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September 8 down the years

The history boy

The youngest man to make a Test century

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Before Mushtaq Mohammad and Sachin Tendulkar, there was Mohammad Ashraful
Before Mushtaq Mohammad and Sachin Tendulkar, there was Mohammad Ashraful © AFP
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2001
A moment of history at the Sinhalese Sports Club, Colombo, as Mohammad Ashraful of Bangladesh became the youngest man, or boy, ever to make a Test century. Ashraful made 114 in Bangladesh's second innings against Sri Lanka, and though this did not have much of an impact on the result - trailing by 465 runs on first innings, Bangladesh were eventually bowled out for 328 - it was quite some consolation for the perennial whipping boys of world cricket. It was the day before Ashraful's 17th birthday, according to some sources, and 63 days after it, according to others; either way, he broke the long-standing record for the youngest centurion, set by Mushtaq Mohammad when he made 101 for Pakistan against India in 1960-61 (17 years, 82 days).

1944
Birth of a Test cricketer who became an important coach in the art of leg spin. Although he took 5 for 90 on a batsman's pitch in Port-of-Spain in 1972-73, Terry Jenner was best known for being hit on the head by England fast bowler John Snow in Sydney in 1970-71. But he made a significant contribution to Test cricket by recognising and nurturing the talent of Shane Warne. Jenner died at the age of 66, following prolonged illness.

1979
At long last, after defeat in two previous finals, Somerset won their first major trophy, beating Northants at Lord's to win the Gillette Cup. Their West Indian Test stars did all the damage. Viv Richards was made Man of the Match for his superb 117, and big Joel Garner sent the ball down from the stratosphere to take 6 for 29. Like people waiting for a bus, Somerset spent 104 years without winning a title - then two came along together: they won the Sunday League the following day.

1952
England Test selector Geoff Miller was born. Although he surprised many people, including himself, by playing in 34 Tests, there were moments where he looked a useful allrounder. He helped England beat a weakened Australia 5-1 in 1978-79, taking his only five-wicket haul in Sydney. Typical of a nearly man, he twice hit 98 in Tests. His biggest moment came in Melbourne in 1982-83. A long last-wicket stand left Australia needing only four runs to win when Jeff Thomson edged Ian Botham to slip. Chris Tavaré could only get his fingertips to it, but Miller pouched the rebound for a dramatic victory.

1914
Before Daniel Vettori arrived in 1996-97, New Zealand's youngest Test player was Doug Freeman, who was born today. He was only 18 years 197 days old when he played in the first of his two Tests, both against a powerful England side that had just regained the Ashes in 1932-33. While the mighty Wally Hammond was hitting 227 in Christchurch, and a world record 336 not out in Auckland, Freeman's leg spin was bringing him figures of 0 for 78 and 1 for 91. His only Test victim was a distinguished one: the great Herbert Sutcliffe, caught by Lindsay "Dad" Weir for 24. Young Freeman's entire first-class career consisted of only five matches.

1989
Sri Lanka middle-order batsman Lahiru Thirimanne, born today, impressed with a quick half-century in a tricky chase in an ODI in Johannesburg in January 2012. He got two more in the next couple of months in the CB Series in Australia, and was also involved in a Mankading attempt by R Ashwin during his 62 in Brisbane. Thirimanne made his Test debut in 2011 in England as a replacement for the injured Tillakaratne Dilshan.

Other birthdays
1908 Johnny Lindsay (South Africa)
1966 Ghulam Ali (Pakistan)
1969 KN Ananthapadmanabhan

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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