Bodyline reaches the height of its powers in Adelaide
The day a cricketing drama turned into a mini-series. England's Bodyline tactics had antagonised the Australians before now, but on the second day of the third Test, in Adelaide, all hell broke loose. Bill Woodfull was struck over the heart to conclude a fearsome working-over, and then two days later Bertie Oldfield sustained a fractured skull when he missed a hook. For a while it looked like the whole tour would be called off, but order was eventually restored and England romped home by 338 runs.
Test cricket's first maximum. There had been sixes before in Tests, but all with the aid of overthrows, and Australia's Joe Darling managed the real thing when he smacked the ball out of Adelaide Oval to reach his century in the first Test against England. In those days you had to hit it out of the ground to get six - clearing the boundary was only worth five.
With Australia at 180 for 7, effectively 102, given the first-innings lead, England looked set to close the third Ashes Test in Adelaide with a 2-1 lead. That's when Clem Hill came in. Battling influenza and the heat, Hill made a splendid century. Support came from debutant Roger Hartigan and the two went on to add 243 - then the highest stand in Test cricket. At stumps both had got their hundreds and Australia were at 397 for 7. The last three wickets put on 326 - only three other teams have repeated the feat since - and Australia went on to win by 245 runs. Wisden Cricket Monthly said: "A shilling collection at the ground had raised £24 from which Hartigan was bought a gold chain and pendant; and later the Mayor of Brisbane presented him with a gold watch."
Daren Ganga, born today, had a phlegmatic approach as a Test opener but didn't get the big scores till his seventh series, in 2003, when he made back-to-back hundreds against Australia. He played a handful of Tests over the next two years, and came back in 2006, when he scored 135 in the drawn Test against India in St Kitts, and aggregated 344 in the four series. A successful tour of Pakistan followed, and then, while touring England as vice-captain, Ganga got to lead the side when Ramnaresh Sarwan was injured. Ganga led Trinidad & Tobago to the Stanford 20/20 title and then to the Champions League T20 final in 2009. When he stepped down as T&T captain in 2011 - after nine years at the helm - he was the country's most successful captain.
One of the most gripping Ranji Trophy finals in recent history was clinched by Mumbai - their 39th title - after they beat Karnataka by six runs on the fourth day in Mysore. Karnataka's opening bowlers - R Vinay Kumar and Abhimanyu Mithun - kept Mumbai to 233 but the home side was bowled out for 130 as medium-pacer Aavishkar Salvi took 5 for 31. Mithun took 6 for 71 (nine for the match) in Mumbai's second innings and Karnataka were set 338 to win. Their 20-year-old batsman Manish Pandey, already playing in the IPL, scored a 151-ball 144, but the side collapsed after he fell with 83 more required. Ajit Agarkar and Dhawal Kulkarni took the last five wickets to fall for 71 runs.
Eight years later, Mumbai couldn't repeat the feat against Gujarat, who won their first Ranji Trophy title by pulling off the highest chase in the tournament's final in a five-wicket win in Indore. Captain Parthiv Patel scored 90 and 143 and made century partnerships with Manprit Juneja in both innings. Twenty-two-year-old medium-pacer Chintan Gaja, playing in only his third first-class match, took a career-best 6 for 121. Mumbai hadn't lost a Ranji final since 1990-91.
Few England cricketers have had as much bad luck as Martin Bicknell, who was born today. His first tour was the ill-fated Ashes trip of 1990-91, his debut the Headingley bashing by Australia in 1993, after which he was plagued with injuries in the mid-90s. After that Bicknell became the most consistent bowler in county cricket, and he could bat too: in 2001 he averaged 46 with the bat, 21 with the ball; in 2000 it was 31 and 17; in 1999, 33 and 18. Bicknell was recalled for the home series against South Africa in 2003. He played the last two Tests and his 4 for 84 at The Oval helped England square the rubber at two apiece before he was pensioned off for good. He retired in 2006 with 1047 wickets for his county and 6740 runs as one of England's "nearly" men of the 1990s.
A career of many highlights for Ken Higgs, who was born today. A useful fast-medium bowler and dogged tailender who played 15 Tests, he took three first-class hat-tricks in his career, two for Lancashire and one for Leicestershire, and another in the 1974 Benson and Hedges Cup final. He also contributed 63 to a last-wicket stand of 128 with John Snow against West Indies at The Oval in 1966, when England recovered from 166 for 7 to reach 527. But he and Ray Illingworth trumped that 11 years later, when, astonishingly, they led Leicestershire from 45 for 9 to 273 all out. Higgs was run out for 98, his highest first-class score. As Leicestershire coach in 1986, he returned at the age of 49 in an injury crisis and took a five-for against Yorkshire.
An England batsman is born... in Germany. Hampshire stalwart Paul Terry, who was born in Osnabruck, was picked for two Tests against a rampant West Indies side in 1984. It was an unforgiving baptism - he failed to reach double figures in three innings and had his arm broken by a short ball from Winston Davis. Despite showing great courage in returning to the crease with his arm in a sling - allowing Allan Lamb to reach a hundred - he did not play for England again.
If you take 12 wickets on debut, including eight in the first innings, you'd expect it to be the start of a fine career. Alas, that's not how it turned out for Jason Krejza, the Australia offspinner, who was born today, and took a dozen in Nagpur. Krejza conceded more runs than anyone in their maiden Test performance, and played only one more Test - against South Africa - in which he took one wicket, before being dropped.
South Africa beat Sri Lanka by an innings and 118 runs at the Wanderers, to complete an emphatic 3-0 series whitewash. Hashim Amla, who hadn't scored a Test hundred in the last year, became the eighth batsman to get to three figures in his 100th Test, but it was JP Duminy who top-scored for the home team with a fluent 155. Sri Lanka then subsided to 131 and 177 in the face of a good showing by South Africa's all-pace attack. Angelo Mathews described it as the worst defeat of his tenure.
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The Cricket Monthly April issue
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