December 7 down the years

Quite a spectacle

Henry makes an entrance

Geoff Lawson: a qualified optician, and a pretty handy fast bowler too Adrian Murrell / © Getty Images

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.

New Zealand won their first away series against Pakistan in 49 years with a big victory in Abu Dhabi. Their captain, Kane Williamson, made up for a first-innings deficit with a measured but brilliant second-innings hundred (to go with his 89 in the first) and batted nearly all of day four along with Henry Nicholls (126 not out) to set Pakistan a target of 280. By lunch on the final day, Pakistan's top five were back in the dressing room with only 55 on the scoreboard; they didn't survive till tea. Thirty-four-year-old debutant offspinner Will Somerville took seven wickets in the Test. The one highlight of the match for Pakistan was that their legspinner Yasir Shah, also the Man of the Series for his 29 wickets, became the fastest to 200 Test wickets.

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.

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.

India beat South Africa by 337 runs in Delhi. But the margin of victory does not reflect the 15-plus hours that South Africa's top-order batters spent at the crease in the second innings, blocking like their lives depended on it. Temba Bavuma (153 minutes), Hashim Amla (289), AB de Villiers (354) and Faf du Plessis (120) defied the Indian bowling for four sessions, and despite the eventual collapse, South Africa managed a total of 143 at 0.99 per over. India's top four bowlers sent down 87 maiden overs. Ajinkya Rahane became the fifth Indian to score two hundreds in a Test, and spinners R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja shared 14 wickets in the match, the last in the series, which India swept 3-0.

A devastating double in the fourth ODI in Jamshedpur, where Gordon Greenidge hammered 115 from 134 balls, with ten fours and five sixes, but 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.

The only English-born West Indian Test player saw the light of day in London on this day. 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.

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.

England's limited-overs tour of South Africa was called off before the ODI leg, after positive Covid test results were returned from both teams' biosecure camps and among the staff of the hotels they were staying in. Earlier, on December 4, the first ODI was called off less than an hour before the toss after a South Africa player tested positive, and was then postponed twice more in three days after reports of unconfirmed positive tests from the England camp as well. This was the first ongoing international series to be called off after a bio-bubble breach.

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 batter 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.

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 Wilf Flowers (England)
1882 Kenneth Hutchings (England)
1957 Rohan Jayasekera (Sri Lanka)
1897 George Macaulay (England)
1902 Janardan Navle (India)
1914 Winston Place (England)
1982 Beau Casson (Australia)