A chillingly hostile bowler is born
Not for nothing was the autobiography of John Snow, who was born today, called Cricket Rebel. A beautifully rhythmic bowler capable of chilling hostility, Snow would have played many more than 49 Tests were it not for his propensity to rub people up the wrong way. He only went on three England tours - but played crucial roles in two of them. In the West Indies in 1967-68, he took 27 wickets in four Tests and dismissed Garry Sobers first ball for the second consecutive innings in which he had bowled to him. And he took 31 wickets when the Ashes were regained in Australia in 1970-71, a series in which no England bowler gained an lbw decision. In the fourth Test in Sydney, Snow took a Test-best 7 for 40, and in the seventh Test, on the same ground, he forced a mini-riot when he thudded a short one into Terry Jenner's head. But there was another side to the ever-popular Snow - he had two books of poetry published and set up a travel company when he retired.
The birth of the man who invented the googly. Bernard Bosanquet was the original mischievous legspinner, who perfected the googly (known for many years in Australia as a "bosie"), essentially an offbreak bowled by a leggie with no discernible change in action, while fooling around on a billiards table. Legend has it that the first googly he bowled in Australia, in 1903-04, took out Victor Trumper's middle stump, and that opposing captains would sometimes complain that it was an unfair tactic. Bosanquet played in only seven Tests, but he was an instant success - among bowlers with 25 wickets or more, only George Lohmann and Mike Procter have higher strike rates than Bosanquet's 38.80 balls per wicket. He died in Surrey in 1936.
Birth of the genial Petrus Stephanus "Fanie" de Villiers, who made the most of every last drop of talent to become a hugely effective swing bowler for South Africa on their return to international cricket. He was 29 when he made his debut, in Melbourne in 1993-94, and he won the next match - a thriller in Sydney - with a ten-wicket haul. He also took 10 for 108 against Pakistan in Johannesburg in 1994-95 - and he was a doughty batsman too; in that match he slashed 66, batting at No. 10, and in Ahmedabad two years later, he top-scored with 67 in a low-scoring dogfight. Fanie is remembered by many as the man whose injudicious bouncer prompted Devon Malcolm's "You guys are history" outburst at The Oval in 1994.
Viv Richards brutalised the Sri Lankan attack in a World Cup match in Karachi. He smote 181 from only 125 balls, and his last 81 runs came off 27 deliveries. West Indies made 360 for 4, the highest ODI total at the time, and Sri Lanka didn't even bother trying to get them - instead they settled for a 191-run defeat with only four wickets down. Ashantha de Mel got Richards in the end, but only after he'd disappeared to all parts - his 1 for 97 was the most expensive ten-over spell in ODI history. The dubious record was surpassed by another Sri Lankan, Muttiah Muralitharan, against Australia in Sydney in February 2006, and again a few months after that by Australia's Mick Lewis, who conceded 113 off his ten overs against South Africa in Johannesburg.
On the same day England staged the sort of collapse that would become wearyingly familiar in one-day cricket. They needed 34 off four overs to beat Pakistan in their World Cup game in Rawalpindi with six wickets in hand but lost the plot completely as all six went down for 15 in 16 balls. England had earlier done well to restrict Pakistan to 239 for 7, but their twin demons - legspin (Abdul Qadir was Man of the Match with 4 for 31), and an inability to keep a cool head (Derek Pringle, John Emburey and Neil Foster were all run out as blind panic set in) cost them dear.
Another one-dayer between West Indies and Sri Lanka, and another masterclass from an all-time great. In Sharjah, Curtly Ambrose returned figures of 10-5-5-1, the second-most economical ten-over spell in one-day history. But he almost ended up on the losing side. West Indies were 115 for 6 chasing 179 before Jimmy Adams saw them home with a cool unbeaten 74.
Pakistan wrapped up a comfortable six-wicket victory over New Zealand in the first Test in Lahore. Javed Miandad added 25 not out to his first-innings 163 in the first match of what became a remarkable career. Miandad is one of only two batsmen (Herbert Sutcliffe is the other) whose Test average never dropped below 50. His nadir, if it can reasonably be called that, came in Faisalabad in 1982-83, when he made six against Australia and his average dropped to 51.74. He finished with 8832 runs at 52.57.
Hitesh Modi, born today, made his debut for Kenya in 1992 and was the mainstay of their middle order through the 1996, 1999 and 2003 World Cups. He was named Kenya's captain in 2004 when the senior players went on strike over contract payments, but was replaced when the dispute ended. His moderate one-day form - he failed to make a fifty between 2002 and 2006 - along with him being based in the UK, led to him being dropped. His father Subhash was an umpire, who uniquely stood in a one-day international that his son played in, against West Indies in Nairobi in 2001.
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