Arnold, who was born on this day, started his international career as opener for Sri Lanka. A steady beginning to his Test career eventually led to the highlight of a maiden century against Pakistan in the Asian Test Championship in 1999. However, Arnold faced competition for the opening slot from Marvan Atapattu, to whom he lost his place at the top of the order. Consistency remained a problem and Arnold often found himself having to adapt to different positions in the batting line-up. He proved a more reliable ODI player, with a sound ability to work the ball around and open up at the death. He finished with a healthy average of 35.26 and made his last international appearance in Barbados in the World Cup final in 2007, taking up commentary duties thereafter.
Daryll Cullinan stroked a chanceless unbeaten 337 for Transvaal in their Castle Currie Cup match against Northern Transvaal in Johannesburg, the highest first-class score in South Africa a the time. It confirmed the potential of a man labelled "the new Graeme Pollock" as a schoolboy, but Cullinan's penchant for record-breaking innings - he also set a record Test score by a South African (275, since surpassed by Graeme Smith and AB de Villiers) - was a bit of a millstone round his neck. A Test average of 44 would be good enough for most mortals, but some observers still think Cullinan underachieved.
Birth of the ultimate jack of all trades. Alan "AC" Smith was a very handy wicketkeeper-batsman for Warwickshire and England who also took 131 first-class wickets with his bandy-legged medium-pacers. Against Essex at Clacton in 1965 he took off his pads and claimed a hat-trick in a spell of 4 for 0 in 34 balls. He played six Tests, all in 1962-63, and added an English-record 163 for the ninth wicket with Colin Cowdrey in Wellington. He later served a number of prominent roles in the game, most famously as chief executive of the TCCB. At various stages he has also been a director of Aston Villa football club, a Test selector, manager of England's tours of West Indies in 1980-81 and New Zealand in 1983-84, secretary of Warwickshire and an ICC match referee.
England were mugged in Kanpur, where an astounding innings from India's Chetan Sharma sent them to their first defeat of the Nehru Cup. Normally a tailender, Sharma was promoted to No. 4 to inject some momentum into India's innings, and he slogged his way to an unbeaten 101 off only 96 balls. It helped India overhaul England's 255 for 7 with six wickets and 11 balls to spare, although had Robin Smith caught Sharma when he only had 3, it could have been a different story. It was a startling performance and entirely out of character: in his other 64 one-dayers, Sharma only once passed 25.
Ron Archer, born today, managed to play 19 Tests for Australia before a knee injury ended his career. A genuine allrounder with flair and occasional flamboyance, he swung the ball both ways. One of his best spells came at Headingley in 1956 when he dismissed Colin Cowdrey, Alan Oakman and Peter Richardson for three runs on his way to 3 for 68 from 50 overs. He was expected to succeed Ian Johnson as captain but Archer's international career was over after his spike got caught in a matting wicket in Karachi and did his knee in. After retirement, he served as an ICC match referee and a Cricket Australia code of behaviour commissioner.
Less than a month after the end of their miserable tour of England, where they failed to win a single international match, India hosted the same opponents for a five-match one-day series. It healed some of the wounds of that tour when they swept the series 5-0, with no match being a close contest. Virat Kohli starred with a hundred in the chase in Mohali and an unbeaten half-century in Mumbai. England haven't won a one-day series in India since 1984.
1927 Headley Keith (South Africa)
1933 Roy Swetman (England)
1953 Les Taylor (England)
1967 Mazhar Hussain (UAE)
1976 Moniruzzaman (Bangladesh)
1978 Peter Ingram (New Zealand)
1980 Prabath Nissanka (Sri Lanka)
1987 Umesh Yadav (India)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Ian Chappell: It's clear that for the ICC votes mean more than results
Tony Cozier: While the 375 had a sense of inevitability to it, the 400 came amid a backdrop of strikes and the threat of a whitewash
Rewind: Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it
Review: Gideon Haigh comes out with another set of essays that sound uncannily prescient about the way the game is headed
Nicholas Hogg: Bat-making as a craft has undergone revolutionary changes and then some since the days of Hambledon
ESPNcricinfo picks five players for whom this IPL is of bigger significance
The Plays of the day from the match between Kolkata and Mumbai, in Abu Dhabi
The Plays of the day from the match between Chennai and Punjab in Abu Dhabi
Having the top Associate team play the lowest-ranked Test side without the threat of relegation shows how votes mean more to the ICC than results
Two talented young West Indies batsmen, full of promise when they arrived on the scene, are in danger of falling by the wayside
A coach and former first-class cricketer outlines his vision for how to turn the game around in the UK