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March 8 down the years

Quite a character

The left-armer with the textbook action

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Phil Edmonds tosses one up against the Aussies
Phil Edmonds tosses one up against the Aussies © Getty Images
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1951
An England spinner is born - in Zambia. Phil Edmonds formed the ultimate chalk-and-cheese spin double act with John Emburey for county (Middlesex) and country: one was born and raised for a time in Lusaka by his English father and Belgian mother, the other in Peckham; one was called Philippe-Henri, the other John Ernest; one was erudite, educated at Cambridge, the other earthy and full of expletives. Edmonds had a dream start to his Test career - 5 for 28 against Australia at Headingley in 1975 - but after two five-fors in his first four Tests, he managed none in 47 thereafter. Edmonds was more like a quick bowler in nature, but he had a textbook action for a slow left-armer. He'd probably have played more than 51 Tests were he not so outspoken, but in the end he retired in 1987, although he made a brief comeback for Middlesex in 1992, when he took 4 for 48 at Trent Bridge and could hardly walk for a week afterwards.

1999
A new nadir for a desperate West Indies side - their lowest Test score until it was eclipsed in 2004. Glenn McGrath and Jason Gillespie bowled unchanged in Trinidad to skittle them for a miserable 51, giving Australia victory by the little matter of 312 runs. Between 1963 and 1969, West Indies were only once bowled out in double figures; this was the first of five times it happened in 18 months, including twice against England, at Lord's and Headingley in 2000. After this one, an Aussie whitewash looked a banker. Enter Brian Lara, who hit centuries of jaw-dropping brilliance in each of the remaining three Tests to give West Indies a share of a classic series.

1992
A legend is born. Jonty Rhodes was quickly earning a reputation as a top-notch fielder, but on this day he confirmed his status among the world's best, and most spectacular, with a flying run-out of Inzamam-ul-Haq in the World Cup match in Brisbane. As Inzamam lumbered towards safety Rhodes charged in from point and dived full-length with ball in hand to shatter the stumps. It turned the game, and with Pakistan losing again - they had beaten only Zimbabwe in their first five games - Imran's tigers were boxed firmly into a corner.

1992
On the same day, in the same tournament, the last game of the late, great Malcolm Marshall's international career. Though he was only 33, Macko's star was fading by now, and after four wickets in 10 games, the match against New Zealand in Auckland was his last. New Zealand won it comfortably, with Mark Greatbatch launching one of his trademark assaults.

1928
Jack Hobbs scored 142 on the first day of the fifth Test between England and Australia in Melbourne. At 46 years and 82 days, he became the oldest man to score a Test hundred, a record unlikely ever to be broken. England lost the match by five wickets but won the series 4-1, Hobbs scoring 451 runs at 50.11.

1931
Birth of the first South African quick bowler to take 100 Test wickets. Unlike Mike Procter, the Pollocks and Allan Donald, Neil Adcock did not have the benefit of world-class support, but he still managed 104 wickets at an average of only 21. He used his height to make the ball lift alarmingly off a length. In England in 1960, he was a revelation, brushing off the controversy surrounding his new-ball partner Geoff Griffin - who was no-balled for throwing - to take 26 wickets in the Tests, even though South Africa lost the series 0-3. On the whole tour, he took 108 wickets at an average of 14, and was named as one of Wisden's Cricketers of the Year in 1961 as a result.

1997
A red-letter day for New Zealand opener Bryan Young, who smacked an unbeaten 267 against Sri Lanka in Dunedin. This innings was one of only two Test hundreds Young made, and it led New Zealand to 586 for 7 declared, a position from which they romped to an innings victory.

1984
New Zealand's Ross Taylor, who was born on this day, is an aggressive top-order batsman capable of taking the fight to world-class attacks. In only his third ODI, Taylor hammered a superb 128 against Sri Lanka in Napier. He scores heavily from the pull and by slog-sweeping the spinners. In 2008 he scored his maiden Test hundred, against England in Hamilton, and followed it up with an unbeaten 154 at Old Trafford. Taylor's solidity prompted the selectors to name him captain in 2010 when Daniel Vettori chose to step down. New Zealand beat Australia in Hobart and Sri Lanka in Colombo - for the first time in the country since 1998 - under him, but Taylor won't remember his stint with a lot of joy. After the Colombo win, he stepped down from captaincy under controversial circumstances, declining an offer to stay on as Test captain in a split-leadership scenario. He also took a break from cricket, but returned in 2013 with renewed vigour. He scored 754 runs between May and December 2013, including his maiden double-hundred, which was immediately followed by two more centuries.

1949
Don Bradman's final first-class match was an anti-climax. He scored 30 in the first innings and was absent hurt in the second, and Victoria beat South Australia by 271 runs. It was a good game for Sam Loxton, who scored 135 for Victoria, and for South Australia's opening bowlers Kevin O'Neill and Geff Noblet who took seven and six wickets respectively.

1854
Birth of arguably Ireland's finest cricketer. Not Martin McCague but Tom Horan, who was born in Cork and after being taken to Australia as a child, played 15 Tests for them between 1876-77 and 1884-85, two as captain. As well as being a dogged scrapper of a batsman, Horan was a handy round-arm medium-pacer and ended with 11 Test wickets at an average of 13. That was thanks mainly to the 6 for 40 he took in Australia's six-run victory over England in Sydney in 1884-85. He died in Victoria in 1916.

1995
His reputation ended in tatters, but it's easy to forget just what a terrific captain Hansie Cronje was before he was seduced by the lure of the lucre. Today it was New Zealand who gave in to temptation after Cronje's brave declaration left them needing 275 off 63 overs to win the one-off Centenary Test in Auckland. They went for it, but Cronje's men pulled off a tremendous victory with 43 balls to spare.

1983
Birth of Charles Coventry, who equalled Saeed Anwar's then-one-day record score of 194, against Bangladesh in 2009. Before that effort, he had only scored 301 runs in 14 ODIs, and after it he managed only one half-century in 22 matches, his last one-day appearance coming in the 2011 World Cup.

1904
England had regained the Ashes but Australia won the dead rubber at the MCG by 218 runs. Victor Trumper made 88 as Australia took advantage of batting first before the weather affected the pitch. Legspinner Len Braund took a career-best 8 for 81, and Australia scored 247, after which Monty Noble and Tibby Cotter bowled England out for 61 on a pitch increasingly difficult to bat on and set them a target of 320. they didn't get close: Hugh Trumble took 7 for 28 as England were bowled out for 101.

1981
Everyone knows about Lillee c Willey b Dilley, but in a Sheffield Shield match in Perth today, Dennis Lillee was out caught... by Dennis Lillie. Dennis John Lillie, Queensland's 12th man in this one, was a legspinner with a first-class bowling average of 51. His victim, Dennis Keith Lillee, did slightly better.

1946
Offspinner Mohammad Nazir, born today, took his best figures - 7 for 99 - on debut against New Zealand in Karachi in 1969-70 but was inconsistent after that. In 1979-80, after he took 16 wickets in four Tests against West Indies, including 8 for 120 in Faisalabad he was brought back for the series against India in 1983-84. He failed to take a wicket in the first two Tests but grabbed 7 for 122 in the last match. After retirement, he became an international umpire.

Other birthdays
1945 Graeme Watson (Australia)
1957 Ervin McSweeney (New Zealand)
1961 Kevin Arnott (Zimbabwe)
1963 Gursharan Singh (India)
1981 Rayad Emrit (West Indies)
1989 Harmanpreet Kaur (India)

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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