England's greatest allrounder
Birth of the man Neville Cardus described as "Yorkshire cricket personified". Wilfred Rhodes was arguably England's best-ever allrounder, a fine strokemaker who started his Test career at No. 11 and ended up opening the batting, and a slow left-armer so precise and cunning in flight that the great Victor Trumper once implored, "For God's sake, Wilfred, give me a minute's rest". Rhodes was the oldest man to play Test cricket (at 52 years, 165 days in West Indies in 1929-30) and the only man to have a Test career spanning more than 30 years (1899-1930). He took a record 4187 first-class wickets, at a cost of only 16.71 apiece. His finest Test moments came in Melbourne: in 1903-04 he took 15 for 124, and eight years later he matched Jack Hobbs run for run in an opening partnership of 323, England's highest in Ashes Tests. He lost his eyesight in later life, and died in Dorset in 1973.
For some time Matthew Hayden, who was born on this day, was seen as the Australian Graeme Hick - a destroyer on good tracks but short of that certain something at the top level. All that changed in 2001, when he cracked 549 runs in India, followed by runs galore against England and South Africa. More was to come. Against Zimbabwe in Perth, Hayden smashed 380 in quick time, breaking Brian Lara's then record of 375 in five sessions. A key part of Australia's dominance in the 2000s was the prolific partnership Hayden formed with Justin Langer at the top of the order; the pair added more than 6000 Test runs together. Three consecutive hundreds in 2007-08 pushed his century count beyond Don Bradman's, sealing his place as an all-time great. He was marginally less successful in ODIs, though he bludgeoned 659 runs in the 2007 World Cup. He announced his retirement in 2009 after a brief slump but continued playing the IPL, and replaced Allan Border as Cricket Australia board director the same year.
From the moment he faced his first ball in Test cricket, with England on an unprecedented 2 for 4 in Johannesburg in 1999-2000, Michael Vaughan, who was born today, looked the part. After his career started badly - blighted by injuries - Vaughan quickly established himself as an integral part of the England batting line-up. In 23 Tests before the start of the Ashes series in 2002-03, he averaged a healthy 47.50. He had a very successful home series against India in 2002 as an opening bat, during which he also made his career-best 197, and confirmed himself as a natural successor to Mike Atherton, whose unflappable nature he shared. In Australia on the 2002-03 tour, Vaughan averaged 63.3 and stroked three wonderful hundreds. But greater challenges lay ahead; after Nasser Hussain quit midway through the home series against South Africa, Vaughan had to rev up a demoralised team, which he did admirably to draw the series from 2-1 down heading into the final Test. His pinnacle came in 2005 when he led England to their Ashes triumph; persistent knee trouble prevented him from witnessing the savage 5-0 comeback by Australia in the subsequent 2006-07 series. He returned as Test captain, surpassing Peter May's record of 20 wins, before emotionally resigning after defeat to South Africa in 2008 and retiring from the game the following year.
A one-day thrashing. In the Champions Trophy final in Sharjah, Sri Lanka pummelled India by a staggering 245 runs, one of the biggest wins in ODI history. Sanath Jayasuriya went berserk, slamming 189 off 161 balls with 21 fours and four sixes. It equalled the second-highest individual score in a one-dayer, made by Viv Richards against England in 1984. Venkatesh Prasad took the most flak, with his seven overs disappearing for 73. As if that wasn't bad enough, India then collapsed for 54, their lowest one-day total. Only Robin Singh reached double figures, with Chaminda Vaas taking 5 for 14 and Muttiah Muralitharan 3 for 6.
Birth of the underestimated David Allen, who played 39 Tests for England in the 1960s. He was a very useful offspinner and a handy lower-order batsman with five Test fifties and a top score of 88, in Christchurch in 1965-66. He also famously played out a rampant Wes Hall's last over to secure a draw at Lord's in 1963, with Colin Cowdrey, fractured arm in plaster, looking on at the non-striker's end. With the ball Allen was consistent and steady, but he did win a couple of Test matches for his country, in Durban in 1964-65 and in Sydney a year later. He took 1209 first-class wickets, most in a 19-year career with Gloucestershire.
The attacking South African opener Adam Bacher, who was the nephew of cricket supremo Ali Bacher, was born today. He made a shaky start, in 1996-97 against India, but found form with 96 against Australia in Centurion, and in 1997-98 scored two fifties - including another 96 in Sheikhupura - in Pakistan. He continued to impress in Australia later that summer, but a poor tour of England followed and he failed in subsequent outings against West Indies and Zimbabwe. After nearly seven years in the wilderness he was picked for an ODI against England in 2004-05, but the disappointing series against Zimbabwe that followed was to be his last.
It was a sign of the fearsome strength in depth of Australian cricket that Greg Blewett, who was born today, and who would breeze into any other team in the world, spent his last few years in first-class cricket nowhere near his country's Test side. He made three sumptuous hundreds in his first three Ashes Tests, but his finest hour came against South Africa in Johannesburg in 1996-97, when he and Steve Waugh batted throughout the third day for a fifth-wicket partnership of 385. So why didn't he play more than 46 Tests? Well, he struggled against spin, for a start: Mushtaq Ahmed embarrassed him in 1995-96, and even Robert Croft snared him three times in 1997. And for all the luxuriance of his better performances, Blewett only averaged an under-par 34 at Test level.
It was perhaps his reluctance to play on the sabbath that restricted Bryan Yuile, who was born today, to just 17 Tests for New Zealand. Yuile was part of the core of players who built New Zealand cricket up in the late 1960s. He scored a defiant 64 in his debut innings, coming in at No. 8 against England in Auckland. That was to be his highest Test score and his only fifty. He was a handy bowler as well, picking up 34 wickets with his left-arm spin at 35.67 - his best match haul of 6 for 112 came against Pakistan in a drawn Test in Christchurch.
The first 199 in Test history. Mudassar Nazar fell at the final hurdle when he was caught behind off Shivlal Yadav in the second Test between Pakistan and India in Faisalabad. It was a fad that soon caught on: Mohammad Azharuddin, Matthew Elliott, Sanath Jayasuriya, Steve Waugh, Andy Flower Younis Khan and Ian Bell have all since made 199 in a Test - but of the seven, only Elliott (at Headingley in 1997) has been on the winning side. This one ended in a draw: Mudassar added 250 for the second wicket with Qasim Omar, who went on to grind out 210 in 685 minutes.