April 12 down the years

A quadruple-century

Lara goes large... again

Brian Lara is the first player to reclaim the highest individual score record in Tests © AFP

Ten years to the week after Brian Lara first broke the record for the highest score in Tests, he did it again, piling on 400 in the fourth Test against England in St John's, to become the first player to reclaim the record. Matthew Hayden, who had topped Lara's 375 with 380 off Zimbabwe in Perth, had held the record for just six months. At the start of the Test, West Indies were staring at a whitewash, and even a century may not have been enough to save Lara's captaincy. But the innings, on a featherbed of a pitch, restored dignity to both Lara and his beleaguered side.

A famous victory for India, who chased a then-record 406 to beat West Indies in the third Test, in Trinidad. They did it pretty comfortably too, with seven of the mandatory last 20 overs to spare, and it remained the highest fourth-innings total to win a Test until West Indies did it themselves against Australia in 2003 in Antigua. All this after Clive Lloyd declared his second innings at six wickets down when Alvin Kallicharran reached his hundred. Sunil Gavaskar and Gundappa Viswanath both made centuries, as Albert Padmore, Raphick Jumadeen and Inshan Ali (combined innings figures: 2 for 220) failed to make the most of a gently turning pitch, on which three times as many wickets fell to the spinners (21) as to the seamers (7). Lloyd never was very keen on spinners, and this match made up his mind that from then on it would be pace, pace, pace.

The end of the longest Test career of all. Nobody has been longer in the tooth than Wilfred Rhodes - 52 years, 165 days - was when he played his last day of Test cricket today, against West Indies in Jamaica. His Test career had spanned an amazing 30 years, 315 days - he made his debut in WG Grace's last match, in 1899. Also making his final appearance was the fourth-oldest Test player, whippersnapper George Gunn (50 years 303 days).

Birth of the only other man apart from Rhodes to have batted in every position from No. 1 to No. 11 in Tests. For a player with an average of only 31, Indian allrounder Vinoo Mankad made some huge scores: two double-centuries, against New Zealand in 1955-56, and a mighty 184 - when nobody else reached 50 in the innings - in defeat at Lord's in 1952. In that match Mankad, an extremely thrifty left-arm spinner, who often rushed through his overs in little more than a minute each, also made 72 and bowled 97 overs. In fact, he bowled more than 40 overs in a Test innings on 25 occasions. He completed the double of 1000 runs and 100 wickets in only 23 Tests, a record until Ian Botham bettered it by two Tests in 1979.

A West Indian spinner is born. Trinidad left-armer Raphick Jumadeen had a bit of a thankless task, plying his trade at a time when spinners were becoming an endangered species in West Indian cricket. He played 12 Tests in the 1970s, but these came in fits and starts, and he was only once given a full series, against India in 1975-76. Jumadeen never tore through a side, but he remained tidy and economical: his debut match figures - 64-31-64-1 - summed up his career.

One of South Africa's oldest debutants is born. Opening-batsman-turned-seamer Geoff Chubb had already passed 40 when he made his debut, against England at Trent Bridge in 1951. Chubb, whose thinning hair and glasses made him an unlikely destroyer, played all five of his Tests on that tour, and took 21 wickets, including consecutive five-fors in defeats at Lord's and Old Trafford. He died in East London in 1982.

Dwayne Smith, born today, scored a century on Test debut - it was only his second first-class hundred - to help West Indies end their string of defeats in South Africa, but he went on to largely be a T20 specialist, like many of his West Indies peers. In 2008 he signed with Mumbai Indians in the IPL, and the following year he was part of the title-winning Deccan Chargers side. He made a limited-overs comeback for West Indies in 2012, doing well at the top of the order, and in 2014, he narrowly missed out on a maiden ODI century when he was dismissed for 97 in Delhi.

Birth of the robust Fred Barratt, who had a modest five-Test career with England but excelled at county level for Nottinghamshire. He took 1224 wickets, and once, against Sussex at Trent Bridge in 1924, bowled a batsman and sent a bail flying almost 40 yards. He died in Nottinghamshire in 1947.

Other birthdays
1974 Kabir Khan (Pakistan)
1979 Johann Louw (South Africa)