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February 22 down the years

Eleven smart birds

The Kiwis put one over Australia in the World Cup

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Martin Crowe cracked a century. Australia just cracked
Martin Crowe cracked a century. Australia just cracked © Getty Images

A real shock to start the World Cup, as co-hosts Australia and New Zealand met in the opening match in Auckland. No one gave the Kiwis much of a chance, but a brilliant century from eventual Man-of-the-Tournament Martin Crowe got them to 248 for 6, and then the dibbly dobblies took over. Offspinner Dipak Patel opened the bowling - a move that so stunned the Australians that he got through 10 overs for 36 - and the military-medium trio of Gavin Larsen, Chris Harris and Rod Latham strangled them with combined figures of 25.1-1-100-5. Despite a century from David Boon, the Aussies fell 37 runs short.

Birth of a scattergun fast bowler. Devon Malcolm's eight-year, 40-Test career yo-yoed wildly, but when he was hot he could destroy even the best sides. Everybody remembers the 9 for 57 that made South Africa history at The Oval in 1994, but there were many others: 19 wickets in the West Indies in 1989-90, when ditching those Clark Kent spectacles improved his radar; a roughing-up of the Australians that brought about a rare Ashes win, in 1993; and seven more wickets in a gun-barrel-straight display that produced another Ashes win, in Adelaide in 1994-95. But Malcolm's international career was virtually finished a year later, after his public spat with Ray Illingworth and a nightmare spell to Paul Adams in Cape Town.

Beginning of the "Croft-Goodall Test". It may sound like a nerd's utopia to rival Duckworth and Lewis, but in fact refers to something a little more feisty. West Indies did not take too kindly to the perceived incompetence of umpire Fred Goodall during the second Test against New Zealand in Christchurch, and refused to take the field after tea on the third day. It took lengthy negotiations during the rest day to save the match and the tour, but things got worse on the fourth day: Colin Croft, hopping mad after a flurry of no-balls, a warning for bowling bouncers and a rejected caught-behind appeal, ran straight into Goodall in his run-up.

The highest Test score by a No. 9. After Mohammad Azharuddin put New Zealand in at Eden Park today, it was all going to plan when they were 131 for 7 shortly after lunch. Enter Ian Smith to smack a sensational 173 off only 136 balls. At the close of the first day New Zealand had careered to 387 for 9. Smith's 100 came up off 95 balls, at which point all hell broke loose: 23 balls later he passed 150. Young Indian seamer Atul Wassan, who had the temerity to use the helpful early conditions to take four wickets, was slaughtered for 17 off one over and 24 off another, equalling the then Test record. His eventual figures - 16.4-1-108-4 - looked like something from the days of eight-ball overs.

The day of 68 extras - conceded by West Indies against Pakistan. It was ignominy for an esteemed sextet too: the five bowlers were Andy Roberts, Colin Croft, Joel Garner, Maurice Foster and Viv Richards; Deryck Murray was the wicketkeeper who let 40 byes go past. For the record, the breakdown was: 29 byes, 11 leg-byes and 28 no-balls.

Birth of Jack Robertson, the England opener who had the misfortune to be around in the same era as Len Hutton and Cyril Washbrook. As a result he only played 11 Tests, but in that time he made two hundreds, six fifties, and averaged 46. His second century came against New Zealand at Lord's in 1949, when he replaced the injured Washbrook. With Washbrook fit again, Robertson did not play again in the series. He continued to plunder runs for Middlesex, though, and in 1949 made 331 not out in a day against Worcestershire.

When Beefy met Sachin. Messrs Botham and Tendulkar faced off only once on the international stage, in the World Cup match in Perth today. Botham was battling to keep his waist size lower than his age (36), but he still had enough in his locker to have Tendulkar caught behind for 35. It was part of a match-winning spell of 10-0-27-2, in a cracking game that England won by nine runs. This was the seventh of 11 consecutive wins in completed ODIs for England, but they peaked too early and were caught short by Pakistan in the final.

A day for Shane Warne to forget. He was pummelled for 61 off ten overs - including 19 off his first - as Australia lost to India in a one-dayer in Dunedin. To top things off, he was later fined $500 for wearing a wristband sporting the name of an unauthorised sponsor. Everyone knows that Warne didn't enjoy Tests against India, but he didn't have much fun in one-dayers against them either: 15 wickets at 56 in 18 matches.

A medium-pace spinner is born. Long before Derek Underwood and Anil Kumble, there was Australian George "Joey" Palmer, who played 17 Tests in the 1880s. He took 76 wickets at an average of just 21, with his high point coming in 1881-82, when he took 20 wickets in consecutive Sydney Ashes Tests, both of which Australia won.

The day Mike Gatting took 6 for 26. Gatt has been accused of eating plenty of pies down the years, as well as throwing them, but on this day he sent down something a bit more testing. In the last one-dayer of the rebel tour to South Africa in Johannesburg, he ripped through a very good batting line-up (his scalps included Daryll Cullinan, Adrian Kuiper and Clive Rice) to give England their only victory of the four-match one-day series.

Birth of the Wild Thing. Shaun Tait could send the ball over 160kph, but while it made him dangerous, it also made him wayward and prone to injuries. He managed only three Tests in a six-year international career but was able to carry on in limited-overs once he quit the five-day format. He was Australia's strike bowler in the 2007 World Cup (23 wickets) and the World Twenty20 (nine wickets) in 2010, but the pressure of the international game and the constant injuries got to him and he took a break in 2008 due to emotional and physical exhaustion. Tait returned later that year, and like his injury-prone peers Brett Lee and Jacob Oram, chose to stick to T20s and ODIs. He played his final ODI in the 2011 World Cup, after which he concentrated on franchise T20 cricket, in and outside Australia.

Birth of West Indies offspinner Shane Shillingford, suspended twice from bowling in international cricket due to an illegal action. In 14 Tests between 2010 and 2013, when he was allowed to bowl, Shillingford took 65 wickets at 32, twice taking ten-wicket match hauls, against Australia and Zimbabwe, in his home ground in Dominica.

Other birthdays
1944 Ranjit Fernando (Sri Lanka)
1968 Johanne Samarasekera (UAE)
1974 Sunita Singh (India)

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