Viv brings the carnage
At tea on the final day of the first Test between West Indies and India in Jamaica, even Hansie Cronje wouldn't have bet against a draw: India were 164 ahead with four second-innings wickets left. And though those four were blown away for one run by Andy Roberts, West Indies still needed 172 from 26 overs - a rate of 6.62 per over - and not a fielding restriction in sight. West Indies needed some carnage. Enter Viv Richards at 65 for 2. He swatted 61 off only 36 balls - an innings that included four sixes - before Jeff Dujon, with another six, sealed an improbable win, achieved with four wickets and four balls to spare. Mohinder Amarnath ended with the figures of 2.2-0-34-2.
A one-wicket World Cup thriller at Eden Park. The two co-hosts of the 2015 tournament played out one of the best matches of the tournament, which ended with New Zealand, nine down, squeaking over the line thanks to a straight six by Kane Williamson. Australia crashed to 151 (they were 106 for 9) thanks to Trent Boult's swing, egged on by a hostile crowd. Brendon McCullum looked set to seal the game before the lights came on, and when he went, New Zealand were 78 for 2 inside eight overs. But Mitchell Starc proved to be as deadly as Boult had done, his swinging yorkers triggering a dramatic collapse. At 146 for 9, it was anybody's game but Williamson decided not to get it in singles, and his gamble worked.
The Test that never was. England's tour of West Indies lurched towards cancellation after the Guyanese government revoked Robin Jackman's visa on the grounds that he had played and coached in South Africa. Jackman was deported, the England team followed, and the second Test, in Georgetown, was called off. Jackman made his debut in the next Test, in Bridgetown.
Birth of New Zealand wicketkeeper Ian Smith, who played with the same effervescence and warmth he now demonstrates in the commentary box. Smith could give the ball a real belt, and was a very competent gloveman for New Zealand throughout most of the 1980s. His signature performance, however, came in February 1990: a fearsome pummelling of India in Auckland. New Zealand were 131 for 7 on the first afternoon when Smith biffed 173 off 136 balls, including 24 off one over from Atul Wassan. It remains the highest score by a Test No. 9.
Kapil Dev's right-hand man is born. Left-arm swing bowler Karsan Ghavri spent much of his career getting the shine off the ball for the spinners, but he was a skilled performer and would be fighting along with Javagal Srinath for the new ball with Kapil in an all-time Indian XI. His strike rate was a very acceptable 64 balls per wicket, but none of his four five-fors came in victory.
The end of the road for Victor Trumper, who finished his luminous Test career today when he was out, caught by Frank Woolley off Sydney Barnes for 50 in Sydney. The match was also the last of Clem Hill's career: between them, the two great Australians made almost 7000 Test runs.
To have any chance of qualifying for the CB Series final, India needed to chase down Sri Lanka's total in 40 overs in Hobart. Sri Lanka scored 320. India got past it in 36.4 overs. Virat Kohli made 133 of them (off 86 balls) in an innings of controlled aggression that obliterated the hundreds scored by Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara earlier in the day.
Debut nerves are understandable, but this was ridiculous. New Zealand opener Terry Jarvis took 125 minutes to make 9 against India in Madras. He snapped out of it in the second innings, scoring at 10 times his first-innings rate to make 40 not out in exactly an hour, and went on to forge a decent Test career, playing 13 Tests over an eight-year period. He added a monstrous 387 for the first wicket with Glenn Turner against West Indies in Georgetown in 1971-72, now the fourth-highest opening partnership in Test history.
Given that he kept non-strikers rooted to the crease with his fidgety brilliance, it's ironic that Derek Randall was run out controversially, while backing up, against New Zealand in Christchurch today. The bowler, Ewen Chatfield, gave no warning as he broke the stumps before completing his delivery stride. Randall was only the third man to be dismissed in such circumstances in a Test.
A fast starter is born. Pakistani allrounder Azhar Mahmood cracked a century in his first Test (when he made 178 runs without being dismissed), another in his seventh, and a third in his eighth, all off a very good South African attack. The last of the three, 132 on a dog of a Durban pitch, took Pakistan from 153 for 8 to 259 and to an eventual 29-run victory. But Azhar didn't manage a fifty after that and his last Test was in 2001. During a one-month stint as a Surrey overseas player in 2002 he took 8 for 61 against Lancashire, then turned out for them for two seasons full-time. He signed with Surrey again for 2005, and later applied for British citizenship after marrying his British wife. He signed for Kent in late 2007 on a two-year deal. He went on to profit from the mushrooming of T20 leagues, playing for over a dozen teams across the globe.
Birth of England allrounder Tim Bresnan, who rose to prominence in 2010-11 after taking 11 wickets in two Ashes Tests, having being called up as an injury replacement and told to keep the runs down. He had already showed his class with his useful death bowling in the 2010 World Twenty20, and he was tight and accurate in the 2011 World Cup as well. His nine wickets in the tournament included a five-for in the tie against India in Bangalore. In the 4-0 whitewash of India that followed the World Cup, Bresnan starred with 16 wickets and two half-centuries from three Tests.
Naved-ul-Hasan, born today, made his one-day debut in Sharjah, and injuries to other fast bowlers, as well as ambiguity over Shoaib Akhtar's part in the team, allowed him to cement his position. Pakistan's early exit from the 2007 World Cup had many casualties and Naved was one of them: he was not given a central contract in July that year and joined the ICL in protest. In 2009 he was given a Pakistan contract and picked for the World Twenty20, and included on Pakistan's eventually disastrous tour of Australia in 2009-10 (ending up among the seven players banned on their return). His one-year ban was overturned in 2010, after which he played county cricket and in T20 leagues in Australia and Bangladesh.
Naved's Pakistan team-mate Yasir Hameed, also born today, stamped his presence in international cricket with two Test centuries on debut - against Bangladesh in Karachi in August 2003 - becoming only the second player to achieve that feat. Frail of build, Hameed's game is built on timing and an easy elegance. The early signs were promising, but he developed a worrying tendency to waste his starts, often by flailing at wide ones outside off. He lost his place in the side in 2007 and returned briefly in 2010 - on the tour of England that was marred by spot-fixing - and was subject to an undercover tabloid investigation himself, for which the Pakistan board banned him from domestic cricket for a season.
Graham Vivian, the New Zealand allrounder who made his first-class debut in a Test match, was born today. That debut was in Calcutta in 1964-65, when Vivian was 19, and he made a useful 43 from No. 9 in the second innings. Bowling proved a bit more problematic: he took only one wicket in five Tests.
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The Cricket Monthly July issue
Numbers Game: Since 2012, the average opening stand in Tests in Sri Lanka is 25.82, the lowest among the top countries
Luke Alfred: In these times of discontent in South Africa, batsmen like Dean Elgar and Heino Kuhn show that quotas don't necessarily have to cause heartburn
Jon Hotten: At Lord's we saw three in-between scores of the sort that are as likely to annoy the selectors as excite them
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