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Australia's captain breaks down after losing to West Indies yet again
The day Kim Hughes resigned the Australia captaincy in floods of tears at a news conference after West Indies pummelled Australia by eight wickets in the second Test in Brisbane. Hughes was a broken man, having won only four games in 28 as captain, but in reality there was no shame in losing to this lot - this was West Indies' 10th consecutive Test victory. Hughes played in the next two Tests but made only two runs in four innings. He was only 30, but these were his last Test appearances - he burned his bridges by taking a rebel side to South Africa.
When R Ashwin was caught short trying to take a second run off the final ball of the Mumbai Test, it was only the second time a Test had been drawn with the scores level. Though a draw had looked likely right from day one, when West Indies lost only two wickets on a flat pitch, things changed dramatically on the final day: by tea India needed 94 at under five an over, and even after the departures of VVS Laxman and MS Dhoni, they looked on course to complete the 3-0 whitewash. With two overs to go they needed six when Ishant Sharma lost his leg stump. In walked the nervous No. 10, debutant Varun Aaron, to face the last over with India needing three. He got a single off the fourth ball, but Ashwin, who had scored a century in the first innings, only managed an inside edge onto his pad off the fifth, and though he smashed the final ball to long-on, two runs were never on the cards.
A year later, India were embarrassed at the same venue. After England lost the first Test by nine wickets, they corrected their error of going with just one spinner and picked Monty Panesar to partner Graeme Swann in Mumbai, where they had famously won in 2006. Panesar and Swann took 19 wickets as England humiliated India on a track made to favour the hosts. India's three spinners managed nine between them. Kevin Pietersen made a spectacular 186, and Alastair Cook, his second hundred of the series, and they were the only England batsmen to get big runs in the first innings (the next-best England score was 29). Cheteshwar Pujara continued to impress, following up his double-hundred in Ahmedabad with another century here. In 2006, England had spoiled Rahul Dravid's 100th Test party. In 2012, it was Virender Sehwag's 100th that was to be remembered as an ignominious loss.
Another South African debutant batsman announced himself to the world in a Test in Australia. JP Duminy had done so in a famous victory in Perth in 2008-09, but Faf du Plessis' match-saving hundred in Adelaide was an innings of equally great significance, as it kept South Africa in the hunt in the three-Test series. Du Plessis, a replacement for the injured Duminy, batted more than seven and a half hours across days four and five, steadily losing partners while also struggling with cramps, and was there at the other end when No. 10 Morne Morkel played the final ball of the Test from an exhausted Peter Siddle. Du Plessis had already scored a half-century in the first innings but South Africa conceded a lead of 162 in the face of Australia's 550: Michael Clarke scored his second double-hundred of the series and a record fourth for the calendar year, and 482 runs of Australia's total came on day one.
A tragic day in Nagpur, where the wall of a newly built stand extension collapsed during the lunch break of the fifth one-dayer between India and New Zealand. Nine people were killed and many more were seriously injured. Some youngsters fell 70 feet to their deaths. The players were not told of the catastrophe and the organisers, fearing a riot, carried on with the game. New Zealand won it after creaming 348 for 8 in 50 overs, their highest ODI total at the time.
A dreadful start to what turned out to be one of England's best Ashes tours. In Brisbane, Len Hutton won the toss and became only the second England captain to insert Australia in Australia. England, who had lost a sunburnt Godfrey Evans on the eve of the match, suffered a further blow when Denis Compton broke his hand running into the fence on the first morning. Twelve dropped catches later, Australia declared on 601 for 8, going on to win by an innings and 154 runs. England, spearheaded by Frank Tyson, came back to win the series 3-1.
Ridley Jacobs, who was born today in Antigua, was West Indies' first post-Dujon wicketkeeper-batsman worthy of the name. He made his Test debut on his 31st birthday, in South Africa in 1998-99, and was a regular member of the team for the next five years. His keeping wasn't always up to the mark - the nickname "Iron Gloves" dogged him for a long time - but he was a very dangerous lower-order biffer. Better still, Jacobs had a real appetite for taking on the big boys: 10 of his 14 Test fifties, as well as two of his three hundreds, came against South Africa, India and Australia. His form started to fall away rather rapidly in England in 2004, and he was dropped before the end of the tour.
A seminal day in Brisbane. When Australia dethroned West Indies in 1994-95 it could have been a fluke, but the ease with which they beat them in the first Test confirmed that world cricket's order had changed for good. Ian Healy was at his irksome best, slapping 206 runs in the match without being dismissed, and his first-innings 161 was, at the time, the highest score by an Australian wicketkeeper. Mark Taylor copped some flak for not enforcing the follow-on but he was vindicated on the final day when a fit-again Shane Warne and Michael Bevan spun West Indies to a 123-run defeat.
The end of an era: the 17 first-class counties decided to abolish the distinction between amateur and professional cricketers.
A rare moment in the sun for Australia, who won their only Test in 20 between 1985 and 1987 when they beat New Zealand by four wickets to square the series in the second Test in Sydney. On a typical slow turner Allan Border seemed to have blundered by putting the Kiwis in, particularly when John Bracewell and Stephen Boock thrashed 124 for the 10th wicket. But after Bob Holland - who earlier made a fifth successive duck - Greg Matthews and Ray Bright shared nine second-innings wickets, the Aussies were left chasing 260 to win. Heavy rain took the devil out of the pitch, and in the end they got there fairly comfortably, with David Boon (81) making the highest score of his fledgling nine-Test career.
Only seven Tests for Indian offspinner Jasubhai Patel, who was born today, but one of them he will never forget. In the second Test against Australia in Kanpur in 1959-60, Patel took 9 for 69 and 5 for 55 as the Aussies slipped to defeat. But amazingly Patel only played two more Tests in that series before being put out to pasture. He died in Ahmedabad in 1992.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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