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December 7 down the years

Quite a spectacle

Henry makes an entrance

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Geoff Lawson: a qualified optician, and a pretty handy fast bowler too
Geoff Lawson: a qualified optician, and a pretty handy fast bowler too © Getty Images
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1957
Birth of a fast bowler. Geoff Lawson was lean and mean, and pretty quick on his day. He first came to prominence when he bounced Geoff Boycott in a tour game, and was soon at it for real in Tests. He had an urgent run-up and a goose-stepping delivery stride, but in 46 Tests he took 180 wickets, 34 of them in the 1982-83 Ashes series. Lawson was a qualified optician and was once fined for examining an umpire's spectacles after a series of his appeals had been turned down.

1959
The birth of Saleem Yousuf, the combative Pakistan wicketkeeper, who in 32 Tests collected 91 catches and 13 stumpings. He also managed 1000 Test runs, without a century.

1997
A national record at the National Stadium. Aamer Sohail (160) and Ijaz Ahmed (151) clubbed a handy West Indian attack (Walsh, Dillon, Rose, Bishop, Hooper) all round Karachi. They put on 298, a Pakistan record for the first wicket, and set up a ten-wicket victory, helped by nine wickets from Saqlain Mushtaq and seven from Wasim Akram.

1983
A devastating double in the fourth ODI in Jamshedpur, where Gordon Greenidge hammered 115 from 134 balls, with 10 fours and five sixes... yet was outblasted by Viv Richards, who smashed 20 fours and three sixes as he cruised to a majestic 149 from only 99 balls. They piled on 221 in 26 overs. Unsurprisingly, West Indies' 333 for 8 proved far too many for India (229 for 5), although Sunil Gavaskar did make 83.

1970
The only English-born West Indian Test player saw the light of day in London. Courtney Browne was one of several wicketkeepers auditioned for the role of Jeff Dujon's replacement and found wanting. He did take nine catches in the match at Trent Bridge in 1995, and was at one point Ridley Jacobs' understudy. In one-dayers his most memorable moment came with the bat - at The Oval against England in 2004 the No. 9, Browne, and No. 10, Ian Bradshaw, lifted West Indies from 147 to 8 to complete an improbable chase of 218 and give them the Champions Trophy title. After his playing career ended, Browne worked as a selector for the national side.

1968
The second day of the high-scoring series between Australia and West Indies found Bill Lawry and Ian Chappell clumping centuries in Brisbane and putting on 217. But Australia then collapsed to 284, and West Indies, for whom Clive Lloyd made 129, ran out winners by 125 runs.

1869
Birth of an affable Australian. Frank Laver toured England three times, the last in 1909 as player/manager. It was an argument over the Australian players' right to choose their own manager (they wanted Laver again) that led to a schism with the board in 1912. As a batsman Laver was ugly but effective, and he was rather more than that as a bowler - he took 8 for 31 at Old Trafford in 1909 with his medium-pacers. He died in Melbourne in 1919.

1992
The first official ODI in South Africa. Hansie Cronje took 5 for 32 with his medium-paced wobblers as India were bowled out for 184 in Cape Town. South Africa overhauled that with three balls to spare after a laboured 43 in 100 balls from Kepler Wessels, who was the first man to be given out by the video umpire in an ODI.

Other birthdays
1856 Wilfred Flowers (England)
1882 Kenneth Hutchings (England)
1957 Rohan Jayasekera (Sri Lanka)
1897 George Macaulay (England)
1902 Janardhan Navle (India)
1914 Winston Place (England)
1982 Beau Casson (Australia)

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