An eventful World Cup semi-final
A historic World Cup semi-final in Calcutta - which contained the good, the bad and the ugly. The good was Sri Lanka getting through to the final for the first time; the bad was that they did so by default; and the ugly was the riot that forced Clive Lloyd, the match referee, to abandon the game. When India crumbled to 120 for 8 - chasing 252 - the crowd set fire to areas of the stands and started to pelt the fielders with fruit and water bottles. But there's no doubt Sri Lanka deserved their place after another polished performance; the top three of Sanath Jayasuriya (1), Romesh Kaluwitharana (0) and Asanka Gurusinha (1) all failed, and astonishingly both openers were out caught at third man... in the first over. Aravinda de Silva played a breathtaking innings, stroking 66 off 47 balls with 14 fours, a warm-up for the match-winning century he would make in the final four days later.
Catharsis for Mark Ramprakash, who finally made his first Test hundred, in Bridgetown today. It came in his 24th Test, almost seven years after his debut, and it was a lovely innings. England were in trouble at 53 for 4, but Ramprakash and Graham Thorpe - who made a workmanlike 103 - saw them to 403. From there they dominated, despite a couple of bludgeoning assaults from the recalled Philo Wallace, but rain allowed only 18 overs on the last day and the match was drawn.
A West Indian allrounder is born. Trinidad's Bernard Julien had a bit of everything: flashing strokeplay; brilliant fielding; lively left-arm seamers from a strange, stiff-legged run; orthodox or unorthodox left-arm spin; and the ability to charm fans and females alike. He could play, but his career at the top was fitful, with only two centuries and one five-for in 24 Tests. His first hundred was a violent affair, at Lord's in 1973, when he added 231 for the seventh wicket with another handy allrounder, Garry Sobers. England were pummelled by an innings and 226 runs. Julien also played in the World Cup final of 1975, and represented Kent between 1970 and 1977.
Even neutrals were breathless when the first ODI in Karachi on India's first tour to Pakistan for 15 years genuinely lived up to the hype. India actually slowed down but still monstered their way to 349. When Pakistan were 34 for 2 in the eighth over, the match looked settled. But Inzamam-ul-Haq (122) and Yousuf Youhana (73) led the fightback at nine an over. Moin Khan was caught off the last ball trying hit the six Pakistan needed to win. In the final analysis, Pakistan's 20 no-balls to India's two cost them the game.
The 8th Earl of Darnley was born. The Honourable Ivo Francis Walter Bligh also happened to be a useful cricketer, who played four Tests for England, all in 1882-83, when he captained them to an Ashes victory. That was immediately after the famous 1882 series, in which England's defeat sparked the Ashes legend: a famous notice in the Sporting Times mourned the death of English cricket and said its body was to be cremated. Bligh eventually married one of the women who created the Ashes urn, and on his death in 1927 the urn was bequeathed to MCC.
England were bowled out for 95 in 34.3 eight-ball overs on the second day of the Centenary Test in Melbourne, Dennis Lillee taking 6 for 26. When Australia, who had been bowled out for 138 on the first day, batted again, they did far better, and debutant David Hookes stole the headlines, cracking five fours off one over from Tony Greig on his way to 56.
Glenn Turner became the first New Zealander to score two hundreds in a Test, and in the process set the team up for their first victory over Australia, in Christchurch. Turner was still there at the end, having anchored the chase of 228 with an unbeaten 115. In a low-scoring game, it was a remarkable effort - only one other New Zealander passed 26 in the match. This was only the sixth Test between the sides, Australia having shunned their neighbours after thumping them in two days in 1945-46.
West Indies' first double-centurion is born. Opener Clifford Roach played in their first 16 Tests, and cracked a blistering five-hour 209 against England in Georgetown in 1929-30 to set them up for their first win. It was an odd series for Roach: in the previous match he had bagged a pair, and in the game before that, he had made his first Test century. At his best he was a glittering stroke-maker, second only to George Headley as West Indies' premier batsman. He died in his native Trinidad in 1988.
Another fine day for New Zealand. Today they routed West Indies for 77 in Auckland, winning by 190 runs, their first Test victory after 45 Tests and 26 years of trying. It was sealed when Sammy Guillen - who had played five Tests for West Indies earlier in his career - stumped Alf Valentine off Harry Cave.
Birth of the bespectacled Australian Dirk Wellham, perhaps the only man to make a hundred on Test debut and cost his side victory in the process. That was at The Oval in 1981, when Wellham's nervous passage to three figures delayed Australia's declaration and ultimately allowed England to get off with a draw. Wellham, who was also the first person to captain three different Sheffield Shield states - New South Wales, Tasmania and Queensland - played five more Tests spread over five years, but never scored more than 36.
A second consecutive double-century for Vinod Kambli, against Zimbabwe in Delhi, took his average to a formidable 136 after four Tests. For good measure, he bashed two more centuries in his next three innings, and it's an amazing statistic that - despite a Test average of 54 - he played his last Test at the age of 23, in 1995-96. As for the match, Zimbabwe's first overseas, India won by an innings, but Andy Flower made 115 and 62 not out to start his love affair with Indian grounds.
In Barbados, where he was born, Roland Butcher became the first black player to play for England. He made 17 (off 82 balls) and 2 (off 27), as England were thumped by 298 runs. Butcher played three Tests, all on this tour, with a top score of 32.
Denesh Ramdin, born today, got picked in the national squad having played 13 first-class matches, for the tour to Sri Lanka in 2005. He impressed with his glovework and the bat on the tour to Australia later that year, and in 2006 he nearly saved the series against India in Kingston. But he was inconsistent with the bat and managed to keep his place in the side mainly because there was no one better. Ramdin finally hit his maiden Test century - 166 against England in Barbados - in March 2009. On the tour to England in 2012, he struck a fine undefeated 107 in the third Test, an innings most notable for him flashing a note addressed to Viv Richards, who had earlier criticised Ramdin's lack of contribution on the tour.
The birth of Adnan Akmal, one of three brothers to play and keep wicket for Pakistan. He replaced older brother Kamran in the Test side when making his debut in October 2010. In his fourth Test, against New Zealand in Wellington in January 2011, he took eight catches, but was then surprisingly dropped from the Test side without explanation. He returned later that year, hoping to get a longer run as specialist wicketkeeper.
A New Zealand left-arm seamer is born... in South Africa. Neil Wagner learnt his cricket at Afrikaans High School for Boys in Pretoria and made his first-class debut in 2005-06 for Northerns. But he tasted regular domestic success when he moved to New Zealand a few years later, and was the leading wicket-taker in the Plunket Shield in 2010-11 and 2011-12. He was rewarded with a Test debut against West Indies in 2012 and took 50 wickets in his first 14 Tests.
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