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July 27 down the years

A true competitor

Captain Grumpy is born

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In 15 years, Border turned Australia into a gang of world beaters
In 15 years, Border turned Australia into a gang of world beaters © Getty Images
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1955
That great competitor Allan Border was born. First selected for Australia during the upheaval of World Series Cricket in 1978, Border swiftly became the rock of Australia's batting, and the captain who turned their fortunes round. He was a reluctant leader at first - the original Captain Grumpy - and little wonder, as Australia stumbled from one humiliation to another, including back-to-back series defeats against New Zealand in 1985-86. But Border himself never flinched. Arguably his finest hour as a batsman came against West Indies in 1983-84, when his innings of 98 and 100 - both not out - single-handedly saved the Trinidad Test, but it was the World Cup victory late in 1987 and the Ashes victory of 1989 that confirmed his status as a leader, and set Australia on the path towards world domination. In a 15-year career, he set world records for most Tests (156), Test runs (11,174), Test catches (also 156), consecutive Tests (a remarkable 153) and Tests as captain (93).

1990
Graham Gooch attains greatness at last. At the end of the 1980s, Gooch's Test record was something of a curate's egg - his average of 36.90, with eight hundreds from 73 Tests, did not do him justice. But in 1990, galvanised by his appointment as captain, he embarked on a transformation. In a golden summer in Test and county cricket, Gooch helped himself to 1058 runs in six Tests. Almost half of these - 456 - came in one match, against India at Lord's, including, on this day, his career-best score of 333. It was a match sent from the gods, studded with performances of breathtaking brilliance: Mohammad Azharuddin's lordly 121, Kapil Dev's four consecutive sixes to save the follow-on, Sachin Tendulkar's one-handed running catch to dismiss Allan Lamb... But Gooch's achievement topped the lot. In the second innings he added a second century - 123 - to become the only player to score a triple-century and a century in the same first-class match. England won by 247 runs.

1969
That great fielder Jonty Rhodes was born. Rhodes was 22 years old when he made his debut for South Africa in the 1992 World Cup, and immediately made his mark with his electric work in the covers. His full-length dive to run out Inzamam-ul-Haq in the group match in Brisbane was reproduced on billboards throughout South Africa, though his trademark is the gravity-defying catch. Rhodes also scored three Test centuries for South Africa, the last against West Indies in 1998-99. A committed Christian and family man, Rhodes was an early casualty of the international fixture pile-up: he retired from Test matches in 2000 to concentrate solely on one-day cricket, and retired from that form after pulling out injured during the 2003 World Cup.

1976
West Indies retained the Wisden Trophy with a 55-run victory at Headingley. England needed 260, but from 140 for 4 they faded away. Still there at the bitter end, with 76 not out to add to his first-innings 116, was their captain Tony Greig, still living the dream of making West Indies grovel. Instead it was England who were pleading for mercy, and they would not beat West Indies in a Test anywhere for another 14 years.

1915
Australian "mystery spinner" Jack Iverson was born. By gripping the ball between his thumb and a bent middle finger, Iverson was able to launch the ball in springboard fashion at the unsuspecting batsman. He caused a sensation in his only Test series, taking 21 wickets in 1950-51, including 6 for 27 in the third Test in Sydney, to help Australia retain the Ashes. Although a formidable bowler for years afterwards, he never put himself forward for Test selection again.

1969
One-day perfection. Playing for Somerset against Essex in Yeovil, in a John Player's County League fixture, Brian Langford returned figures of 8-8-0-0. It is a record unlikely to be bettered, coming as it did in the days when batsmen approached the one-day game in much the same way they treated county matches, dealing with each ball on its merits.

1948
Don Bradman's 29th and last Test hundred. Chasing a record 404 in the fourth Test at Headingley, Bradman's unbeaten 173, in partnership with Arthur Morris, who made 182, enabled Australia to canter home by seven wickets. They were also the last of the 6996 runs the Don would score in Test cricket.

1936
Between them, England and India scored 588 runs in the day at Old Trafford, still a Test record. The bulk of these - 398 - were scored by England, including 94 for Joe Hardstaff Jr and a pair of cameos from Walter Robins and Hedley Verity, whose 66 not out was his Test-best. But Mushtaq Ali and Vijay Merchant replied in kind, reaching 190 for 0 at the close.

1974
A then world-record stand of 465 between Rohan Kanhai and John Jameson for Warwickshire against Gloucestershire was started and finished on the same day.

1959
Oxford University student Abbas Ali Baig scored 112 at Old Trafford on his Test debut for India after replacing the injured Vijay Manjrekar in the side. At 20 years, 131 days, he was then the youngest Indian to get a hundred on debut, and the first to achieve it an overseas Test. However, it was also his last. Baig played only nine more Tests.

1990
Feeding on some deliberately tame bowling, Tom Moody scored a century in 26 minutes for Warwickshire against Glamorgan in a county game in Swansea.

1981
Collins Obuya, born today, hit the headlines as a legspinning allrounder in the 2003 World Cup during Kenya's astonishing march to the semi-finals, where he picked up 13 wickets at 28.76, including 5 for 24 in the victory over Sri Lanka. That won him a contract with Warwickshire, but he failed to make an impression there. He missed his next chance on the big stage when appendicitis ruled him out of the 2004 Champions Trophy, and he then joined the players' strike that followed. Obuya reinvented himself as a top-order batsman and returned to international cricket, and he was Kenya's leading run-getter in the 2011 World Cup, an otherwise miserable tournament for his side. Obuya was made Kenya captain in place of Jimmy Kamande afterwards.

1899
Left-arm swing and spin bowler Percy Hornibrook was born. He didn't play for Australia until he was 29, but quickly made up for lost time, taking 7 for 92 at The Oval in 1930. It won Australia the Ashes after England had made 405 in the first innings. However, that was his last Test as he announced his retirement from first-class cricket at the end of the tour.

Other birthdays
1933 Roger Harris (New Zealand)
1963 Naved Anjum (Pakistan)
1967 Neil Smith (England)
1985 Ajmal Shahzad (England)

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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