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February 14 down the years

A Valentine's Day massacre

The day South Africa were bowled out for 30

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George Lohmann took 15 for 45 as South Africa were shown no love on Valentine's Day
George Lohmann took 15 for 45 as South Africa were shown no love on Valentine's Day © PA Photos
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1896
Not a day to spark celebrations in South Africa. Today they were bowled out for 30 by England in Port Elizabeth, their lowest score in Tests and the second-lowest by anyone. The deadly George Lohmann did the damage: having found his range with 7 for 38 in the first innings, he took a remarkable 8 for 7 here. Fittingly, he rounded off the match - which was over inside two days and 200 (five-ball) overs - with a hat-trick.

1931
A St Valentine's Day massacre. West Indies went down in two days to Australia in the fourth Test in Melbourne, bowled out for 99 and 107, with Bert Ironmonger taking 11 wickets. There was also a luscious 152 from Don Bradman to add to the 223 he made in the previous Test.

2003
Muttiah Muralitharan may be Sri Lanka's most potent bowling weapon, but when it came to collecting one-day records, Chaminda Vaas was peerless. Already the holder of the best analysis in one-day cricket, 8 for 19 against Zimbabwe, on this day he became the first bowler to take a hat-trick with the first three balls of a match, against the hapless Bangladeshis in Pietermaritzburg. He added a fourth in the same over, en route to figures of 6 for 25, and Sri Lanka won by 10 wickets with almost 30 overs to spare.

1968
The end of a Jamaican cracker. England were in control for most of the second Test, but after they made West Indies follow on for the second Test in a row, a century from Garry Sobers (who in the first innings went first ball to John Snow, for the second consecutive innings in which Snow had bowled to him) left England needing 159 to win on a tricky surface. Sobers and Lance Gibbs almost sent them to a sensational defeat, but they hung on at 68 for 8. All this on the sixth day of the match - an extra 75 minutes were played because of a bottle-throwing riot on the fourth day, precipitated by the dismissal of Basil Butcher.

1985
Eighteen-year-old Wasim Akram won a few battles with a ten-for in only his second Test, but New Zealand won the war with a tense two-wicket win in Dunedin today. It was even tighter than the scoreline suggests: Lance Cairns was hospitalised with a suspected fractured skull, and New Zealand were effectively nine down. Somehow Ewen Chatfield (Test average: 8) managed to stay with Jeremy Coney for 104 minutes - his longest first-class innings - while 50 runs were added. It was the difference between a 2-0 New Zealand win and a 1-1 draw.

1968
On Valentine's Day, a charmer and a cad was born. Described by Vic Marks as "an enigma without a variation", Chris Lewis had the greatest natural talent of all England's post-Botham wannabes, and at his best he could charm the pants off any cricket lover. But too often he'd leave his admirers in the lurch with a nothing performance when it mattered: remember that ridiculous sojourn down the track to Tim May at Lord's in 1993? Or the time he shaved his head in the Caribbean and got sunstroke? Or the puncture at The Oval in 1996 that led to him being dropped for the final time? He scored a Test hundred - made in a match that was long since lost - and did help win three Tests with the ball, but Lewis could have done so much more. He drifted out of cricket at the end of 2000. In late 2008 he found guilty of smuggling cocaine into England and was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

1996
The beginning of the sixth World Cup. They say you shouldn't peak too early in a big tournament, and England followed that maxim a bit too keenly, losing an eminently winnable match against New Zealand by 11 runs. The key moment came when Graeme Hick, who played beautifully for 85, was run out after a mix-up between his runner, Mike Atherton, and Neil Fairbrother.

1982
Sri Lanka's first victory as a Test-playing nation. Okay, it came in a one-dayer and was largely a product of English incompetence, but they all count. Chasing 216 to win, England were cruising at 203 for 5 when the last five wickets went down for nine runs, four of them run-outs. Such a show of blind panic was pretty embarrassing for England, who did not lose to Sri Lanka in a one-dayer again for 11 years.

1950
Twin hundreds for Australian opener Jack Moroney in Johannesburg, where six weeks earlier he had begun his Test career by being run out for 0. Curiously this was the only match of his seven-Test career that Australia didn't win. When they didn't win, he averaged 219; when they did, the figure was just 16.

1995
A run-feast in the Shell Trophy match in Christchuch. Canterbury (496 and 476 for 2 dec) lost to Wellington (498 for 2 dec and 475 for 4) by six wickets in a match that produced an average of 108 runs per wicket. There were seven centuries - not a great surprise when you consider that the two teams contained a nap hand of international batsmen and allrounders. Messrs Hartland, Stead, Harris, Latham, Cairns, Astle, McMillan, Priest, Germon, Twose, Crowe and Larsen all played in this match; between them they accounted for five of those hundreds.

Other birthdays
1911 Alicia Walsh (Australia)
1947 Salahauddin (Pakistan)
1962 Asim Khan (Netherlands)
1973 HD Ackerman (South Africa)

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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