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February 18 down the years

An unwanted nose job

Gatting wears one from Marshall

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Adding insult to painful injury
Adding insult to painful injury © Getty Images
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1986
The day Mike Gatting's nose went west. In the first one-day international against West Indies at Sabina Park, Gatting, sporting a helmet with no visor, wore a short one from Malcolm Marshall right on the bridge of the nose. To add insult to injury, the ball trickled onto the stumps and bowled him. Marshall later found a piece of bone embedded in the ball. It led to a famous exchange at Heathrow Airport, where a battered and bruised Gatting was asked by a journalist "where exactly on the nose" the ball had hit him. As for the match, England were never in it once Tim Robinson and David Gower went without scoring, and West Indies eased home by six wickets with 13 balls to spare.

1886
An oddball is born. The eccentric Ciss Parkin's Test career was ended when he criticised the England captain in a newspaper article, and his county career when he fell out publicly with the Lancashire committee. Parkin played once for Yorkshire before it was discovered he had been born 20 yards outside the county boundary, didn't play again until he was signed by Lancashire eight seasons later (by which time he was 28), and was 35 when he committed to full-time county cricket. An offspinner who was always experimenting, he took 32 wickets in ten Tests, and 1048 wickets at 17.58 in a six year first-class career.

1966
A curious career for Phil DeFreitas, who was born today. In his pomp, notably the home summers of 1991 and 1994, he looked irresistible, combining nip with sharp movement off the seam and in the air. One of those bowlers who seemed to beat the bat too often for it just to be bad luck, he was much less effective overseas, where he managed 56 wickets (against 84 in England), at an average of 39 (29) and with a strike rate of a wicket every 84 balls (60). For such a clean striker his batting never really developed, though nobody will ever forget his match-winning assault in Adelaide in 1994-95, nor his momentum-switching battering of Allan Donald with Darren Gough at The Oval the previous summer.

1997
A personal triumph for Mike Atherton, and a rare overseas win for England. Fourteen months on from his Johannesburg heroics he gave another remarkable display of concentration and class - but this time it was a match-winning one. England went into the third and final Test against New Zealand in Christchurch 1-0 up, and without Atherton's 94 not out and 118 they would almost certainly have lost. Instead they successfully chased 305 to win by four wickets, only the second time England had exceeded 300 in the fourth innings of a Test.

1927
Birth of Pakistan's first world-class quick bowler. Though a right-arm seamer, Fazal Mahmood was in many ways the Chaminda Vaas of his day, except he had no Murali for support, and to end with an average of 24.71 was outstanding. He was quite English in style - he was known as "the Alec Bedser of Pakistan" - and was especially deadly on matting surfaces. Fazal's most celebrated performance came at The Oval in 1954, when he took 6 for 53 and 6 for 46 in Pakistan's first win over England, a thrilling, series-squaring 24-run triumph. He bowled 28% of his Test victims, which along with an economy rate of 2.1 runs per over shows just how accurate a bowler he was.

1969
For such a magnificent player, Garry Sobers the captain made some duff decisions. He was the man who declared when England won by seven wickets in Trinidad in 1967-68, and on this day his decision to put Australia in backfired with a thumping 382-run defeat. This after the Aussies smashed 619 in the first innings. Doug Walters cracked 242 and 103, making it four hundreds in five innings, and West Indies - who went into this final Test 2-1 down in the series - were left to chase the small matter of 735 to win. Sobers made 113, but this one was beyond even him.

1996
Kenya's introduction to international cricket wasn't disastrous by minnow standards. They lost but managed to bat out 50 overs. Steve Tikolo scored 65 in their 199 against India in a World Cup match in Cuttack. Then Sachin Tendulkar and Ajay Jadeja took the game away with a 163-run opening stand - then India's highest partnership in World Cups - and India won by seven wickets. Eleven days later Kenya registered the shock of the tournament, beating West Indies by 73 runs - their only win of the tournament.

1938
Birth of that hearty allrounder Barry Knight, who played 29 Tests for England in the 1960s. He passed 50 twice in Tests and converted both into centuries: 125 against New Zealand in Auckland in 1962-63 and 127 against India in Kanpur a year later. But though Knight's average with the ball (31.75) was pretty respectable, he had a Hendrickian inability to take a five-for, managing none in 29 Tests.

1977
Test debuts for the fearsome West Indian pace duo of Joel Garner and Colin Croft against Pakistan, and though they shared 13 wickets, West Indies came perilously close to losing their first Test in Barbados for 40 years. Their last pair - Croft and Andy Roberts - survived the last 20 overs plus 15 minutes, as Imran Khan and Sarfraz Nawaz homed in for the kill.

1909
A South African Test batsman and England rugby captain is born in Cape Town. Tuppy Owen-Smith played five Tests, all in England in 1929, and made a dashing 129 from No. 7 at Headingley. He later qualified as a doctor of medicine at St Mary's Hospital in London, during which time he won 10 rugby caps for England at fullback. Owen-Smith died in Cape Town in 1990.

1960
Birth of the most toothless bowler in Test history. Sri Lankan left-arm spinner Roger Wijesuriya played four Tests between 1982 and 1986, and had a strike rate of a wicket every 586 balls. On average it took Wijesuriya 97 overs to take a wicket. In other words, if he bowled at both ends throughout a five-day Test, the opposition would be only four down at the end of the match ... and they would have scored 1355 runs.

2014
The day New Zealand cheered their first triple-centurion. Brendon McCullum brought the country to its feet with a tenacious 302 and helped his side to a hard-fought draw against India in Wellington, which gave them a series win. Having being bowled out for 192 in the first innings, New Zealand overcame a 246-run deficit to post a mammoth 680 for 8 declared in the second dig. McCullum shared a record sixth-wicket partnership with BJ Watling and then saw James Neesham reel off a century on debut from No. 8. India batted out a little over two sessions with Virat Kohli bringing up a steady century.

Other birthdays
1864 Roland Pope (Australia)
1948 Bruce Francis (Australia)
1979 Tinu Yohannan (India)

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