An Aussie destroyer
In its rich history, Test cricket has never seen a player quite like Adam Gilchrist, who was born today. When Ian Healy retired it looked like Australia would finally have a weakness to exploit, but instead they brought in a wicketkeeper who averaged over 40, and scored those runs at an indecent rate. With his ability to nail a good position created by the top order, Gilchrist was central to Steve Waugh's great Test-cricket revolution of winning the toss and bowling first. His innings include a brutal 152 against England at Edgbaston in 2001, as well as the astonishing 122 that set up victory over India in Mumbai, when he smashed his century off 84 balls. In the heavyweight clash in South Africa in 2001-02, Gilchrist walloped 204 not out off only 213 balls in Johannesburg. He also has the fourth fastest Test century (balls faced) and was the first player to hit 100 Test sixes. He quit Test cricket in 2007-08 but his reflexes didn't desert him during the IPL, where he played for Deccan Chargers and led them to the title in 2009.
Birth of a man best remembered for his part in the Bodyline controversy. Harold Larwood was Douglas Jardine's main man when he unleashed his leg theory on Australia in 1932-33. In five Tests Larwood took 33 wickets at 19.51, and made even Don Bradman seem human. After that, Larwood was never picked for England again, partly because of his refusal to apologise for tactics others had devised. But his part in the controversy should not obscure Larwood's brilliance. Although he wasn't a tall man, he was hostile and fiercely quick, with an action so vigorous that, legend has it, his knuckles would scrape the surface in his follow-through. He was a lusty hitter, too, and in his last Test, in Sydney, he creamed 98 as nightwatchman. Larwood, who was loudly barracked in Australia when he played, ironically later emigrated there. He died in Sydney in 1995.
A new T20 World Cup winner is crowned. In Dubai, Australia beat New Zealand by eight wickets in a match reminiscent in its one-sidedness of the 50-over World Cup final between the two sides in 2015. Kane Williamson's masterful 85 off 48 balls took New Zealand to 172 - the highest total in a World Cup final - but in a tournament heavily favouring chasing teams, their weak start (57 for 1 in the first ten overs) ultimately cost them. Josh Hazlewood dropped Williamson on 21, but otherwise maintained a stranglehold on New Zealand's scoring rate with figures of 3 for 16. Then David Warner and Mitchell Marsh took over, never letting the chase stutter. Marsh broke the record for the fastest fifty in T20 World Cups, set only hours ago by Williamson, getting there in 31 balls.
A Dennis Lillee-inspired rout at the WACA in Perth, as Pakistan were dismissed for just 62, their lowest Test score until they twice plumbed new depths in the same match against Australia in Sharjah in 2002-03. Their innings lasted only 21.2 overs, and it could have been a lot worse - they were 26 for 8 before Sarfraz Nawaz, the only man to reach double figures, flashed a chancy 26. Lillee took 5 for 18 and Terry Alderman 4 for 36, and Australia eventually won by 286 runs on the final day. But there was controversy on the fourth afternoon, when a vexed Lillee deliberately impeded Javed Miandad and aimed a kick at him, sparking an infamous spat. Miandad threatened to crown Lillee with his bat, before umpire Tony Crafter ended their contretemps. Lillee was suspended from two one-day internationals as a result.
The inaugural All-Stars series in the United States ended with Shane Warne's Warriors sweeping the three-match T20 series against Sachin Tendulkar's Blasters. The two teams were a mishmash of retired legends and just-retired players, including Kumar Sangakkara and Virender Sehwag. The exhibition games were played at baseball fields in New York, Houston and Los Angeles. The matches were well attended, not surprisingly, by the large Asian diaspora in the country. Tendulkar had conceived the idea after a similar exhibition game at Lord's in 2014 and the icons were happy come together and try something radical. The second and third matches were relatively high-scoring, with both sides piling on over 200 apiece.
Another Australia-Pakistan encounter at the WACA, and another routine Aussie victory, by an innings and nine runs. Carl Rackemann grabbed match figures of 11 for 118. The result was never in doubt once Wayne Phillips (159 on debut) and Graham Yallop (141) put on 259 for the second wicket.
Birth of the man to take the first ever Test wicket. If subtracting bowling average from batting average gives a true measure of the quality of an allrounder, then Yorkshireman Allen Hill (batting: 50.50, bowling 18.57) was right up there with the very best. But that record came from only two Tests, and in reality Hill was not much of a batter - his first-class average was 8.94. He was, however, a very good seamer, who bowled Nat Thomson for 1 on the first morning of the first Test in Melbourne in 1876-77. And he took the first catch too. Hill died in Lancashire in 1910.
A historic day in New Delhi, where South Africa grabbed their first victory since their return to the international stage. They overhauled India's 287 for 4 to win the third one-dayer in fine style, by eight wickets with 20 balls to spare. The old heads Kepler Wessels (90) and Peter Kirsten (86 not out) did most of the work, and Adrian Kuiper applied the gloss with a punishing unbeaten 63 off 41 balls. It was their captain Clive Rice's first taste of victory for his country - and his last, because he was then controversially dropped ahead of the 1992 World Cup.
Birth of Hemang Badani, who came into the Indian team in the throes of change following the match-fixing scandals of the early 2000s, and instantly seemed prepared for the void left by the absence of Ajay Jadeja. Upright, and given to scoring in the V, Badani proved adept at remaining not out, and his high point was a wonderfully paced hundred against Australia in Pune in 2001-02.