Barry Richards' seven-week Test career
The start of a potentially great Test career... but one that was finished within seven weeks. Barry Richards made his debut in the first Test against Australia in Cape Town, and warmed up with 29 and 32 as an awesome South African side romped home by 170 runs. He would end with a Test average of 72.57 from just four Tests. He wasn't the only debutant to be cut off before he reached his prime: middle-order batsman Lee Irvine, wicketkeeper Dennis Gamsy and left-arm spinner Grahame Chevalier all began similarly brief Test careers in this game.
An Allan Lamb miracle. The Benson & Hedges one-day match in Sydney between England and Australia came down to this: 18 needed off the last over, three wickets left, Bruce Reid bowling to Lamb. Lamb didn't even need all six balls: he carved, chopped and smacked 2, 4, 6, 2 and 4, and England were home with one ball to spare. It was a once-in-a-lifetime-effort... except Lamb did it again, to Courtney Walsh in the World Cup nine months later.
Another miracle, this time care of the Cat. Though England forced New Zealand to follow-on, the first Test in Christchurch was going nowhere in the final session (so much so that even Robin Smith got to bowl the only four overs of his Test career). Then Phil Tufnell got to work, and New Zealand collapsed from 182 for 2. As a tense time-runs equation got tighter, Martin Crowe gambled and lost, holing out infamously to Derek Pringle (had it gone for four, the match would have been drawn) to give England victory. Tufnell ended with second-innings figures of 46.1-25-47-7, and this was his zenith - it gave him 23 wickets in three Tests, and each time he had bowled England to victory. A battle-hardened England side didn't get the credit they deserved for this one: it was only New Zealand's second home Test defeat in ten years.
The first innings victory in Tests came in the second match of the 1883-84 Ashes. England squared the series at the MCG after offspinner Billy Bates took 14 for 102 (seven in each innings) to bowl Australia out for 114 and 153 in reply to England's 294.
Birth of the man with the highest batting average in Test history. West Indian opener Andy Ganteaume played one Test - against England in Trinidad in 1947-48 - scored 112, and ended 12.06 runs per innings better off than Don Bradman. The reason he didn't play again? West Indies had a formidable batting line-up around this time: it was the era of Walcott, Worrell, Weekes, Sobers, Kanhai, Rae, Stollmeyer and Gomez.
Agonising stuff for that great Australian left-hander Clem Hill, who was dismissed in the nineties for the third consecutive innings, in the third Test against England in Adelaide. Fresh from a 99 in Melbourne and a 98 in the first innnings, he was bowled by Gilbert Jessop for 97. His innings was a match-winner, though: Australia successfully chased 315 to win by four wickets.
A first Test hundred for Wasim Akram, against Australia in Adelaide, and a blistering affair it was too. With Pakistan already 84 behind on first innings, and in disarray at 90 for 5, Akram slapped a glorious 123 in a match-saving partnership of 191 with his captain and mentor Imran Khan.
An 18-year-old called Brian Lara made his first-class debut, for Trinidad and Tobago against the Leeward Islands. He made 14 and 22, out twice to veteran left-arm spinner Elquemedo Willett, but he soon found his range: in his next match he hit 92 against a Barbados attack that included Joel Garner and Malcolm Marshall. None of his team-mates made it to 50.
Sixty-seven runs off the final five and a half overs, 57 of them elegantly dispatched by Carl Hooper, were decisive as West Indies beat India by 73 runs in Gwalior's first one-dayer. Hooper's unbeaten 113 came from just 97 balls and included 12 fours and two sixes, though he blotted his copybook a little when his two overs later disappeared for 27.
West Indies took the first title in what went on to become an annual one-day triangular tournament in Australia, with victory over England in the second final in Sydney. It was all too easy. England, with their captain Mike Brearley coming in at No. 8, managed an under-par 208 for 8, and Gordon Greenidge and Viv Richards flashed West Indies to victory.
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The Cricket Monthly July issue
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