The battle of Adelaide
If January 14 had been the day it all kicked off on the pitch during the infamous Adelaide Test, it got even worse after the rest day. A media furore broke in the morning with revelations of the conversation between Bill Woodfull and Pelham Warner, the MCC manager, on the Saturday. At the ground, mounted police were deployed on standby outside and it proved a wise precaution. In the afternoon Bert Oldfield was struck on the head by Harold Larwood and the 32,000 crowd, already angered by what had happened earlier in the game, was incensed. Police ringed the boundary, Douglas Jardine was pelted with fruit, but the day ended without any further disturbances.
A three-day result to cap one of the most one-sided Ashes series ever. After England summoned all their resources to wrangle a draw in Sydney, Australia found beast mode again in the fifth Test, a day-night match in Hobart. Travis Head, the unlikely Player of the Series with 357 runs, starred again, with a hundred in the first innings. After that it was business as usual. England scraped together 188 in their first innings, and in their second, the top score among their last nine batters was 11. Yes, it was that kind of match, and series: England averaged 19.18 with the bat through the five Tests, their lowest in an Ashes since 1890, and Hobart was Joe Root's tenth defeat in an Ashes Test.
Bangladesh's 595 for 8 declared in Wellington became the highest total made by a team that went on to lose, after New Zealand bowled them out for 160 in the second innings and Kane Williamson gunned down the target of 217 inside 40 overs. In making his maiden double-century, Shakib Al Hasan set the record for Bangladesh's highest Test score - 217 - and the country's highest partnership - 359 with Mushfiqur Rahim. Tom Latham's 177 restricted Bangladesh's lead to 56, which they struggled to build on, especially because of injuries to Imrul Kayes and Mushfiqur. Williamson became the first New Zealand batter to make three centuries in fourth-innings chases.
Bright stuff from Dean Jones. In the first final of the annual World Series in Sydney, he demanded that Curtly Ambrose remove his white wristbands because they were disturbing his concentration. Rags don't come any redder. An incensed Ambrose (who had come on first-change, behind Phil Simmons!) did as asked, and promptly tossed Australia to defeat with 5 for 32.
Five months after he took 8 for 15 to dismiss Australia for 60 at Trent Bridge, Stuart Broad bowled another terrific spell, of 6 for 17, this time in Johannesburg, to dismiss South Africa for 83 - which was their second two-digit total in three months. Broad's second-innings spell of 5 for 1 took South Africa from 23 for 0 to 35 for 5. England easily knocked off the 74 required and took a 2-0 lead in the four-Test series. To add to their misery, South Africa lost their No.1 Test ranking to India following the defeat.
One of the flattest, most turgid Tests in history, between India and Pakistan, was brought to a semblance of life on the fourth afternoon when India's openers ground inexorably towards one of their country's proudest batting records. Pankaj Roy and Vinoo Mankad's opening stand of 413 had been the world record for almost 50 years, but by the close Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid were just nine runs adrift. Fate, however, had the final say, and fog wiped out all but 14 balls of the final day - in which time Sehwag fell with the score on 410, and the record was eventually broken by Neil McKenzie and Graeme Smith two years later in Chittagong.
Don Bradman scored his fourth double-century in less than seven months, and Australia beat West Indies by an innings and 217 runs in Brisbane. Bradman was dropped when on 4 and went on to score 223, then the highest innings by an Australian at home. He and Bill Ponsford added 229 for the second wicket - the highest then in Australia - after Archie Jackson was out first ball. Twelve months later Bradman had scored two more centuries and two more doubles.
"Black Diamond" is born. Wayne Daniel may not have been the scariest fast bowler in county cricket in the late 1970s - Sylvester Clarke was on the scene, and Daniel lacked his outright nastiness - but he still made playing against Middlesex a less-than-appetising proposition. Middlesex had snapped Daniel up after he impressed on West Indies' all-conquering English tour of 1976. Like Clarke he would have played many more Tests than he did (ten) were it not for the brilliance of his West Indian contemporaries.
Terry Alderman was right on the money to give Australia victory over Pakistan in the first Test at the MCG. Alderman grabbed five lbws - although they were by no means all clear-cut - in the second innings, and despite a fine hundred from Ijaz Ahmed, Australia got home by 92 runs with 9.1 overs to spare.
Birth of Ivan Barrow, the West Indian wicketkeeper who played 11 Tests between 1930 and 1939. Tidy with the gloves and useful with the bat, he had only one Test score in excess of 27 - but he made it count, cracking 105 and adding 200 for the second wicket with George Headley at Old Trafford in 1933. Theirs were the first centuries by West Indian batters in England. Barrow died in his native Jamaica in 1979.
There have been more than a dozen one-day hat-tricks, but only one by a man playing in his last match. That was Australian seamer Anthony Stuart, who took Ijaz Ahmed, Mohammad Wasim and Moin Khan with consecutive deliveries in a haul of 5 for 26 against Pakistan in Melbourne. It was only his third match, but a record of eight wickets at 13.62 wasn't enough for the Australian selectors.
A landmark day for Sri Lanka, who chased 243 to beat Australia in a one-dayer at the MCG with a conviction that made a mockery of their status as underdogs for the forthcoming World Cup. Typically, one of their jet-propelled openers was to the fore - Romesh Kaluwitharana slammed a 31-ball 50, taking a particular liking to Glenn McGrath. You didn't see the great metronome with figures of 9.4-0-76-1 too often.