Pakistan's crisis man
Birth of Pakistan's highest run-getter. Younis Khan took that title from Javed Miandad in 2015, against England in Abu Dhabi. He started with a century on Test debut in 2000, but it was only four years later that he cemented his spot as a resolute batsman at No. 3. He was particularly prolific against India, averaging nearly 90, and scoring four big hundreds, including a double, in consecutive Test matches against them. In 2009, Younis became the third Pakistan batsman to make a triple-century, against Sri Lanka in Karachi. Four months later he led Pakistan to the World T20 title in the middle of a short, controversy-filled reign as captain. In March 2010 he was banned by the Pakistan board for causing infighting within the team, but the ban was soon reversed and he returned to international cricket later that year. In 2014 he struck a purple patch with five hundreds in five Tests; he also became the country's highest century-maker. He was dropped from the one-day side after an ordinary World Cup in 2015, and when recalled in November, he played one match and retired from the format. Younis remained an integral part of Pakistan's Test batting order for another two years, making an unbeaten 171 in a record chase in Pallekele, a double-hundred at The Oval, which helped Pakistan level the series in England and rise to No. 1 in the rankings, and finally becoming the first Pakistan batsman to get to 10,000 Test runs, in his final series.
The first day-night Test was won by Australia, adding to their record of having also won the first Test, the first ODI, the first day-night ODI and the first T20. The match was played with a pink ball, in Adelaide, and was a low-scoring dogfight. By "dinner" on day three, Australia needed 76 runs with seven wickets in hand. Adam Voges fell right after the break to Trent Boult, who later dismissed Shaun Marsh and Peter Nevill in successive overs. The chase was finally completed by Nos. 8 and 9, Peter Siddle and a hobbling Mitchell Starc, who had fractured his foot. The day-night experiment was a success (even if it lasted only three days), as proved by the match crowd of 123,736 - an all-time Adelaide Oval record for a non-Ashes Test.
New Zealand's first Test win in Sri Lanka in 14 years was scripted by… seamers. Tim Southee and Trent Boult took eight and seven each respectively in a 167-run win in Colombo to square the series 1-1. There had been plenty of criticism of New Zealand's batting in the ten-wicket defeat in the first Test, and this time captain Ross Taylor stepped up with a hundred and a half-century. Kane Williamson also chipped in with a century. But things turned sour for New Zealand pretty quickly after the win. Taylor was replaced as captain in all formats by Brendon McCullum following a miscommunication with coach Mike Hesson, and decided to skip the tour to South Africa, where New Zealand were ignominiously bowled out for 45.
New Zealand's first series win against Pakistan since 1984-85 came through a dramatic win in Hamilton, where Pakistan lost nine wickets in a session. A draw had seemed likely when, on day five, chasing 369, Pakistan went to tea at 158 for 1. But after the break they lost the remaining nine wickets in 24.3 overs, the last six to the second new ball in the space of 11 overs. Tim Southee, who dismissed Pakistan's top scorer, Sami Aslam, for 91, took eight wickets in the match, while Ross Taylor ended a batting drought with 102 not out - his first 50-plus score in 12 innings.
One of the most fractious starts to an Ashes series: England thought they had Don Bradman caught at first slip when he had made a scratchy 28, only for the umpire to reprieve him. He went on to score 187 and his Test future, which had been in serious doubt, was secure. As the fielders changed over at the end of the over, Wally Hammond, the England captain, who a team-mate said was "blazingly angry", was heard to loudly pass comment: "A fine f***ing way to start a series."
New Zealand stunned South Africa with a 137-run victory in Johannesburg in the first Test between the sides since March 1964. Martin Crowe set the tempo on the first day with an uncompromising 83, his last significant Test innings, and New Zealand eventually got to 411. That was enough for a lead of 132, despite 93 from Dave Richardson, but when New Zealand slipped from 32 for 1 to 34 for 5, South Africa were back in the game. But the tailenders chipped in to set a target of 327, and the home side never really got close. They slipped to 189 all out, with left-arm spinner Matthew Hart taking the only five-for of his largely unfulfilled 14-Test career.
An iconic scoreline at the Gabba, the scene of many English Ashes massacres throughout the 1990s and 2000s. This time, however, the first sign that things would be different came on the fifth day of the first Test, when it was England who were on 517 for 1. Andrew Strauss fell for 110, but Alastair Cook (235 not out) and Jonathan Trott (135 not out) batted Australia to a standstill. The match was drawn, but the series would go to England.
Another shock New Zealand win, this time in Bombay, where they squared the series with a 136-run victory over India in the second Test. India fell apart chasing 282 to win, with John Bracewell (6 for 51) and the irresistible Richard Hadlee (4 for 39) bowling them to defeat.
Sadanand Viswanath, who was born today, emerged as the front runner to be Syed Kirmani's successor as India's wicketkeeper during the mid-1980s. Viswanath was aggressive in his approach, with a screaming appeal, and played an important role in India's victory in the World Championship of Cricket in 1985. However, his form at the international level was not consistent with his success on the domestic circuit and his career fizzled out after only three Tests and 22 ODIs.
Birth of the multi-talented Zimbabwean allrounder Craig Evans, who was also a rugby international, besides being adept at golf. He was something of a limited-overs specialist, playing only three unremarkable Tests over seven years, but made more frequent appearances in one-dayers. Some of his best performances were against Sri Lanka, including an unbeaten 96 in Colombo which helped upset the then world champions.
The end of a fascinating first Test between India and West Indies in Delhi, the narrative of which twisted and turned from the start. Winston Davis and Patrick Patterson blew the Indians away for 75, but soon West Indies were 49 for 7 themselves as Kapil Dev and Chetan Sharma struck back. Desmond Haynes lifted West Indies to a lead of 52, but when Dilip Vengsarkar made a seven-hour 102, West Indies were left with a very tricky target of 276. At 111 for 4, with Arshad Ayub finding plenty of turn, the game was up for grabs. Step forward Viv Richards, who took West Indies to a five-wicket win with a majestic, unbeaten 109, made from only 111 balls.
A Tasmanian thrashing for New Zealand, who lost the second Test against Australia in Hobart by an innings and 222 runs. Michael Slater, David Boon and Mark Waugh all made hundreds before Shane Warne and Tim May, with 16 wickets between them, spun the Kiwis to death.
Oops, he did it again. Andy Flower saved Zimbabwe's bacon after they followed on in the second Test against India in Nagpur with a mighty unbeaten 232. The innings took Flower's average above 50 for the first time. This high-scoring draw - there were 1494 runs for the loss of only 22 wickets - gave India the two-match series 1-0.
Javed Miandad became the second Pakistani after Hanif Mohammad to score two centuries in a Test match - against New Zealand in Hyderabad. He scored nearly half (104) of Pakistan's first-innings total of 230 - left-arm spinner Stephen Boock took a career-best 7 for 87. Abdul Qadir and Iqbal Qasim took eight in New Zealand's second innings to set up a target of 227. Pakistan lost two early wickets but Miandad added 212 with Mudassar Nazar and they won with a day to spare.
Nine wickets for Dennis Lillee and a ten-wicket defeat for Pakistan in Brisbane. Javed Miandad flopped - dismissed by Lillee twice - and Greg Chappell scored his fourth (and final) double-century.