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December 28 down the years

Enter Intikhab

The birth of a fine Pakistani legspinner

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Sunil Gavaskar: master of the game
Sunil Gavaskar: master of the game © Getty Images
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1941
From the moment legspinner Intikhab Alam, born today, took a wicket with his first ball in Test cricket (at age 17), he became a fixture in the Pakistan side. That first victim was the classy Australian opener Colin McDonald in Pakistan's third Test against Australia in Karachi in 1959-60. Alam was no mug with the bat either, sharing a famous lower-order stand with Asif Iqbal at The Oval in 1967 and hitting a hundred against England in Hyderabad in 1972-73, the season in which he captained Pakistan to their first series win abroad, in New Zealand. He became Pakistan's coach in 2000 briefly before the board surprisingly returned to him in October 2008 for another stint as replacement for Geoff Lawson.

1983
Batting against West Indies in Madras, Sunil Gavaskar scored his 30th Test century, breaking the record set by Don Bradman back in 1948. Gavaskar eventually weighed in with 34 tons.

1926
It was a relief for New South Wales (and everyone else) when Victoria were finally all out for 1107. Victoria's batsmen were an insatiable bunch in those days: this broke their own world record of 1059 set against little Tasmania, also in Melbourne, four years previously. Those are the only instances of a side reaching 1000 in a first-class innings. Bill Ponsford, a real trencherman when it came to runs, gorged himself with 352, while Jack Ryder may have been disappointed to get out for 295. That talented and whimsical Test legspinner Arthur Mailey took four wickets, but they cost him 362 runs from 64 overs (no maidens). His figures would have been better, he said, if he hadn't had two catches dropped by a man in a trilby hat in the pavilion.

2015
New Zealand opener Martin Guptill was in a tearing hurry, bashing a 30-ball unbeaten 93 in the second ODI against Sri Lanka at the Hagley Oval on this day. Guptill's blitz settled the chase of 118 in just 8.2 overs. His fifty, off 17 balls, was the fastest by a New Zealander, equalling the record for the second-fastest in ODIs. Eighty-four of his runs came off boundaries alone (including eight sixes).

1940
The dreaded Nelson did Arthur Morris no great harm in Sydney. Playing for New South Wales against Queensland, he made that 111 after 148 in the first innings, becoming the first of only three players to score a hundred in each innings of his first-class debut. After a start like that, 12 Test centuries for Australia were no great surprise.

1905
One of the worst Test cricketers of all time was born - with a drawerful of silver spoons in his mouth. When he captained India on their disastrous 1936 tour of England, he was knighted, and so became Sir Gajapatairaj Vijaya Ananda, the Maharajkumar of Vizianagram. Vijaya means victory, Ananda happiness, but there was precious little of either on that trip, even though India sent a strong team. Vizzy sent the great Lala Amarnath home, ended the Test careers of class acts like CK Nayudu and Wazir Ali, and ordered one of his openers to run the other out in a Test. He didn't: they both scored hundreds in a big stand - but India lost the series easily. All because of Viz, a comic giant.

1975
Big and red-bearded, Gary Cosier could hit a cricket ball seriously hard, never more so than in Melbourne when he became the first Australian to score a Test hundred against West Indies on his Test debut. He hit a big ton against Pakistan on the same ground in 1976-77, but eventually averaged only 28.93 in his 18 Tests.

1934
The first day of the first women's Test, between Australia and England in Brisbane. Australia were bowled out for 47. Myrtle Maclagan took 7 for 10. England went on to win by nine wickets.

1938
Slim and bespectacled, shy to the point of going almost unnoticed in later life, Paul Gibb scored a century on his Test debut today, for England in Johannesburg, having come close to one in the first innings.

1926
An England captain is born... in Germany. Donald Carr played only two Tests, the second as captain, on MCC's 1951-52 tour of India and Pakistan. He's better known for what he did upon retirement: first he was secretary of the England board, and then he became an ICC match referee.

1920
Another cricketer who played in glasses, South African slow left-armer Norman "Tufty" Mann, was born. When he bamboozled Middlesex and England's George Mann in a tour match during the 1951 series, John Arlott led the rush to state the obvious: "Mann's inhumanity to Mann."

1975
Trevor Gripper, born today, impressed the selectors with a fifty in a warm-up against the touring Australians in 1999-2000, and was given a Test debut against them the following week, where he hit 60 in the second innings. After a spell out of the side, he returned for the tour of Bangladesh late in 2001, and ground out a maiden Test century in Chittagong. His international career hit the buffers when he joined the rebel strike in support of Heath Streak, and although all the players returned to work, Gripper was not among those reselected.

Other birthdays
1889 Albert Hartkopf (Australia)
1910 Jack Kerr (New Zealand)
1911 Robert Levick (South Africa)
1911 Frederick Levick (South Africa)
1920 Nyron Asgarali (West Indies)
1927 Norma Whiteman (Australia)
1935 Eileen Massey (Australia)
1949 Steve Bernard (Australia)
1968 Chaminda Mendis (Sri Lanka)
1969 Luuk van Troost (Netherlands)
1978 Josephine Barnard (South Africa)

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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