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February 26 down the years

The second of the three Ws

Everton Weekes is born in Barbados

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Everton Weekes: tremendously prolific
Everton Weekes: tremendously prolific © Getty Images

The second of the Three Ws is born in Barbados. Everton Weekes was a tremendously prolific batsman for West Indies after making his debut against England in Bridgetown in 1947-48. He had a charming array of strokes all round the wicket. In 1948-49 he made a record five consecutive Test hundreds, and was only denied a sixth when he was rather controversially run out for 90 in Madras. Weekes got three in a row later in his career as well, against New Zealand in 1955-56, and ended with a mighty average of 58.62, which only George Headley among West Indians surpasses. He was knighted in 1995.

Talking of the great George Headley, his twin hundreds helped West Indies to their first Test win today, a thumping 289-run demolition of England in Georgetown. Headley cracked 114 and 112, while Learie Constantine finished England off with nine wickets.

He's always included in that great bracket of 1980s allrounders, but Richard Hadlee actually only made two Test hundreds (compared with Botham's 14, Kapil's eight and Imran's six), and one of those was against Sri Lanka in Colombo. But the ton Hadlee scored against West Indies in Christchurch today was the real deal. He careered to his first Test hundred off 88 balls of the cleanest hitting against an attack that included Roberts, Holding, Garner and Croft. It was the fifth bowler, Collis King, who really bore the brunt, though: he was left to nurse figures of 9-0-70-0.

Bill Johnston, who was born today, often played second fiddle to Ray Lindwall and Keith Miller in the post-war Australian side, but with 160 wickets at an average of 23, this was some back-up. Johnston flitted between left-arm seam and occasional spin, and set the tone for the Invincibles' all-conquering 1948 tour with 5 for 36 in the first innings of the first Test, at Trent Bridge. Johnston didn't have many pretensions to batsmanship, but he hung around long enough with Doug Ring to win a thriller by one wicket against West Indies at the MCG in 1951-52. And in England in 1953, thanks to 16 not-outs in 17 innings, he topped the averages with a lofty 102, despite a top score of 28.

Alimuddin top-scored with 13 on his debut for Rajputana against Baroda in the Ranji Trophy semi-final. Nothing remarkable there, except that he was only 12 years and 73 days old at the time, the youngest person to play first-class cricket. He made 27 - the second-best effort by any of his side - second time round but Rajputana where hammered by an innings and 356 runs. Alimuddin went on to appear 25 times for Pakistan.

At 1.51pm in the first Test in Christchurch on this day, Allan Border pulled Dipak Patel for four and became the top scorer in Test history, overtaking Sunil Gavaskar's aggregate of 10,122. He'd been made to wait after bagging the only pair of his first-class career in Australia's previous Test, against West Indies in Perth. Here, Border's 88 anchored Australia's 485, the third-highest Test total not to include a century, and it was enough for an innings win. Shane Warne took seven wickets, while Merv Hughes nailed the big one - Martin Crowe - in both innings. Border retired in 1994 with 11,174 runs, a record broken by Brian Lara in 2005.

The first eight-for in Test history, by the great George Lohmann. His 8 for 35 helped demolish Australia for 84 at the SCG today, and in a match where all the other totals were bunched between 150 and 154, it was the key element in England's 71-run victory. In this short series Lohmann took 16 wickets at an average of 8.56: a fairytale for most bowlers, but for him it was only just above (or below) average.

South Africa's first World Cup match following their return to the international cricket fold, and they quickly confirmed they'd be no pushovers by hammering the co-hosts Australia by nine wickets at the SCG. For Australia - whose World Cup defence was fast turning into a farce - nobody passed 27, and South Africa, with debutants Hansie Cronje and Jonty Rhodes playing a part with a run-out apiece, had no problems at all in getting to their target of 171.

Not many teams beat India in a Test series in India. Today South Africa took a giant step towards becoming the first side to do so for 13 years with victory in the first Test in Mumbai. It was a tense, low-scoring affair, and looked to be going India's way when they took a first-innings lead of 49. But Hansie Cronje dismissed Sachin Tendulkar for the fifth and final time - only Glenn McGrath Jason Gillespie and Muttiah Muralitharan have dismissed him more often in Tests, six times each - as India collapsed to 113. Chasing 163, South Africa were rocking at 128 for 6 when Mark Boucher seized the day: with Jacques Kallis a rock-solid anchor, Boucher whacked six boundaries in a 32-ball 27.

Matt Prior, born in Johannesburg on this day, became the first England wicketkeeper to score a century on debut, in the drawn Test against West Indies at Lord's in 2007. Poor form after the series meant he was fighting for his spot with his old Sussex rival Tim Ambrose, but Prior returned and played a big role in England's Ashes triumph in 2009, providing momentum-shifting cameos at No. 6, and pulling off a series of impressive catches and stumpings. He bettered that effort on the subsequent tour of Australia in 2010-11, claiming 23 catches in the series, and went on to make 271 runs at 67.75 during England's 4-0 home triumph against India the following summer. His most memorable efforts came on the tour of New Zealand in 2013, especially when he saved the final Test in Auckland, and the series, with a defiant, four-and-a-half hour 110. But back-to-back Ashes tours treated him unkindly, bringing a marked slump in his form as his keeping standards and he made only one fifty in eight Tests.

Other birthdays
1851 Mordecai Sherwin (England)
1867 Charles Coventry (England)
1934 Ron Gaunt (Australia)
1941 Keith Thomson (New Zealand)
1965 Ross Dykes (New Zealand)
1971 Noel David (India)
1978 Louise Broadfoot (Australia)
1982 Venugopal Rao (India)
1991 Kithuruwan Vithanage (Sri Lanka)

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