Ambrose does for England
The day Curtly Ambrose broke English hearts. England were scrapping tooth and nail to preserve their 1-0 lead on the final day in Barbados, and had lost only two wickets in five hours when Ambrose cleaned up the last five in 80 minutes with the second new ball. Four were lbw, with the other, Jack Russell - whose six-hour 55 Jack Bannister described in Wisden Cricket Monthly as bringing "a lump to the throat" - torpedoed to open the floodgates. Robin Smith, who batted almost ten hours in the match for 102 runs, was left unbeaten as the drama unfolded at the other end. Ambrose's 8 for 45 remained his best figures in Tests, after the sort of devastating demolition job that would become his trademark.
Birth of "Foffie" Williams, the West Indian allrounder who played only four Tests, and is remembered for one amazing innings. In the first post-war Test, against England in Bridgetown in 1947-48 - a match he was only playing because of food poisoning to Frank Worrell - Williams belted 72, including 6, 6, 4 and 4 off the first four balls he received, from England's master of frugality, Jim Laker. His next two scoring strokes were fours as well. In all, his 50 came in only 30 minutes, and might have been the fastest in terms of balls faced - except, the number of balls he faced weren't recorded.
A Freak is born. Ian Harvey, so called, never got anywhere near Australia's Test team, but he was a regular in their one-day side, thanks to his wobbly variations of pace, clean-hitting lower-order batting, and outstanding in-fielding. He never took a one-day five-for or made a fifty, but he frequently chipped in with a run-a-ball 20 and 1 for 30 off ten overs. He was also central to Gloucestershire's run of one-day success at the turn of the century. In 2003 he became the first centurion in England's Twenty20 Cup, and was named one of Wisden's Five Cricketers of the Year in 2004. After a drink-driving conviction hampered his chances of applying for British citizenship, Harvey joined the ICL and was the Player of the Series in 2008, leading the Chennai Superstars to the championship.
The final day of World Series Cricket as the fifth SuperTest between West Indies and Australia in Antigua petered out into a tame draw, a hundred from Rod Marsh ensuring that Australia saved the game. The five-match series ended 1-1. A one-dayer in Basseterre, St Kitts, scheduled for April 13, was washed out.
India became the first Asian side to reach the final of the women's World Cup when they met Australia in Centurion. Australia went on to lift the tournament for the fifth time in a heavily one-sided affair, thanks to Karen Rolton's rampant 107 not out. They won by 98 runs.
Jack Badcock, who was born today, was the second-youngest Australian to play first-class cricket when he made his debut for Tasmania at the age of 15. He went on to play seven Tests in the middle order, but despite a first-class average of over 50, he struggled at the highest level. His Test career was pretty remarkable: he made 118 against England in Melbourne in 1936-37 - but failed to reach double figures in 11 other innings. Badcock, who was known as Musso because of a resemblance to Mussolini, died in Exton, Tasmania, in 1982.
Birth of Natal allrounder John Watkins, who played a big part in South Africa's shock 2-2 draw in Australia in 1952-53. Watkins was a dashing batsman and a thrifty swing bowler (his economy rate was 1.74 runs per over), who cracked 92 and 50 in his side's series-squaring victory at the MCG. Later that winter he took 4 for 22 off 23.5 overs in their innings victory over New Zealand in Wellington.
Shujahuddin Butt, born today, played 19 Tests between 1954 and 1962 for Pakistan. He took 20 wickets with his left-arm spin and also scored 395 runs. In 101 first-class games he took 319 wickets and scored 3490 runs. A colonel in the army, he was a prisoner of war during the 1971 India-Pakistan conflict. He also served as a national selector.
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