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August 21 down the years

Who writes your scripts?

Botham comes back from a ban, and how

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Ian Botham: back with a bang
Ian Botham: back with a bang © Getty Images
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1986
Nobody had a greater sense of theatre than Ian Botham. Restored to the England side after a ban for admitting to the use of marijuana, he took a wicket with his first ball against New Zealand at The Oval, having Bruce Edgar caught by Graham Gooch, whose remark said it all: "Who writes your scripts?" Botham had just taken his 355th Test wicket, equalling the then world record. Naturally, he soon got the 356th, Jeff Crowe lbw, and followed it up with a rapid fifty. Beefy was well and truly back.

2003
Speaking of scripts, Yasir Hameed had the perfect one written for his Test debut, in which he scored a hundred in each innings in Karachi against Bangladesh. His first-innings 170 saved Pakistan from an embarrassing collapse (only one other batsman crossed 50) and in the second innings he added 134 with fellow debutant Mohammad Hafeez as Pakistan won by nine wickets. It was also a memorable debut for fast bowler Shabbir Ahmed, who took eight wickets, including five in the second, and a quiet one for Umar Gul.

1975
Simon Katich, born today, was on the brink of a Test call-up in Sri Lanka when he contracted chicken pox and was quarantined. But after a stellar 2000-01 - 1282 first-class runs and a century against every state - he was picked for the 2001 Ashes tour. Replacing the injured Steve Waugh for the fourth Test, he made 15 and 0 not out on debut and had to wait two years for another opportunity. It came against Zimbabwe, against whom he took 6 for 65 with his chinamen in the second innings in Sydney. Returning to the SCG later in the summer against India, he registered his maiden Test century. He was in and out of the side in the next few years and was one of the casualties of the 3-1 Ashes loss in 2010-11 - despite missing three Tests due to injury - and was not given a Cricket Australia contract for the next season.

1914
One of England's most prominent and controversial legspinners is born. Doug Wright was prominent because he took seven hat-tricks - still a record in first-class cricket - and had his moments in the Test team too, including 7 for 105 in Sydney in 1946-47. But controversial because his 108 Test wickets cost 39.11 each: he simply bowled too many bad balls. Against the strong Australian teams he faced, this was asking for trouble. He was on the winning side only once in 14 Ashes Tests.

1988
Yorkshire beat Surrey by three wickets at Chingford to win the inaugural women's County Championship.

1907
Birth of the first woman to captain England in a Test. In the inaugural match, in Brisbane in 1934-35, Betty Archdale hit an unbeaten 32, her highest Test score, out of an unexceptional total of 154 - which was enough to win the match by nine wickets. Australia made only 138 and lost the three-match series 2-0. Archdale went on to live in Australia, where she died in January 2000 aged 92.

1878
Against Kent at The Oval, Surrey wicketkeeper Ted Pooley made his eighth stumping of the match, then a record in first-class cricket. Against Sussex on the same ground in 1868, he made 12 dismissals, another world record at the time and still the record for a first-class match in England. One of the best keepers of his day, he never won an England cap - although he would have played in the inaugural Test, in Melbourne in 1876-77, if he hadn't been in jail. He was arrested following a betting scam in New Zealand.

Other birthdays
1905 Stan Worthington (England)
1905 Errol Holmes (England)
1935 Ken Taylor (England)
1961 VB Chandrasekhar (India)
1970 Keith Semple (West Indies)

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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