He should have been a paceman
Birth of a left-arm spinner whose career makes Phil Tufnell's look boring. With Tony Lock you got a bit of everything, and he belonged on the front page. There was a chucking rumpus (he was no-balled in the Jamaica Test in 1953-54), a fiery nature that would have better suited the quickest of bowlers, and some spectacular and fearless work at short leg. Most of all, though, there was a famous partnership for Surrey and England with Jim Laker. Lock is often remembered for taking only one wicket at Old Trafford in 1956, while Laker took 19. Lock settled in Perth, and captained Western Australia with panache for a while. He died in 1995.
A genial Kiwi is born. John Wright's style of batting - he had most of the shots; he just often chose not to use them - is pretty archaic nowadays, but he was a key part of New Zealand's coming of age as a Test nation in the 1970s and '80s. In his first Test innings, in Wellington in 1977-78, he batted nearly six hours for 55 - a vital innings in the Kiwis' first victory over England at the 48th attempt. Nine of his 12 Test hundreds came in draws. That should have been 12 in 15, but he was dismissed twice for 99 and once for 98. Wright averaged 61 against India, who he coached for nearly five years. His stint with New Zealand was much shorter, though it included a historic win over Australia in Hobart and a semi-final spot in the 2011 World Cup.
A boy who would grow into a giant and play for two countries. Born this day, fast bowler Boyd Rankin's six feet, seven inches allow him testing bounce even off sluggish surfaces, as when he took 12 wickets in the 2007 World Cup - including Younis Khan for a duck in Ireland's famous win over Pakistan. Rankin broke into the Derbyshire side on the back of his World Cup success and then moved to Warwickshire at the end of the 2007 season, a move that ultimately led to him switching national teams five years later. His England ODI debut came in September 2013, ironically against Ireland in Dublin, where he took four wickets in an England win. That was followed by a nervy debut-Test showing, against Australia in Sydney in January 2014. With prospects for further England outings diminishing, Rankin switched back to representing Ireland, shortly before the 2016 World T20.
A delirious start to an Ashes series. Once upon a time, the first day of the first Test between England and Australia would be a cagey affair - Australia closed on 207 for 3 in 1989 - but times had changed, and here there were 427 runs and 12 wickets in 87.3 extraordinary overs. Pick of the day was Alec Stewart and Andy Caddick's feverish slog. They added 103 for the tenth wicket in the blink of an eye, and the initiative was England's... for all of 15 minutes. Enter Michael Slater, who if he did nothing else all summer, gave Australia the whip hand in the series by lashing 18 runs off Darren Gough's first over. Normal service was resumed on the second day, with Steve Waugh grinding England down, and with Adam Gilchrist later belting an incredible 152, England were trounced within four days.
England pulled off their highest ever fourth-innings chase to retain the Pataudi Trophy, winning the final Test of the previous year's series, postponed on account of Covid fears. They came into the game having successfully chased targets of 277, 299 and 296 against New Zealand, and the 378 required here never looked insurmountable in the face of their new all-out-attacking approach. Earlier, hundreds by Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja took India to 416 in the first innings, which also featured a cameo by captain Jasprit Bumrah, where he scored 29 of the 35 runs that came off a Stuart Broad over, the most expensive in Tests. The unstoppable Jonny Bairstow was front and centre, making his third Test hundred in three matches in the first innings, then adding another in the chase with Joe Root, who reverse-swept Jadeja to bring up the win before lunch on the last day and square the series 2-2.
At Trent Bridge, Tom Graveney carved a famous 258 in the third Test against West Indies. England stormed to 619 for 6, but were denied victory by two wonderful innings: Frank Worrell carried his bat for 191 in the first innings, and after West Indies followed on, Collie Smith denied England with a Test-best 168 in the second.
A South African captain is born. The popular wicketkeeper-batter Jock Cameron was only 30 when he died of enteric fever in Johannesburg in 1935. Shortly before, he had excelled on South Africa's tour of England, famously hammering 30 off one Hedley Verity over in a tour match against Yorkshire. He was a superb, unobtrusive keeper, and a flashing batter who made ten fifties but no Test hundred.
Humiliation for England at Old Trafford. Their innings defeat to West Indies went into a fifth day, but in reality there were less than three days of playing time. England were bulldozed for 135 and then 93, with Malcolm Marshall taking 7 for 22 in an imperious second-innings display, the greatest figures of a great career. It all added up to a depressing five days for England's oldest debutant for 41 years. Essex's John Childs was 36 years 320 days, and bowled well for figures of 40-12-91-1. Shame about the rest. England started this final day on 60 for 3, rain their main hope of salvation. But Marshall washed them away in just over an hour - and within five minutes it started pouring down.
Richard Illingworth became the first Englishman in 44 years to take a wicket with the first ball of his Test career, against West Indies at Trent Bridge on this day. The forward defensive played by Phil Simmons could have come straight from the textbook, but to his horror the ball spun back and bowled him, hitting the stumps almost apologetically. The last Englishman to achieve the feat was another Worcestershire left-arm spinner, Dick Howorth. This one didn't affect the match, though: West Indies won by nine wickets to square the series at 1-1.