An insomniac's dream
An insomniac's dream in Karachi, as Pakistan and Australia blocked their way through the slowest day in Test history. They mustered only 95 runs between them in a yawn-inducing full day's play, for the loss of 12 wickets. The match itself eventually went to Pakistan, thanks mainly to a Herculean performance from Fazal Mahmood. On a matting pitch, he returned match figures of 75-28-114-13 as an Australian side that included Harvey, Miller, Benaud and Davidson were skittled for 80 and 187. The one-off Test was the first between the sides.
R Ashwin took career-best innings figures of 7 for 59 (match figures: 13 for 140) in Indore against New Zealand. It was his 21st five-wicket haul, sixth ten-wicket match haul, seventh Player-of-the-Match award, and seventh Player-of-the-Series award. Ashwin finished the three-Test series with 27 wickets, 13 more than the second-highest wicket-taker, as India whitewashed New Zealand with a 321-run win. Elsewhere in the match, Virat Kohli made his second double-century as captain and Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara scored hundreds. The first Test of the series, in Kanpur, was India's 500th. They won that match by 197 runs to reclaim the No. 1 Test ranking.
Birth of a true calypso cricketer. West Indian Keith Boyce was a brilliant lower-order hitter, a hostile fast bowler and an outstanding fielder with a bazooka-like throw. His unremitting zeal for the game made him a joy to watch. He played for Essex with great success between 1966 and 1977. Against Leicestershire in Chelmsford in 1975, he slammed a century in 58 minutes, and also took 12 for 73. He played 21 Tests and a crucial part in regaining the Wisden Trophy in 1973, but a natural entertainer like him was born for one-day cricket. He was the first man to score 1000 runs and take 100 wickets in limited-overs matches in England, and he starred in the 1975 World Cup final with a quick-fire 34 and 4 for 50. He died on his birthday, in his native Barbados, in 1996.
Lucky 13 for Nayan Mongia, who crawled to his one and only Test ton in Delhi in his 13th appearance, and took Australia to the brink of another defeat on the subcontinent. Mongia was pushed up to the top of the order and proved that keeping and opening in the same game is not an impossible job. He batted over eight hours for his 152, then Australia were hustled to a seven-wicket defeat on a pitch taking spin. In the absence of the injured Shane Warne (their spinners were Peter McIntyre, Brad Hogg and Mark Waugh) the Aussies didn't stand a chance.
Ireland's Amy Hunter overtook Mithali Raj to become the youngest player to score a century in international cricket. The 16-year-old Belfast schoolgirl hit an unbeaten 121 in 127 balls against Zimbabwe in an ODI in Harare to take Ireland to an 85-run win. The feat, incidentally, came on her 16th birthday, in her fourth ODI, and seventh international match overall.
Much was expected of John Dewes, who plundered runs as a teenager for Cambridge University and played in the Victory Test at Lord's in 1945 (it was his first-class debut). But in ten Test innings between 1948 and 1950-51 he only reached double figures three times, passing 50 just once, and soon after, took up a full-time career as a teacher.
When Australia lost ten wickets for 60 runs in the first innings in Dubai, no one expected them to bat 140 overs for a draw in the second, but they did, thanks to a valiant effort by Usman Khawaja, who stayed close to nine hours at the crease for 141 - the second-longest fourth innings in Tests. Pakistan would have kicked themselves for a missed opportunity, having gained a first-innings lead of 280 on the back of hundreds from Mohammad Hafeez and Haris Sohail and a splendid six-for by debutant offspinner Bilal Asif.
Phil Newport, who was born today, was one of many England seamers in the late 1980s and early '90s to find themselves only one bad performance away from the axe. He took seven wickets on debut, against Sri Lanka in 1988, and then ten on the first day of Worcestershire's low-scoring tour match against Australia in 1989. He was picked for the first Test but was spanked all round Headingley as Steve Waugh announced himself to English audiences, and the selectors showed no mercy. He did play one more Test, as a replacement in Perth in 1990-91, but despite being one of the better swing bowlers on the county circuit he was never picked again after that.
The first day of the inaugural Test between South Africa and Australia, in Johannesburg. Australia sailed home from their successful 1902 tour of England via the Cape, and the match began almost as soon as they arrived. It was played at an altitude of nearly 6000 feet, and it took the Aussies a while to acclimatise - they were forced to follow on before Clem Hill slammed a quick century on the final day to save the match.
The birth of Ryan Harris, a stocky, persistent fast bowler when he stayed away from injury. Making his Test debut at 30, Harris bagged nine wickets in his first two Tests in New Zealand and 11 in three Ashes Tests as some of his team-mates struggled. He also had a stellar start to his ODI career, with two five-wicket hauls in his first three matches. However, Harris struggled to stay fit for long stretches, and in the Melbourne Test in 2010, he broke a bone in his left ankle that ruled him out for half a year. He stayed fit through the 2013-14 Ashes, taking 22 wickets, and he also played a key role in the series win in South Africa shortly after. A knee injury before the 2015 Ashes compelled him to retire.
A tense finish in Lahore, where Pakistan's ninth-wicket pair of Iqbal Qasim and Tauseef Ahmed hung on grimly for a draw and a 1-0 series win against Australia. On a wearing track, Tim May and Peter Taylor shared seven of the eight wickets to fall, but ultimately Australia ran out of time. They only had themselves to blame, though - their first-innings 340 occupied 158 overs. The match was also notable for Javed Miandad becoming the first Pakistani to reach 7000 runs, and for being the only Test in which Steve Waugh opened the bowling in both innings.
Birth of Australian fast bowler, lower-order biffer and sharp fielder Nathan Coulter-Nile, who broke through in the Australian season of 2012-13 with 26 Sheffield Shield wickets and 16 in the Ryobi Cup, earning the Lawrie Sawle Medal as Western Australia player of the year. Coulter-Nile has been an on-and-off presence in the Australian limited-overs sides, and in has featured in the BBL and the IPL.
Birth of offspinning allrounder Aimee Watkins, who led New Zealand Women to the World T20 final in 2009. Watkins, who made her one-day debut in 2002, got her maiden half-century and hundred against Australia - the first in 2006 and the second in 2007. Two years later, she took phenomenal figures of 4 for 2 in a World Cup match against South Africa. In 2010 she was named one of the hottest women athletes by Yahoo.
Birth of an Indian seam-bowling allrounder. Hardik Pandya first came to global attention when he bowled the last over of India's World T20 classic against Bangladesh in 2016, defending two runs off three balls.The following year, an essential member of India's limited-overs sides, he blazed 83 off 86 balls from No. 8 to set up an ODI win against Australia after India had been 87 for 5; and then followed up a match-winning 78 two games later. Earlier in the year, Pandya made 50 on Test debut, in Sri Lanka, and followed it up with scores of 108 and 93 in his third and fourth Tests. However, he struggled to make much impact with the ball, except for a five-wicket haul in India's only Test win on their 2018 tour of England. A month later, Pandya fell to the ground while bowling in an Asia Cup match in Dubai, having suffered "an acute lower back injury".
A battler is born. A feisty allrounder famous for his gritty 68, made over five hours against England in the Headingley gloom in 2002, Sanjay Bangar turned into a run machine for Railways at the domestic level. He played 12 Tests and 15 ODIs between 2001 and 2004, and was one of the key figures in Railways' two Ranji Trophy triumphs in the 2000s. Besides Vijay Hazare, Bangar is the only cricketer to have achieved a double of 6000 runs and 200 wickets in the Ranji Trophy. After retirement he became a successful IPL franchise coach and later an assistant coach for India.