August 20 down the years

Allegations and arguments at The Oval

Pakistan refuse to play ball, following ball-tampering allegations

Inzamam-ul-Haq leads his team off the field © Getty Images

The first forfeited Test. Pakistan were upset after Darrell Hair docked them five runs and changed the ball after claiming they had tampered with it on the fourth day of the final Test at The Oval. Pakistan debated the matter at tea and refused to come out for the final session. By the time they decided to resume, the umpires had called time and awarded the game to England. Late-night negotiations failed to persuade the officials to relent, and more than a month of debate and rumour followed before an ICC hearing cleared Pakistan of ball-tampering but banned Inzamam-ul-Haq, Pakistan's captain, for four ODIs for bringing the game into disrepute by refusing to carry on after the interval. Nearly two years later the ICC board, at the PCB's request, turned the result into a draw - a controversial closure to a controversial Test. But wait. The ICC did a u-turn the following year, on the MCC's recommendation, and reinstated the original result.

Australia were eventually all out for 695 in the deciding Test at The Oval. Their top score, a 232, which according to Wisden "overshadowed everything else", set the seal on the young Don Bradman's triumphant first tour of England. It was his last knock of a series in which he scored 974 runs, still a world record, including three scores of over 200. Australia went on to win by an innings and regain the Ashes.

South Africa beat England 2-0 to become the No. 1 Test side, in a thrilling series that featured a triple-century from Hashim Amla at The Oval, a sparkling 149 from Kevin Pietersen at Headingley, a five-for at Lord's from Vernon Philander, and plenty of off-field drama as the relationship between Pietersen and the England board and team management deteriorated after news came of his having sent derogatory texts about Andrew Strauss to South African players. England dropped Pietersen for the Lord's Test, and it seemed they didn't miss him too much when his replacement, Jonny Bairstow, scored 95 and 54. But it was Matt Prior who nearly handed England the series-leveller with a half-century in a chase of 346.

Death of the first batter to score a Test century - which is understating it a bit. Against England in Melbourne in 1876-77, Charles Bannerman faced the first ball in Test cricket, scored the first run, the first fifty and the first hundred. By the time he retired hurt with a damaged finger, he'd made 165 of Australia's total of 245, still the highest percentage of a completed innings in all Tests. His highest score in his two subsequent Tests was an unremarkable 30 - but his place in Test history is secure. His brother Alick, a famous stonewalling batter, also played for Australia.

Second and last day of the only cricket match ever played at the Olympic Games. Devon County Wanderers scored 117 and 145 to beat the Union des Sociétés Françaises de Sports Athlétiques (78 and 26) by 158 runs at the Vélodrome de Vincennes, a cycling track in Paris. Montague Toller took 7 for 10 in that dismal second innings of 26. The French team included such typically French names as Anderson, Attrill, Browning, Robinson and Henry Terry.

The leading England offpsinner of his generation was born. John Emburey took 147 Test wickets, including best figures of 7 for 78 in Sydney in 1986-87. An eccentric but decidedly useful lower-order batter, he hit 10 Test fifties, including 70 and 74 not out in Karachi in 1987-88. As a replacement for the sacked Mike Gatting, he captained England to two defeats by the all-conquering West Indies in 1988. He coached Middlesex after an unsuccessful stint with Northants. He was one of the contenders for the post of India coach after Greg Chappell, and he even had a stint in the ICL.

Birth of an England allrounder - in Tokyo. Big-hitting Natalie Sciver was a key figure in her side's World Cup victory at home in 2017 - scoring two hundreds in the group stages and a 51 in the final, and taking seven wickets (including an incredible 3 for 3 against West Indies). A year later, at the T20 World Cup, against South Africa, she took 3 for 4 in a spell of medium-pace bowling that included 20 dot balls. She was also England's leading run-scorer in the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia. A Wisden Cricketer of the Year for 2018, Sciver is also the originator of the Natmeg - a shot that squeezes yorkers square of the wicket between the legs.

The start of the run-fest that was the MCC v Rest of the World match at Lord's. Staged to celebrate MCC's 200th anniversary, the game saw centuries from the G-men: Graham Gooch (117), Mike Gatting (179) and Gordon Greenidge (122), but it was Sunil Gavaskar's majestic 188 that stole the show. Gavaskar also recorded the only duck of the match, when he was cleaned up by Malcolm Marshall in the World's second innings as they chased 353 to win. Rain washed out the final day.

The scorer of what was once the fastest Test half-century was born. When Jack Brown made his blistering 140 in Melbourne in 1894-95, the first fifty took only 28 minutes, and the first hundred only 95 - fast enough to win the match and the series. The record stood until 2007, when Mohammad Ashraful completed his half-century against India in Mirpur in 27 minutes. In 1898, Brown scored exactly 300 and shared a colossal stand of 554 with "Long John" Tunnicliffe for Yorkshire against Derbyshire in Chesterfield. It stood as a world record in first-class cricket until two other Yorkshiremen, Percy Holmes and Herbert Sutcliffe, beat it by a single run in 1932.

In their 55 overs against Pakistan at Trent Bridge, England scored 363 for 7, which was then a record for any one-day international. Graeme Hick scored 50 in 34 balls and Waqar Younis' 11 overs cost him 73 runs. England won by 198 runs.

Birth of the first opener to carry his bat through a Test innings. When South Africa were blasted out for only 47 by England in Cape Town in 1888-89, Bernard Tancred scored 26 not out. Regarded as the best of the early South African batters, he was the first to score two centuries in a first-class match there. His brothers Louis and Vincent also opened the batting in Tests.

Death of a brilliant wicketkeeper, Gregor MacGregor, who made 17 dismissals in his eight Tests for England, the first against Australia at Lord's in 1890 when he was still at Cambridge University. He was also an international rugby three-quarter, helping Scotland beat England four times, including in his last match, in 1896.

Some stars of tomorrow performed today. India beat Pakistan at Lord's in the final of the Under-15 World Challenge. Nine of those finalists have since gone on to play international cricket: Faisal Iqbal, Hasan Raza, Bazid Khan, Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Taufeeq Umar and Yasir Arafat of Pakistan, and Reetinder Sodhi and Mohammad Kaif of India.

After collapsing to 9 for 3 in the second over of the NatWest T20 Blast final against Durham, Northamptonshire went on to lift the trophy thanks to Josh Cobb's 48-ball 80. It was Northants' second limited-overs title since 1992, but this season's campaign was exceptionally challenging for the county, plagued by financial problems as well as missing several players due to injuries and international call-ups. Northants had also been down three wickets in the third over in the semi-final earlier in the day, before being rescued by a big partnership between Ben Duckett and Alex Wakely. Wakely then featured in his second century stand of the day, adding 120 with Cobb, and Northants chased Durham's 153 with four wickets to spare.

Other birthdays
1847 Andrew Greenwood (England)
1909 Alby Roberts (New Zealand)
1910 Fernie Blade (Australia)
1910 Rene Shevill (Australia)
1921 Jack Wilson (Australia)
1922 Rona McKenzie (New Zealand)
1932 Atholl McKinnon (South Africa)
1940 Rex Sellers (Australia)
1949 Tina Macpherson (Australia)
1956 Alvin Greenidge (West Indies)
1977 Jimmy Ormond (England)
1982 Barney Rogers (Zimbabwe)
1982 Rob Quiney (Australia)