The shortest Test in over 50 years
An unforgettable victory for England at Headingley, and the first two-day Test in over 50 years. When West Indies began their second innings midway through the afternoon session, they were exactly 100 runs behind England. After 26.2 overs, they had been demolished for just 61 - their second double-figure score in three Tests - and England had beaten them by an innings for the first time since 1966. It was unforgettably delirious stuff. The cherry on the icing came when Andy Caddick took four wickets in an over, the last three all castled by swinging yorkers.
Mahela Jayawardene's final day of Test cricket. It was a perfect farewell, as Sri Lanka wrapped up the SSC Test early on the fifth day to sweep the series 2-0 against Pakistan. The visitors had all but conceded the game on the fourth, having lost 7 for 127 chasing 271. Rangana Herath finished with a five-for to go with his nine in the first innings, for a match haul of 14 for 184. Jayawardene, who scored 54 in his final innings, ended his Test career with 11,814 runs in 149 games with 34 centuries and 50 half-centuries at an average of nearly 50.
The end of one of the monumental partnerships. England needed only a draw at The Oval to retain the Ashes - but big Bill Ponsford made his last Test a memorable one. His 266 achieved the rare feat of outscoring Don Bradman, who hit a mere 244. Their stand of 451, made in only five hours, was then the highest for any wicket in Tests and is still in the top four. England, understandably overwhelmed, lost by a whopping 562 runs.
One of the great wicketkeepers and characters was born. Extrovert and genuinely brilliant standing back or close up, Godfrey Evans played in 91 Tests for England, making 219 dismissals, both world records at the time, and hitting two dashing hundreds. A vivid personality long after his retirement, with the most famous mutton-chop whiskers in cricket, he was the Ladbrokes rep who quoted odds of 500-1 against England winning the famous Headingley Test of 1981.
Birth of dashing batsman and film star Sandeep Patil, who played in 29 Tests for India. His four Test centuries included genuinely brilliant knocks in Adelaide in 1980-81 (174) - a remarkable innings given that in the previous Test he was concussed by a bouncer from Len Pascoe - and Old Trafford in 1982 (129 not out), when he hit six fours in an over from Bob Willis. His important 27 in a low-scoring match helped India win the 1983 World Cup final. After retirement, Patil coached India for a while before moving to take charge of Kenya. He resigned from that post after taking Kenya to the World Cup semi-final in 2003. He was later appointed the head of India's National Cricket Academy in Bangalore.
After the humiliations of the early 1920s and the frustrations of this rain-affected series, England made Percy Chapman captain, recalled the 48-year-old Wilfred Rhodes, and regained the Ashes. On this the last day at The Oval, pace bowlers Maurice Tate and Harold Larwood made the early inroads, after which Rhodes took 4 for 44 with his slow left-armers. Australia were dismissed for 125 and lost the series 0-1.
It wasn't cricket. Well, not according to the MCC. Brian Close's Yorkshire side were booed off the field after they had deliberately wasted time to thwart Warwickshire's chase in the County Championship match at Edgbaston. Close used every delaying tactic in the book to waste time, and the Daily Telegraph wrote that Yorkshire had "been prepared to sacrifice goodwill and reputation for two wretched points". An unrepentant Close was subsequently stripped of the England captaincy as a result. The regulation for a minimum number of overs in the last hour of a match was introduced soon afterwards.
The start of one of the all-time great careers. Wally Hammond made his first-class debut for Gloucestershire against Lancashire in Cheltenham. Ironically, for a batsman of the highest possible class, he made a duck in his first innings. He went on to set any number of world records, among them becoming the first man to score 7000 Test runs and the first to take 100 Test catches. He had a penchant for big scores and notched up 336 not out in Auckland in 1932-33, another Test record at the time - and two majestic double-hundreds against Australia. One of the undisputed legends of the game.
The birth of Cameron White, who once seemed destined to play a significant role for Australia. At the start of his career it was hard to know whether he would develop into a nagging legspinner, aggressive middle-order batsman, intuitive skipper, or a bit of all three. After being tried as a legspinner in India in 2008, he developed into a destructive stroke-maker in the shorter formats. He was appointed Australia's T20 captain in January 2011 but he was replaced by George Bailey the following year. He also captained his IPL franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad.
On the last day at The Oval, England captain and pace bowler Gubby Allen completed figures of 7 for 80, the best of his Test career, to help England beat India by nine wickets and take the three-match series 2-0.
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