Two legends make their entrance
Two modern greats took their bows in the drawn first Test between Pakistan and India in Karachi. Sachin Tendulkar, aged just 16 years 205 days (at the time he was the third-youngest Test cricketer, after Mushtaq Mohammad and Aaqib Javed), gave little hint of what was to follow when he was bowled for 15... by Waqar Younis, who was making his debut at the age of 17 years 364 days. Waqar's first-innings figures (19-1-80-4) were more prophetic, being typically expensive and penetrative.
An impressive debut ton from India's Pravin Amre could not stop South Africa's first home Test for 22 years ending in a bore draw in Durban. The match wasn't quite so memorable for Jimmy Cook. He was the only person to play in all 19 unofficial Tests against rebel touring sides, and when he finally made his Test debut at 39, he was out to the first ball of the match. There was also a debut for Omar Henry, the first non-white to play for South Africa, and at 40 years 295 days, their oldest Test debutant too. This was the first Test in which the third umpire was used for line decisions. Karl Liebenberg and Cyril Mitchley shared the video duties, and Liebenberg claimed a memorable first scalp: Sachin Tendulkar, run out for 11.
The Don's 100th first-class hundred. Donald Bradman cracked 172 for an Australian XI against the touring Indians in Sydney. India won the match, though, after the Australian XI failed in their chase of 251 to win in 150 minutes - they were bowled out for 203 in only 30 overs. Left-arm spinner Vinoo Mankad returned the remarkable figures of 12-0-84-8. Mankad also ran out Bill Brown while he was backing up (leading to the practice going on to be known as "Mankading" in future). In all, Bradman made 117 centuries in 338 innings, a staggering ratio of a century every 2.88 innings.
Birth of the first great New Zealand batter. Stewie Dempster played only ten Tests, but in that time he averaged over 65. He was a short, compact batter, a fierce driver who cracked 136 in only his second Test, against England in Wellington in 1929-30, putting on 276 for the first wicket with Jack Mills, New Zealand's highest partnership for any wicket against England (they were the first two Test hundreds by New Zealanders). He was sensational in England in 1931, making seven centuries, including a glittering 120 in the first Test, at Lord's. Dempster was named a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1932, but the following winter he gave up Test cricket to take up a business appointment with Sir Julien Cahn, though he did go on to play for Leicestershire between 1936 and 1939. He died in his native Wellington in 1974.
South Africa won their third series in a row in Australia with an innings victory - their first in the country - in Hobart in a Test that lasted just over two days. On day one, Vernon Philander took 5 for 21 to bowl Australia out for 85 - their lowest total at home in 32 years. At one point, Australia were 8 for 4 - their worst start in 80 years. South Africa managed all this without the services of AB de Villiers, their captain, and Dale Steyn, their primary strike bowler, who injured his shoulder on the first day of the series. Steyn's replacement, Kyle Abbott, took nine wickets in the match, while Quinton de Kock, South Africa's wicketkeeper-batter, set up his team's sizeable 326 with his first Test hundred in Australia.
When England called up Peter Martin, who was born today, for the one-day series against West Indies in 1995, most observers were convinced they had got the wrong Lancastrian. Glen Chapple had just had a storming England A tour of India, but the selectors wanted Martin's gentle movement in the air and off the pitch, and he was Man of the Match on his debut, at The Oval, with 4 for 44. That won him a place in the Test team, and in South Africa the following winter Martin was a revelation. He proved difficult to get away (in the fourth Test in Port Elizabeth he started the second innings with a spell of 7-7-0-2) and managed 11 wickets in three Tests at 19.81. His reward? He was overlooked for the first Test of the following summer, against India, and played only twice in Tests for England again.
A humiliating day for New Zealand, who were skittled for 82 by Victoria in a tour match in Melbourne. Admittedly the Victorian attack did include Damien Fleming, Tony Dodemaide and Ian Harvey, but it was still a ragged performance, with only three batters reaching double figures. New Zealand eventually lost by five wickets, and all in all it wasn't a great tour: they lost the three-Test series 2-0, failed to win a single first-class match, and were beaten by both Queensland and New South Wales by an innings apiece.
Birth of Shayne O'Connor, the tall, lean New Zealand left-armer. After starting first-class cricket as a 21-year-old, O'Connor relied very much on a short-of-a-length bounce attack. Then he changed, concentrating on bowling inswing, with sudden success against Australia and South Africa. A knee injury halted his 2000-01 season, and O'Connor spent the convalescing time eradicating a kink in his action, and finding even more inswing. He used to be a costly one-day bowler but became much more effective with his changed style. Injuries and inability to find a regular place in the New Zealand side took a toll, though, and he announced his retirement after the 2003 World Cup.
Birth of Indian allrounder Mamatha Maben, who played four Tests and 40 ODIs between 1993 and 2004 (only seven of those ODIs before 2002). She scored her only half-century against England in 2002, in Hyderabad, and her best figures, 6 for 10, came in a ten-wicket win over Sri Lanka in Kandy in 2004.