February 2 down the years

Hadlee's slow start

The great Sir Richard makes his debut

Richard Hadlee took 2 for 112 on debut © Getty Images

New Zealand's greatest cricketer made his debut. Sir Richard Hadlee started fairly inauspiciously with 2 for 112 in the first Test against Pakistan in Wellington, and after 17 Tests he averaged 35. If he had been English, he might not have played again. Thankfully for New Zealand, he did - against England, and a ten-for in Wellington in 1977-78 sparked a great career.

West Indies chalked up their first Test series win over a team other than Bangladesh or Zimbabwe in nearly seven years with an imperious ten-wicket drubbing of England in North Sound to follow up the beating they administered the visitors in Bridgetown in the first Test. Jason Holder and Kemar Roach, the heroes of that win, were to the fore again, taking four wickets each on day three in Antigua and polishing England off for 132, leaving a target of 14 to win. The last wicket in that England innings fell to a catch by Alzarri Joseph, who was playing the Test despite the death of his mother the day before the start of the match. England came back emphatically to win the dead-rubber third Test, where West Indies were weakened by the absence of Holder, suspended - to widespread outrage - for being behind on the over rate in the Antigua win.

An awful innings from Graham Gooch - and a match-winning one too. Though he hardly middled a thing, Gooch somehow made 114 on a horrible Auckland pitch in the second Test against New Zealand. With Allan Lamb walloping a cheeky 47-ball 60, England were always in control. Their 168-run win made it four in a row - for the first time since 1979 - and confirmed New Zealand's first series defeat at home since 1978-79.

In St Kitts, an England seamer with a Test average of exactly 20 was born. Joey Benjamin is a bit of a statistical freak, as he played only one Test, against South Africa at The Oval in 1994, when he was 33. A bustling, busy bowler, Benjamin took 4 for 42 in the first innings, helping England to a famous eight-wicket victory. He went on the Ashes tour that winter and played a couple of one-dayers, but never got near another Test appearance.

David Boon saved the Bicentennial Test with a rugged, unbeaten 184 against England in Sydney. His 492-minute innings came after Australia had followed on, but on a pitch that was expected to turn, John Emburey and Eddie Hemmings toiled through 90 second-innings overs for one dismissal. That's a strike rate of 540 balls per wicket.

You can't keep a good man down. Boon got yet another Test ton today, against India in Perth. The trampoline bounce meant that 33 out of 36 wickets fell to catches in this match - a Test record. Despite a sumptuous first-innings century from the 18-year-old Sachin Tendulkar, Australia won it by 300 runs to clinch a 4-0 thrashing when India collapsed from 82 for 0 to 141 all out on the last day, with Mike Whitney taking 7 for 27.

Birth of Aminul Islam, the Bangladeshi who made a century in his country's inaugural Test. He was the third person to do so, after Australia's Charles Bannerman and Zimbabwe's Dave Houghton, but like Bangladesh, Islam struggled since that 145, which came against India in Dhaka in November 2000. He played his final Test in December 2002.

Left-handed opener Upul Tharanga, born today, created a stir with two hundreds and a half-century in Sri Lanka's 5-0 victory over England in 2006. He scored three more half-centuries in the 2007 World Cup. While his one-day batting remained consistent, his Test form dipped, and he was dogged by inconsistency. He was dropped for four months after a tour to Australia but struck a scintillating 174 in Kingston on his return. While he continued to play ODIs, it was nearly seven years before he played another Test - against South Africa in 2014, whereupon he made 83.

Karnataka won their seventh Ranji title, beating a listless Maharashtra by seven wickets in the final, in Hyderabad. Only Mumbai have won the title more times. Centuries from KL Rahul and Ganesh Satish, and Maharashtra's shoddy fielding, gave Karnataka a 210-run first-innings lead. Kedar Jadhav made a hundred in Maharashtra's second innings, helped along by some defensive fielding tactics, but the target of 157 in a little over two sessions was an easy one for Karnataka's batting line-up on day five.

England's horrific Ashes campaign, in which they won only one match out of 13, finally came to an end with an 84-run defeat in the third T20, in Sydney. They suffered several casualties on the way: Jonathan Trott quit the tour after the first Test due to a stress-related illness, Graeme Swann retired before the fourth, Andy Flower, the director of cricket and mastermind of three Ashes wins, was asked to step down at the end of the tour, and Kevin Pietersen, their stormy petrel extraordinarire, was shown the door a few days later.

The first Test hat-trick outside Melbourne. Johnny Briggs ended Australia's second innings on the fourth day in Sydney by dismissing Walter Giffen, Jack Blackham and Sydney Callaway off consecutive deliveries. Briggs was the third to achieve the feat - Frederick Spofforth and Billy Bates had done it previously, at the MCG in 1878-79 and 1882-83 - and the first in defeat. Australia won by 72 runs, after conceding a first-innings lead of 163.

Birth of Imrul Kayes, the Bangladesh opening batter who made his international debut in 2008, but lost his place in the one-day team after three low scores. When he was recalled in early 2010, Kayes made his maiden one-day hundred, in a loss in Christchurch. He did finally star in a victory when he scored a composed 60 in Bangladesh's World Cup win over England in 2011. In 2015, against Pakistan in Khulna, he hit 150 and added a Bangladesh record 312 for the first wicket with Tamim Iqbal. A year later, Kayes scored a crucial second-innings 78 in Bangladesh's historic win over England in Dhaka.

Birth of Kusal Mendis, who announced himself in a crisis. In July 2016, when the 21-year-old walked out to bat in the second innings in Pallekele against Australia, Sri Lanka were 6 for 2 and 80 runs behind. He batted all day and when he was dismissed for 176 the next day, Sri Lanka were 204 runs ahead and on the way to a 106-run win. A month before the Pallekele Test, Mendis made 51 on one-day debut, against Ireland, and then reeled off four half-centuries in five innings, in ODIs against England and Australia. In 2017 and 2018, Mendis made two big Test hundreds against Bangladesh, home and away, with a second-innings hundred against India sandwiched in between. In 2021, Sri Lanka Cricket suspended Mendis, Danushka Gunathilka and Niroshan Dickwella for breaching a Covid-19 bio-bubble in Durham during the team's tour of England.

Other birthdays
1949 Sunil Wettimuny (Sri Lanka)
1954 Jayantha Amerasinghe (Sri Lanka)
1969 Ijaz Ahmed jr (Pakistan)
1985 Vaughn van Jaarsveld (South Africa)