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January 20 down the years

Frog in a blender

Paul Adams is born, and three in three for an Englishman for the first time

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Paul Adams: came out arms and legs flailing
Paul Adams: came out arms and legs flailing © Getty Images

Birth of the unorthodox South African spinner Paul Adams (and he probably came out with his limbs flailing all over the place). He was famously described as having an action like "a frog in a blender" after he bamboozled England in a tour match in 1995-96, and soon became South Africa's youngest Test cricketer. But the Aussies neutralised him a year later and he never really recovered. A realisation that underneath his unconventional action was a bowler with little variety meant a marked decrease in his effectiveness, even on helpful wickets. He retired from first-class cricket in 2008 and moved into coaching.

The first Test hat-trick by an Englishman. Round-arm offspinner Billy Bates was the man, dismissing Australia's Percy McDonnell and the two Georges, Giffen and Bonnor, with consecutive deliveries. England went on to win the match, at the MCG, by an innings and 27 runs, the first innings victory in a Test. They had Bates to thank: he took seven wickets in each innings, and had the remarkable match figures of 59.2-28-102-14, seven of which were out bowled.

A monumental effort from Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev gave India their first series victory over Pakistan for 27 years. In the fifth Test in Madras, Gavaskar batted seven minutes short of 10 hours for 166, while Kapil added a thumping 84 to match figures of 11 for 136. India romped home by 10 wickets to take an unassailable 2-0 lead with one to play.

The Test debut of one Michael John Procter. He soon found his range too, taking 3 for 27 and 4 for 71 as South Africa comfortably won the third Test against Australia in Durban by eight wickets. But the political situation in South Africa restricted him to seven caps, in which time he amassed 41 wickets at a sensational average of 15.02. He went on to have a long, successful career with Gloucestershire, and ended with 1417 first-class wickets at an average of 19.

Birth of the first Grenadian to play Test cricket. Junior Murray was better than most of the would-be successors to Jeff Dujon, especially with the bat - he once hit an 88-ball Test hundred, against New Zealand in Wellington in 1994-95, and was picked without the gloves as a Test opener - but he only played two Tests for West Indies, against India in 2002, after Ridley Jacobs took over the wicketkeeping duties with such success in South Africa in 1998-99.

Birth of a rare breed - a Scottish legspinner. Ian Peebles was born in Aberdeen but played for Oxford University, Middlesex, and then for England in 13 Tests between 1927 and 1931. He famously dismissed Don Bradman for 14 at Old Trafford in 1930 after giving him what the Wisden Almanack described as "a most unhappy experience". Peebles later became cricket correspondent of the Sunday Times, before he died in Buckinghamshire in 1980.

Pakistan made 302 - the fastest chase of a 300-plus total - in 57.3 overs to win the Sharjah Test and draw the series 1-1 with Sri Lanka, who, in trying to protect their series lead, played out the first four days and a session of the fifth at a crawl (they scored 19 runs in the final 16. 4 overs of their second innings). Azhar Ali and Sarfraz Ahmed injected urgency into the proceedings on day five, aided by Misbah-ul-Haq, as Pakistan stormed along at 5.25 an over. Sri Lanka had won the second Test, in Dubai, comprehensively by nine wickets, bowling Pakistan out cheaply for 165 in the first innings.

Other birthdays
1911 Cyril Merry (West Indies)
1973 Leonie Hoitink (Netherlands)

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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