Houghton's Hyderabad heroics
Hyderabad in India witnessed one of the greatest one-day innings of all time. Zimbabwe's captain Dave Houghton hammered a brilliant 142 off 137 balls, with 13 fours and six sixes, as his side fell an agonising four runs short of their target of 243 in a World Cup match against New Zealand. Houghton lost ten pounds in the oppressive heat and by the end, with cramps taking full toll, he could hardly walk. It was the first one-day hundred by a Zimbabwean, and remained their joint-highest score in an ODI, until Craig Wishart hit 172 not out against Namibia in the World Cup in 2003.
Matthew Hayden bludgeoned his way to 380 in Perth in the first Test against Zimbabwe, to break Brian Lara's record for the highest individual score in Test cricket. Resuming on 183, he never tired of crushing the ball to the boundary off the tired bowlers. With a bright array of cuts, straight drives and pulls he clobbered 38 fours and 11 sixes in ten hours at the crease. Adam Gilchrist, with an 84-ball century, played a good support role but was firmly in the shade. Lara called to congratulate Hayden, and against England six months later, claimed the record back.
Birth of the chunky New Zealander Lance Cairns (father of Chris), a wrong-footed line-and-length merchant with the ball but a real biffer with the bat. His bowling was certainly his stronger suit, and his finest hour came at Headingley in 1983, when he took 10 for 144 to lead New Zealand to their first Test victory in England at the 29th attempt. But his most memorable performances came with the shoulderless bat he brandished so brutally: in 1979-80, with Otago 48 for 8, he scored his only first-class century in 45 balls; and in 1982-83 he smashed the then-fastest one-day fifty, off 21 balls in Melbourne.
Birth of one of the last of a rare breed - the West Indian fast-medium bowler. Barbados-born Vanburn Holder was a quality away-swing bowler whose decline coincided with the advent of the West Indian policy of using four out-and-out quicks. As befits a master craftsman, Holder took 74 of his 109 Test wickets overseas. But he only took three five-fors in 40 Tests, and his strike rate (83.44 balls per wicket) was never going to cut the mustard, with the likes of Andy Roberts and Colin Croft bursting onto the scene. A dignified, popular character, he also played for Worcestershire.
Pakistan's first Test series defeat in their adopted home of the UAE, since they moved base in 2010, came at the hands of Sri Lanka, who had overcome a horrendous run of form to win the first match of the two-Test series on a thrilling, see-sawing final day in Abu Dhabi. The situation was nearly the same in Dubai; only, this time Pakistan, who had dismissed Sri Lanka for 96 in the second innings thanks to Wahab Riaz, and started the final day needing another 119 runs with five wickets in hand, didn't last even one session. Captain Sarfraz Ahmed's dismissal, after he had added 173 hope-filling runs with Asad Shafiq, triggered a collapse. Offspinner Dilruwan Perera took eight wickets in the match.
Zimbabwe relied extensively on the services of Vusi Sibanda , who was born on this day, but with more expectation than results. A contemporary of Tatenda Taibu and Stuart Matsikenyeri, Sibanda was identified as a special talent in his formative years and made an impression on his ODI debut with a half-century against West Indies. A series of disappointing performances followed, but the crisis in the national side meant Sibanda continued to hold his place. He played in Zimbabwe's comeback Test, contributing 78 and 38 in the win over Bangladesh.
The birth of one of the unsung heroes of the great West Indies team that shocked England in 1950. Gerry Gomez was an understated allrounder whose high point as a player came in Australia in 1951-52, when he averaged 36 with the bat and 14 with the ball - including 7 for 55 in Sydney - despite his side losing the series 1-4, and he was also manager of the team that toured Australia in 1960-61. He stood, at short notice, in the third Test between West Indies and Australia in Georgetown in 1964-65, even though he had never before officiated in a first-class match. He died of a heart attack in his native Trinidad in 1996.
In Harare, Zimbabwe claimed only their second Test victory. In the one-off Test against India, they had the best of a low-scoring game to win by 61 runs. Neil Johnson took the key wicket of Sachin Tendulkar, caught behind for 7, as India crashed wretchedly to 133 for 9 in pursuit of 235. The last pair, Javagal Srinath and Harbhajan Singh, swung the bat merrily, but they were never in danger of salvaging anything more than pride, and India's overseas drought continued: since beating England in 1986 they had played 42 Tests away from home and won only one of them.
Only five appearances at the top table for the exotically monickered West Indian Clairmonte Depeiaza, who was born today, but he was part of the highest seventh-wicket partnership in Test history, in Bridgetown in 1954-55. He came in at 147 for 6, after Australia had amassed 668, and added 347 with Denis Atkinson. The pair batted throughout the fourth day, and Depeiaza's 122 was his only first-class hundred as well as his only Test score over 16. Their partnership was a first-class record too, until Pankaj Dharmani and Bhupinder Singh added 460 for Punjab v Delhi in 1994-95.
In Wellington, Harry Cave was born. He was the best of an extended family of cricketers known almost inevitably as "The Cavemen", and he captained New Zealand in nine of his 19 Tests. His performances were modest, as a record of 34 wickets at 43 suggests, but he did play a crucial role in his country's first Test win, over West Indies in Auckland in 1955-56, with match figures of 8 for 43 from 40 overs.
Birth of New Zealand wicketkeeper Artie Dick whose 17 Tests were spread out over four countries - at home, South Africa, Pakistan and England. In his first Test, in Durban in 1962, Dick was a busy man - taking six catches and effecting one stumping. He got his only fifty in the same series, in New Zealand's 72-run win in in Cape Town. Dick played first-class cricket for Otago and Wellington.
Birth of the elegant Australian batsman Johnny Taylor, who is best remembered for his solitary Test century, against England in Sydney in 1924-25. He made 108 and added 127 for the last wicket with Arthur Mailey - which stood as an Australian record in Ashes Tests for 90-odd years - despite a boil on the back of his knee which was being aggravated by the friction of his pad-strap. He died in Sydney in 1971.