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March 28 down the years

26 all out

The lowest score in Test history

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Bob Appleyard took 4 for 7 in Auckland, 1955
Bob Appleyard took 4 for 7 in Auckland, 1955 © PA Photos
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1955
The lowest score in Test history. Even in the current, skittish, shot-a-ball environment, it is hard to imagine that any team will ever get less than New Zealand's 26, made against England in Auckland in what turned out to be Len Hutton's last Test. When the Kiwis started their second innings 46 behind, an innings victory looked a ridiculous prospect. England got it, though, with Bob Appleyard taking 4 for 7 and Brian Statham 3 for 9. With 2 for 10 off seven overs, Frank Tyson was all over the place.

1981
Viv Richards marked Antigua's inaugural Test with a blistering 114 against England in his first Test innings on home territory. Viv really meant business: 90 of his runs came in boundaries, but he took a relatively sedate 306 minutes over it. England drew a rain-affected match thanks to a 20th Test hundred from Geoff Boycott: this in back-to-back West Indies series that England were pilloried for losing by a combined score of 0-3. The next three series - 0-5, 0-5, 0-4 losses - put their performance in a better light.

1968
An England captain is born. When he took the supposed worst team in the world to four successive series wins in the space of 18 months, Nasser Hussain was acclaimed as the best since Mike Brearley. His stock fell somewhat after consecutive 4-1 thrashings by Australia, and he handed in his notice after a traumatic few months in 2003, but few England captains of the modern era have been so universally respected, for their cerebral qualities on the field and their straight talking off it. Hussain was not always the impressive, mature figure he cuts today: as a feisty youngster he got on a few people's nerves, and he didn't establish himself in the England side until 1996, on the back of an eye-catching stint as England A captain in Pakistan the previous winter. A year later, on the same ground, came that famous 207 against Australia, and Hussain never looked back, except to check the state of his infamously brittle fingers. He retired from all forms of cricket in 2004, after having made an unbeaten century against New Zealand at Lord's.

1926
One of India's finest batsmen is born. Usually at No. 3 or No. 5, Polly Umrigar, a muscular cutter and driver, was a crucial player in the post-war period, and held most of the major Indian batting records before Sunil Gavaskar outstripped him in the 1980s. Umrigar had a slow start to his Test career - apart from a glorious 130 not out against England in Madras in 1951-52, India's first Test win, at the 25th attempt. He was only playing because Hemu Adhikari fell and injured his wrist just before the game. Umrigar also made three centuries in a row, against Pakistan and England, between 1960 and 1962. He was a useful medium-pacer and a fine captain, too, for India and also Bombay, whom he led to five successive Ranji Trophy titles between 1958-59 and 1962-63. He died at the age of 80 in 2006.

2011
Ricky Ponting's nine-year reign as Australia captain came to an end after the team's quarter-final exit from the 2011 World Cup. Michael Clarke took over as captain after Ponting announced he was resigning but would be available as a player. Ponting had had possibly the worst year of his career, losing the Ashes at home and then surrendering the World Cup trophy that had been in Australia's possession since 1999. He was unlucky to lose some of the greatest players in the side during his tenure - Warne and McGrath retired in 2007, Gilchrist in 2008 and Hayden in 2009 - but managed to win 48 of 77 Tests on his watch nevertheless.

1990
All sorts of frustration for England, who were denied victory in Trinidad by rain and the time-wasting tactics of stand-in West Indian captain Desmond Haynes. At one point, only 16.5 overs were bowled in 115 minutes, and England were left 31 runs short of their target. It's a near miss that still beggars belief: West Indies had not lost a Test series for ten years, England had won only one Test in 25 - and that against Sri Lanka - before this series, and yet they came within a whisker of going 2-0 up with two to play. It couldn't last, though, and with Graham Gooch out with a broken finger, West Indies stormed back to take the series 2-1.

2005
An unfancied Pakistan side pulled off a memorable victory to draw the series in Bangalore. The architect of the win was Younis Khan, who scored 267 - the highest then by a visiting batsman in India - and added 324 with Inzamam-ul-Haq (184). Virender Sehwag's double-hundred gave India some hope of holding on to the series but Danish Kaneria and Mohammad Sami triggered a collapse after Sehwag's fall. Younis got a half-century in the second innings and Pakistan managed to take all 10 wickets on the fifth day for a 168-run win.

1995
Queensland ended 68 years of hurt by finally winning their first Sheffield Shield. They thrashed South Australia by an innings at an emotional Gabba, with Allan Border making 98 in his last Shield innings. Queensland had been the bridesmaids on 14 occasions, including six final defeats since the playoff system was introduced in 1982.

1951
In Wellington, the New Zealand legspinner Alex Moir bowled two successive overs - the last before the tea interval and the first after it - in the second Test against England. It was the first such instance in Test cricket for 30 years, since Warwick Armstrong did so at Old Trafford in 1921.

1962
A devastating combination of penetration and thrift from Lance Gibbs did for India in Barbados. He wrapped up their second innings and gave West Indies an innings victory, with an amazing spell of 15.3-14-6-8. In all, his second-innings figures were 53.3-37-38-8.

1956
Birth of Asoka de Silva, a modest legspinner turned umpire. He played ten Tests for Sri Lanka, from which his bowling average was a wretched 129, but he has done much better since. He gave an impeccable performance in the third Test between Sri Lanka and England in Colombo in 2000-01 to calm nerves stretched by BC Cooray's much-criticised display in the previous match. De Silva was subsequently named in the ICC's elite umpires panel. In 2011, following a poor World Cup, he was removed from the elite panel.

1975
When he came to England as a 17-year-old with Pakistan in 1992, Ata-ur-Rehman, who was born today, looked a real prospect: whippy, skiddy and brisk. He played 13 Tests in all, but they were overshadowed by his involvement in the match-fixing scandal. Rehman was banned for life in 2000. The ban was subsequently lifted by the ICC and he was free to play from May 2007.

Other birthdays
1862 Alfred Marr (Australia)
1911 Margaret Lockwood (England)
1915 Ray Emery (New Zealand)
1919 Tom Brooks (Australia)
1941 Jack Simmons (England)
1949 Shafiq Ahmed (Pakistan)
1956 TA Sekhar (India)
1967 Louis Koen (South Africa)
1973 Andy Whittall (Zimbabwe)
1980 Victor Mpitsang (South Africa)
1980 Lara Molins (Ireland)
1982 Sarah Clarke (England)

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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