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March 3 down the years

Cricket's darkest day

Sri Lanka's cricketers are shot at by terrorists in Lahore

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The world was shocked by the Lahore attacks: the first time cricketers had been directly targeted by terrorists
The world was shocked by the Lahore attacks: the first time cricketers had been directly targeted by terrorists © Herald Sun

Pakistan's status as an international cricketing venue was thrown into question after masked terrorists attacked the team bus carrying Sri Lankan cricketers to the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore on the third morning of the second Test. Five cricketers, including Mahela Jayawardene, the captain, and Kumar Sangakkara, his deputy, received minor injuries. Ajantha Mendis, Thilan Samaraweera and Tharanga Paravitarana were also injured in the attack, which killed six security men and two civilians. It was the first time since the 1972 Munich Olympics - where Palestinian terrorists killed 11 Israeli athletes - that sportsmen had been specifically targeted. The Lahore Test was quickly called off and the tour cancelled - a major disappointment for a nation hosting Test cricket for the first time in over 14 months.

A run-hungry Pakistani is born. Inzamam-ul-Haq burst onto the scene with a breathtaking 60 off 37 balls in the 1992 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand. We've heard all the jokes about weight, and also about his notoriously poor running, but neither of these hampered him while he was compiling 329 against New Zealand in cauldron-like conditions in Lahore in 2002. The following year he scored a magnificent unbeaten 138 that gave Pakistan a thrilling one-wicket win against Bangladesh in Multan. Inzamam retired in 2007 after captaining Pakistan in a disappointing World Cup, and he finished two runs short of Javed Miandad's record for the highest Test aggregate by a Pakistan batsman.

The beginning of the longest Test of all. The famous Timeless Test ended 11 days later - and it was still unresolved, as England had to leave to begin a two-day rail journey back to their ship in Cape Town. There were 1981 runs - a Test record - six centuries and two rest days. At the end, England were 654 for 5, the highest fourth-innings score in first-class cricket, just 42 short of victory. It makes you wonder, though: if the likes of Murali and Warne are lethal on fifth-day wickets, what would they have done on this one?

England completed a 4-0 series win over South Africa with an easy 10-wicket victory in the fifth Test at St George's Park, Port Elizabeth, in what turned out to be the last Test for almost seven years. Five months later, the Great War broke out and there were no more Tests until England met Australia in Sydney on December 17, 1920.

In 1992, it was the rain rules. In 1999, it was a tie. In 2003, however, a grotesque combination of those two painful World Cup memories sent South Africa gurgling out of their own party. As a tropical storm swept across Durban, all eyes were on the Duckworth-Lewis conversion sheet. But unfortunately for South Africa, those eyes were on the wrong column. In something approaching a downpour, Mark Boucher smashed the penultimate ball of the 45th - and what turned out to be final - over for six and punched the air with glee, thinking he'd already done enough to qualify. In fact, he had merely brought the scores level - and the 12th man, Nicky Boje, was unable to reach the middle in time to warn him. Shaun Pollock was left to stare out of the window for an hour or so before the umpires finally pulled the plug. It was his last act as captain - a week later, he was unceremoniously sacked.

Nobody has ever taken nine wickets in a Test innings more cheaply than George Lohmann did today. At the Old Wanderers in Johannesburg, Lohmann ripped South Africa to shreds with 9 for 28. He was the first to take nine in a Test innings, and only Jim Laker and Anil Kumble have bettered him. Lohmann took three more in the second innings, and England won by an innings in a match that was umpired by England's Audley Miller - who had played in the previous Test.

Clarrie Grimmett's last Test, and the great man went out in style. He bowled Australia to an innings victory over South Africa in Durban with his third successive ten-for, a record that was only broken many decades later by Muttiah Muralitharan. Grimmett was then dropped for being too old: his age (44) matched the number of wickets he took in his final series.

An Ashes-regaining victory for England at the SCG. There was still one to play in the series, but this win gave them an unassailable 3-1 lead. They had Bernard Bosanquet, the inventor of the googly, to thank: he put Australia to the sword with a spell of 5 for 12 on the sixth day of a heavily rain-affected match.

Birth of the graceful Indian Motganhalli Jaisimha, who opened both batting and bowling in Tests. His day job was with the willow, though, and in 39 Tests "Jai" played some charming innings. He was brave too, and in a Brisbane thriller in 1967-68, he made 74 and 105 from No. 6 in a narrow defeat while suffering from jet lag: he'd only arrived in Australia as a replacement a couple of days before the match. Peculiarly, Jaisimha only once passed 50 in Indian victories. He died of lung cancer in Secunderabad in 1999.

In first-class history only one man has taken four wickets in four balls twice. That was Western Province swing bowler Bob Crisp, who did it for the second time today, against Natal in Durban. Two years earlier Crisp had nailed four in four against Griqualand West.

The other John Reid is born. New Zealand left-hander JF Reid isn't as famous as his namesake JR, but he had a pretty good career anyway, averaging 46 from 19 Tests between 1978-79 and 1985-86. He had an outstanding conversion-rate (six 100s, two 50s). Reid was a serene, orthodox presence at the crease, for whom cricket wasn't the be-all and end-all: when he turned down a tour of the Caribbean in 1984-85, he put teaching (he was a geography teacher) above cricket on his list of priorities, although he later became NZC's operations director.

Birth of Frank Mann, the older link in the first father-son combination to captain England (his son George also did so), a record that Colin and Chris Cowdrey equalled in 1988. Frank played five Tests, all as captain in South Africa in 1922-23. At his best Mann was a dazzling hitter, and he hammered 53 in only 19 minutes for Middlesex against Nottinghamshire at Lord's in 1921.

Not a lot of people know that former Sussex batsman Colin Wells, who was born today, played for England. But he did - two one-dayers as part of the motley English crew that Norman Gifford took to Sharjah in 1984-85. He made 17 and 5, falling to two of cricket's less frightening spinners - Murray Bennett and Shoaib Mohammad - and that was that.

Bas Zuiderent, born today, was at the time the youngest to play in a World Cup when as an 18-year-old he turned out in the 1996 World Cup for Netherlands. He helped them qualify for the tournament with an unbeaten 116 against UAE in the 2005 ICC Trophy and went on to feature in every World Cup game that his country has played. He was also part of the Netherlands side that beat England in the World Twenty20 in 2009. Zuiderent signed for Sussex in 1999, and spent five years there; he was part of the squad that lifted the County Championship in 2003.

Other birthdays
1915 Charles Clark (England)
1945 Farooq Hamid (Pakistan)
1964 Atif Rauf (Pakistan)
1975 Maartje Köster (Netherlands)

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