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December 2 down the years

Bodyline's quiet beginning

An uncontroversial start to the most controversial Test series in cricket history

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Douglas Jardine and Bill Woodfull: a tame start to cricket's most controversial series
Douglas Jardine and Bill Woodfull: a tame start to cricket's most controversial series © The Cricketer International
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1932
The first use of the word Bodyline, on the first day of the first Test at the SCG. Hugh Buggy sent his copy to the Melbourne Age using the phrase "body-line bowling" and his sub-editor, Ray Robinson, appeared to shorten this to one word. It was quickly picked up on. In the match itself Australia batted, and the sixth ball of Harold Larwood's first over - to an orthodox field - almost took Bill Woodfull's head off. Bill Ponsford and a padded Jack Fingleton also took painful blows. Don Bradman missed the match as he was in dispute with the board.

1977
The arrival of World Series cricket was greeted with apathy as barely 200 spectators were present at VFL Park outside Melbourne to watch Australia take on West Indies. On an uninspiring first day, Australia were bowled out for 256. It was a better performance than the official Australia side, who were playing in Brisbane. They managed just 166 against India.

1979
Birth of the Pakistani allrounder who is somewhat of a paradox. Abdul Razzaq spent most of his career playing it safe, digging in at No. 7, and breaking partnerships with his late inswingers. But every now and then he exploded: he became the youngest man to take a Test hat-trick against Sri Lanka in Galle in 1999-2000, and he creamed an amazing 40-ball 75 in the first one-dayer against England in Karachi in 2000-01. After stints in the ICL, he returned to the official fold in 2009, and immediately made an impact by helping Pakistan to the World T20 crown. in 2010, his nerveless unbeaten century gave Pakistan a thrilling one-wicket win off the penultimate ball against South Africa in Abu Dhabi.

1985
Only two batsmen passed 40 in the third one-dayer between Pakistan and West Indies in Peshawar - but one of them was Viv Richards, who decided the match with a violent 39-ball 66. It included five fours and four sixes, and West Indies eased home by 40 runs to take a 2-1 lead in a series they eventually won 3-2.

1992
In the drawn first Test between New Zealand and Sri Lanka in Moratuwa, John Wright became the first New Zealander to make 5000 Test runs when he reached 14 in the second innings. He celebrated by boring everyone to tears - he spent 222 balls and five hours over 42, although Andrew Jones later trumped him with a spectacular 102-ball, 149-minute 14.

1906
Eric Dalton, who was born today, was one of the finest all-round sportsmen produced by South Africa between the wars. Fortunately picked for the 1929 tour to England as a 22-year-old, he looked a very good, attacking middle-order batsman. On his return to England in 1935, he scored 1446 runs at 37.07, including his first Test hundred, at The Oval. With the wickets of Bob Wyatt and Wally Hammond in England's first innings he also contributed valuably to South Africa's famous victory at Lord's, their first over England in England. Dalton later concentrated on golf, a game which he also played with great distinction for many years.

1991
Meek surrender from the Indians in the first Test against Australia, in Brisbane, where they were soundly beaten by ten wickets. A pacy Gabba surface was not exactly the Indian batsmen's idea of fun, and the game was up from the moment they slipped to 83 for 6 on the first afternoon. Craig McDermott, Merv Hughes and Mike Whitney shared all 20 wickets to fall. The match was also the first to be officiated by a match referee - the former England captain MJK Smith did the honours.

1970
England's triumphant Ashes campaign got underway with a draw in Brisbane. That represented a decent effort after the Aussies stormed to 418 for 3 before losing 7 for 15 to John Snow and Derek Underwood. A solid England reply ensured a draw, and most attention centred on Colin Cowdrey, who passed Wally Hammond's world Test-record aggregate of 7249 runs when he reached 22.

1945
Birth of the first man to take a one-day international wicket. Australian tearaway Alan "Froggy" Thomson set the pyjama circus in motion when he had Geoff Boycott caught by Bill Lawry at the MCG in 1970-71. Boycott hadn't really grasped the essence of one-day cricket - his 8 took 37 balls. And this was Thomson's only one-day appearance. He also played four Tests against England the same winter.

Other birthdays

1849 Francis Allan (Australia)
1860 Charles Studd (England)
1910 Bob Newson (South Africa)
1912 George Emmett (England)
1947 Dhiraj Parsana (India)
1966 Clive Eksteen (South Africa)
1967 Naeem Akhtar (Pakistan)
1972 Sujith Somasunder (India)
1974 Robbie Hart (New Zeaalnd)
1981 Stefan Swanepoel (Namibia)

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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