Happy birthday, Courtney
Birth of the most durable bowler of all. Courtney Walsh started off doing the donkey work for more naturally gifted practitioners like Malcolm Marshall and Curtly Ambrose, but through skill, cunning and an unparalleled appetite for hard work, he became the top man (his first 63 Tests yielded five five-fors, his last 69 brought a further 17) and the first bowler to take 500 Test wickets. His career had plenty of highlights: sealing the famous one-run victory with a snorter to Craig McDermott in Adelaide in 1992-93; that frightening spell to Mike Atherton in Jamaica in 1993-94; almost single-handedly keeping West Indies' unbeaten run alive in India a year later in the absence of Curtly Ambrose; 13 for 55 in Wellington the same winter; his delirious celebration when he hoodwinked Graham Thorpe with a slower ball at Old Trafford in 2000... and the historic 500th wicket, Jacques Kallis trapped in front second ball in Trinidad in 2001. A thoroughly decent, hugely popular man, Walsh also gave outstanding service to Gloucestershire between 1985 and 1998.
A sumptuous display of strokeplay from Majid Khan illuminated the first day of the third Test between Pakistan and New Zealand in Karachi. He hammered a century off only 74 balls to become only the fourth man to make a hundred before lunch on the first day of a Test, and the first non-Australian to do so after Victor Trumper, Charles Macartney and Don Bradman.
Some fishy goings-on in Kanpur, where West Indies beat India by 46 runs in the Wills World Series match. India's sixth-wicket pair of Manoj Prabhakar and Nayan Mongia came together with 63 needed off 54 balls - hardly on a par with scaling Everest - but they didn't even bother going for the runs. Only 16 came from those nine overs, and though Prabhakar completed an unbeaten century, he and Mongia were dropped for the rest of the tournament. Raman Subba Row, the match referee, docked India two points (it was suspected that they wanted to meet West Indies and not New Zealand in the final) but the ICC annulled that decision. India did go on to play West Indies in the final, and duly hammered them by 72 runs in Calcutta.
A marathon innings from Imtiaz Ahmed took the second Test away from New Zealand in Lahore. He took 680 minutes to compile 209, the first Test double-century by a wicketkeeper and also the first for Pakistan. With his side in trouble on 111 for 6, still 237 behind, Imtiaz added a Pakistan-record 308 for the seventh wicket with Waqar Hassan, who made 189. From there Pakistan were always in control, and they eventually squeezed home by four wickets to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.
Mike Veletta, who was born today, is unlikely to figure in any Australian cricket Hall of Fame, but he did play a pivotal role in their seminal 1987 World Cup win in Calcutta. In the final against England he slammed 45 off only 31 balls, an innings that was ultimately decisive as Australia squeezed home by only seven runs. Such chicanery was slightly out of character for Veletta, the man with eyes like Errol Flynn's. He was ordinarily a dogged opener for Western Australia, and in the 1986-87 Sheffield Shield final he took them to victory with a 762-minute 266. He also had three opening partnerships of more than 300 with Geoff Marsh for WA, but at the top level Veletta never really cracked it. In eight Tests he got a number of starts but failed to reach 50 and ended with an average of 18.
England sealed their place in the semi-final of the World Cup with a routine victory over Sri Lanka in Pune. Roy Dias (80) powered Sri Lanka to 218 for 7, but the opening pair of Graham Gooch and Tim Robinson warded off any jitters with a partnership of 123, and an eight-wicket win was completed by Bill Athey and Mike Gatting with almost nine overs to spare. It was the fourth time in as many World Cups that England had reached the last four, but they failed to go all the way in any of them.
Allrounder Dimitri Mascarenhas, born on this day to Sri Lankan parents, grew up in Perth before moving to England in 1996 and starting a successful career with Hampshire. He scored his first century at the Rose Bowl, against Worcestershire in 2001, and also took the first hat-trick recorded in T20 cricket, in his 5 for 14 against Sussex at Hove in 2004. His England call-up came in 2007, and three months later he was picked for the World Twenty20. His reputation as a valuable short-format player was further cemented when he became the first England cricketer to be signed in the IPL, in 2009. Injury in 2010 kept him out for nearly two English seasons, though he led Hampshire to the Friends t20 title in 2012.
Bangladesh opener Junaid Siddique, born today, hadn't yet turned 20 when he got his international call-up, for the 2007 World Twenty20. He made a half-century on debut, against Pakistan, and three months later found himself on the tour to New Zealand, where he scored another fifty on Test debut. When New Zealand toured Bangladesh in 2008, Junaid's 85 helped the home side get their first one-day win over the visitors. But while he often got good starts, he failed to convert them and was dropped soon after the 2011 World Cup.