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Butchery in Brisbane
The sort of all-action performance that makes you wonder how Michael Slater could ever have failed to make the Test team gave Australia the whip hand over Pakistan in the first Test, in Brisbane. Most batsmen would have started cautiously in reply to an imposing total of 367, but not Slater. He butchered 169 and put on 269 for the first wicket (a record for Australia v Pakistan) with Greg Blewett. And after Mark Waugh stroked an even hundred, Adam Gilchrist and Shane Warne rubbed it in. Gilchrist smacked an 88-ball 81 in his first Test innings, and Warne gleefully smeared four sixes during his 86, piling on 86 for the 10th wicket with his old mate Scott "Can't bowl can't field" Muller (6 not out).
Birth of Western Australia's Graeme Wood, a compact left-hand opener renowned for his stubborn determination and eccentric running - he became known as the "Kamikaze Kid" after a series of fiascos against England in 1978-79. Throughout his career Wood confounded expectations. Most notably, he followed hundreds in consecutive Tests (against England at Lord's in 1980 and New Zealand in Brisbane the following winter) with three successive ducks. His Test career looked to be over after the 1985 England tour when he struggled, apart from a 10-hour 172 at Trent Bridge, but outstanding domestic form saw him return in 1988-89. He made a brave hundred against Ambrose, Marshall, Walsh and Patterson on a Perth flyer, but was dropped for the final time after the next match, as Australia tried out another left-handed opener... Mark Taylor.
Preparing a traditional Calcutta dustbowl backfired on India as they went down to a 94-run defeat to Australia in the third Test. In all, 39 wickets fell in the match, and 35 of them went to spinners. Richie Benaud benefited more than anyone, taking 6 for 52 and 5 for 53, and though offspinner Ghulam Ahmed almost matched him with 7 for 49 and 3 for 81, a fourth-innings target of 231 proved beyond the Indians. It gave Australia a 2-0 series victory, neatly bringing down the curtain on the 45-Test career of their captain, Ian Johnson. He finished with exactly 1000 runs - and a slightly less symmetrical 109 wickets.
Birth of a true allrounder. New Zealander Geoff "Boney" Rabone was an aggressive batsman, an offspinner capable of turning to leggies or even medium-pace, an outstanding slip fielder and a popular captain. He captained New Zealand in five of his 12 Tests, and though they didn't actually win any of them, it was hardly Rabone's fault. At times he opened the batting and bowling, and he turned in some heroic performances, most notably in his first match as captain, against South Africa in Durban in 1953-54, when he made 107 (next-best: 32) and 68 (19) as the Kiwis went down to an innings defeat. He played his last Test against England in Auckland in 1954-55, when New Zealand were skittled for the all-time Test low of 26.
A rout in Harare, where Sri Lanka took their one-day series against Zimbabwe 2-1 with a thumping 191-run victory, then their biggest win in terms of runs. The old firm of Aravinda de Silva and Arjuna Ranatunga set them up with 143 in 24 overs, with de Silva batting through for an unbeaten 107. Zimbabwe were always going to be up against it chasing 297, and it was effectively over when Chaminda Vaas and Ravindra Pushpakumara reduced them to 22 for 5. They were finally all out for 105.
The birth of a West Indies legspinner. Devendra Bishoo, who made his first-class debut in 2008, tasted immediate success with four five-wicket hauls, and ten in one match, in his first couple of seasons. His attacking style of bowling had a major impact in the 2010 Caribbean T20 and he was called up to the West Indies squad for the 2011 World Cup. He made his Test debut in the same year, against Pakistan in Providence, and played a big part in the win with 4 for 68 in the first innings. He had a good series against Bangladesh in 2011 but he lost his place in the side after 11 Tests thanks to a loss of form and competition brought on by Sunil Narine and Shane Shillingford.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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