July 7 down the years

An audacious Indian

MS Dhoni is born

The World Cup win in 2011: MS Dhoni's crowning achievement © AFP

Birth of the first international cricketer from Jharkhand. When a call-up to the national side came, MS Dhoni wasted no time in asserting himself, smashing identical scores of 148 against Pakistan in his fifth ODI and his fifth Test. His audacious approach at the crease, and the success he achieved, immediately drew comparisons with Adam Gilchrist, though he was also a nerveless Bevan-esque finisher, happy to take the chase to the last over and get 'em in boundaries. Only three years into international cricket, Dhoni was appointed India's one-day and T20 captain. He led India to victory in the World T20 in 2007 and the CB Series the following year. He took over the Test captaincy later in 2008 and oversaw memorable series wins over Australia, England and New Zealand, and India went on to become No. 1 in the format. But Dhoni was also in charge when they lost the top ranking in embarrassing fashion, with eight straight overseas losses to England and Australia in 2011 and 2012. However, he is likely to be best remembered for leading India to the World Cup title in 2011. He captained India to a 4-0 whitewash of Australia at home and then unbeaten to the Champions Trophy title, both in 2013, and to the World T20 final the following year - at the tail-end of which, during the tour of Australia, he gave up the captaincy and announced his retirement from Test cricket. In 2017, he stepped down as the limited-overs captain. A year later he returned to his beloved Chennai Super Kings - the franchise making a comeback after a two year-ban - and led them to their third IPL title.

The end of another painful era for English cricket - and the beginning of a glorious one. Ian Botham's reign as England captain encompassed no wins in 12 Tests, and reached a nadir when he bagged a pair against Australia at Lord's. Botham resigned - in a classy touch, the chairman of selectors, Alec Bedser, later told the world he'd have been sacked anyway - and vowed never again to raise his bat to the Lord's members. They'd blanked him when he was bowled round his legs by Ray Bright for his second duck. England were in disarray, but within two months they were celebrating perhaps the greatest summer in English cricket history.

Mohammad Ashraful, born today, may well have been most the most talented Bangladeshi batter of his era, but history will remember him primarily for his involvement in fixing matches in the Bangladesh Premier League. Things had looked far less gloomy on his debut, when, at 17, he became the youngest player to score a Test century. He then scored an unbeaten 158 against India in a Test in 2004, and a historic match-winning hundred in an ODI against Australia in 2005. But that was the peak of his career. He was made captain in 2007, but his batting suffered, and Bangladesh failed to win a single Test under his charge. Two years later the selectors decided to take the responsibility away from him so he could concentrate on his batting. In 2013, Ashraful was suspended after he confessed to being involved in fixing matches in the BPL. The board banned him for eight years, with three years suspended.

An away series win for Pakistan against Sri Lanka after the third Test in Pallekele. Pakistan, traditionally nervy chasers, surprised themselves by overhauling 377, their highest successful chase in Tests. Younis Khan led the way with an unbeaten 171, aided by the young Shan Masood, who scored 125, also his maiden century. Yasir Shah spun Pakistan to victory in the first Test in Galle, but the hosts fought back in the second in Colombo, thanks to contributions by Dhammika Prasad and Tharindu Kaushal. In the deciding game, for the first time since 2000, Sri Lanka went in without the experienced duo of Mahela Jayawardene (who had retired) and the out-going Kumar Sangakkara. Though they retained control for most of the game, Sri Lanka were unable to restrict Pakistan when it mattered the most.

Vikram Solanki became the first Supersub - a rule where a player could be replaced at any stage in the match, but unlike a traditional 12th man, the substitute could bat, bowl, field and keep wicket - in ODI cricket. He didn't get to bat but that didn't matter as England notched up their biggest win at the time (in terms of wickets) over Australia, at Headingley. Paul Collingwood took four wickets, including three in 14 balls - the spell during which Solanki replaced Simon Jones in the field. Marcus Trescothick and Michael Vaughan took charge of the 220-run chase and finished with room to spare. The experiment with the Supersub didn't last beyond early 2006.

Karen Rolton seized the record for highest score in a women's Test from her team-mate Michelle Gonsko (who had jointly shared it with New Zealand's Kirsty Flavell) and became only the third woman to score a Test double-century at Headingley. Her unbeaten 209 was 65 more than England's first-innings total - courtesy a Cathryn Fitzpatrick five-for - and she hit 29 fours and one six in her innings. Australia won by nine wickets and Rolton held the record for a year before it was taken, first by India's Mithali Raj and then by Pakistan's Kiran Baluch.

An unusual start to the Australian innings at Old Trafford. Gubby Allen, opening the attack for England, sent down a 13-ball over, thanks to four wides and three no-balls. His luck didn't improve - he finished with 0 for 113 in a high-scoring draw.

Birth of George Hearne, the oldest of the three Test-playing Hearne brothers (Frank and Alec were the others), and cousin of the famous JT Hearne. He played only one Test, against South Africa in Cape Town in 1891-92 - Frank was on the opposite side - a match in which he scored 0 and didn't bowl. But he did take 686 first-class wickets for Kent, at an average of under 17. He died in London in 1932.

Douglas Hondo, the right-arm swing bowler who walked out of international cricket following a row with the Zimbabwe board when they demanded he shave his dreadlocks, is born. Before the hair issues Hondo was a promising fast bowler who benefited from a spell at the MRF Pace Academy in Chennai and club cricket in England. In his last Test, in 2005, he took his best figures of 6 for 96 in Dhaka. In 56 ODIs, Hondo picked up 61 wickets at 35.59.

A debut century. Gloucestershire opener Arthur Milton made a chancy 104 not out for England against New Zealand at Headingley, and England lost just two wickets in winning the match by an innings. Tony Lock and Jim Laker shared 19 wickets as the Kiwis were swept away for 67 and 129. In between, England declared on 267 for 2. But Milton played only six Tests, never again making more than 36. He also played one match for England's football team, after only a few league appearances.

In Mumbai, an English left-arm spinner is born. Kent's Min Patel was the victim of a classic piece of nonsense selection. In 1996 he was given his Test debut - against India, whose batters are imperious players of spin. On a green seamer at Edgbaston, Patel hardly got a bowl, and then was cuffed around on a Trent Bridge shirtfront.

It felt as if Steve Waugh had been batting forever when he was finally dismissed for the first time in the series, bowled by England's debutant seamer Angus Fraser in the third Test, at Edgbaston. It ended 13 hours, four minutes and 393 runs of sheer pain - those 393 runs without being dismissed are an Ashes record. Wisden Cricket Monthly said it was like "watching the final episode of a very long-running serial, the end of which had never realistically been forecast". Sadly for England, Waugh commissioned umpteen sequels.

Other birthdays
1873 Vincent Tancred (South Africa)
1938 Marjorie Marvell (Australia)
1977 Shazam Babwah (West Indies)