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July 23 down the years

If at first you don't succeed...

One of England's finest batsmen is born

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Gooch was the first man with a moustache to play for England since 1946-47
Gooch was the first man with a moustache to play for England since 1946-47 © Getty Images
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1953
Graham Gooch, who was born today, took a while to find his feet in Test cricket but went on to become the best of his generation. Gooch scored 8900 runs in Tests, a record for England - after being dismissed for a pair on his debut, against Australia at Edgbaston in 1975. Pick of the bunch, 333 and all, was his 154 not out against West Indies at Headingley in 1991.

1994
The day Mike Atherton put some dirt in his pocket - and nearly lost his job. With England taking one hell of a beating against South Africa at Lord's, Atherton used the dirt to dry one side of the ball and so help Darren Gough get some reverse swing. Having dirt in his pocket was not illegal, but rubbing it on the ball contravened Law 42.5, and the match referee, Peter Burge, called him to explain his actions. Burge accepted Atherton's explanation, but the following day Atherton admitted lying to Burge. For that, he was fined £2000 by Ray Illingworth - half for lying, half for having dirt in his pocket - and crucified by the press. Illy later told anyone who'd listen that the fines saved Athers' job. Lost in the furore was a real spanking for England: they lost by 356 runs, and were bowled out for only 99 in the second innings.

2008
The review system for umpiring decisions was trialled for the first time in the Test between Sri Lanka and India at the SSC. On the second day, Harbhajan Singh's appeal for lbw against Malinda Warnapura was turned down and the review replays showed the field umpire to be spot on. Virender Sehwag later became the first man to be given out via the review system, and Tillakaratne Dilshan the first to continue batting even after having been given out by the on-field umpire. Dilshan's was also the first successful challenge of an umpiring decision. Both instances came with their share of controversy, as the technology used and the human application by the umpires left much to be desired.

1949
Birth of a world-class allrounder who lost a Test career because South Africa were banned. By the time South Africa were re-admitted, Clive Rice was past his best - but his best had been considerable. A hard-hitting batsman and aggressive pace bowler, he formed a famous partnership with Richard Hadlee that bowled Notts to the County Championship in 1981 and 1987. He was South Africa's first captain after the ban, in three one-day internationals in India in 1991-92 - but it was hardly a consolation.

1972
Birth of a batsman who experienced a rather surreal rebirth as a Test player. Floyd Reifer, who was born today, barely made an impression in the few opportunities he got. He wandered off the radar soon after his debut in 1997, hitting the headlines only in 2008 when he smashed six sixes in an over in a Twenty20 league match in Barbados, coincidentally on the 40th anniversary of Garry Sobers' feat. The following year he was recalled to the West Indies Test team - a decade since he had played his last Test - after the senior players went on strike against the West Indies Cricket Board. More of a shock was the fact that he was named captain, albeit of a second-string team, against Bangladesh at home.

1998
On the first day at Trent Bridge, Hansie Cronje scored a century in his 50th Test, and launched a famous pre-planned assault on the recalled Ian Salisbury, but South Africa went on to lose the match.

1949
Brian Close made his Test debut, against New Zealand at Old Trafford. At 18 years 149 days, he's still the youngest ever to play Test cricket for England. In 1976 he became one of the oldest: 45 years 140 days.

1934
Don Bradman completed his second Test triple-century at Headingley, his favourite English ground, making 304 and sharing a stand of 388 with Bill Ponsford, who hit 181. Bradman's score alone was over 100 more than England's first-innings total. Clarrie Grimmett took seven and Bill O'Reilly five in the drawn match.

1938
If it's Headingley, it must be a big score by Bradman. The Don didn't make a triple-century this time (103), but the pitch was trickier than those in 1930 and 1934. Australia managed a slim first-innings lead and then O'Reilly took five in the second (10 for the match) to bowl England out for 123. Australia won by five wickets.

1884
On the last day of the first Test ever played at Lord's, George Ulyett completed figures of 7 for 36 to bowl Australia to an innings defeat.

1942
Death of a double international. Andy Ducat died as he would probably have wanted to die: he had a heart attack while batting in a match at Lord's. He played football and cricket for England, scoring the only goal of the game against Wales in 1910 and making 3 and 2 in his only Test, against the all-conquering Australians at Headingley in 1921.

1950
Left-hand opener Alan Turner, born today, played 14 Tests for Australia between 1975 and 1977. He made a battling 81 against West Indies in his fourth Test, and got his only Test hundred later in the series. Turner also played the 1975 World Cup and scored his only one-day hundred in a group game against Sri Lanka. After retirement, he became an executive with Benson & Hedges, for many years the leading sponsor of Australian cricket.

Other birthdays
1952 Paul Hibbert (Australia)
1979 Richard Sims (Zimbabwe)

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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