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February 29 down the years

A Kenyan World Cup victory

When the first-timers dismissed West Indies for 93

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Brian Lara walks back after being dismissed for 8
Brian Lara walks back after being dismissed for 8 © Associated Press

Kenya, playing their first World Cup, pulled off one of the greatest upsets of them all when they bowled West Indies out for 93 in in Pune. And it wasn't some strike-affected West Indies line-up either. Brian Lara, Shivanrine Chanderpaul, Richie Richardson and Jimmy Adams all contributed to the total, such as it was. No one would have given Kenya any chance of winning the match, even after they staged a recovery from 81 for 6 to 166, but things began to look distinctly rosy for them when Lara fell, caught by Kenya's portly and mostly incompetent keeper, Tariq Ali. From 33 for 3 West Indies slipped to 65 for 6 and eventually to their then second-lowest total. However, West Indies went on to the semi-finals of the World Cup, where they lost to Australia. Kenya finished bottom of their group.

Mark Greatbatch marked his entry into Test cricket with a second-innings century in a match Wisden called "one of the most soulless of recent history", in Auckland. England had gained a slender first-innings lead thanks to Martyn Moxon, who batted for two and a half sessions for 99. New Zealand easily overtook England but by stumps on day four they were only 132 ahead with five wickets in hand. However, Greatbatch killed any chance of an England win with his vigil, which lasted more than six hours. The pitch was so unresponsive that England's bowlers were unable to remove New Zealand's lower-order batsmen, and the Test, like the other two of the series, was drawn.

Another stodgy second-innings century on debut, this one by Younis Khan, in a far more thrilling Test, against Sri Lanka in Rawalpindi. Pakistan had still not erased the first-innings deficit when Younis came to bat at No. 7 (Waqar Younis had been sent ahead as a nightwatchman). Along with an injured Wasim Akram, he added 145 for the ninth wicket, which allowed Pakistan to set Sri Lanka a target of 220 in just over a day, which came down to 77 in the final session. The match turned once Arjuna Ranatunga was forced to retire after being hit on the thumb, and Abdul Razzaq pegged away till Sri Lanka needed 43 with two wickets in hand; at which point Ranatunga returned to help Sri Lanka gain a 1-0 series lead.

Bowlers the world over winced when South Africa's openers Neil McKenzie and Graeme Smith reached 405 at the end of day one in Chittagong. And while McKenzie and Smith broke the record for the highest first-wicket partnership the next day with 415, they put paid to other records on day one, among which were the most runs scored in a day and most double-hundreds by a South African (it was Smith's fourth). Bangladesh inevitably followed on and lost by an innings and 205 runs.

Alf Gover, possibly the greatest cricket coach of all time, was born in Surrey. His cricket school in south London offered tips to both schoolboys starting out and established names seeking mid-career help - Sunil Gavaskar and Viv Richards had spells there. Gover's first-class career for Surrey lasted half as long as his coaching career did, but as a fast bowler with an unusual action he took over 1500 wickets. He also played four Tests between 1936 and 1946. Gover died at the age of 93, at which time he was the oldest living Test cricketer.

Other birthdays
1832 Arthur Faber (England)
1876 George Pepall (England)
1932 Gavin Stevens (Australia)
1948 Vishwas Gore (India)
1913 Malcolm Thompson (Australia)
1960 Kevin Pearce (Australia)
1968 Hamish Kember (New Zealand)
1972 Lesroy Irish (West Indies)
1980 Daminda Ranaweera (Sri Lanka)

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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