July 21 down the years

The man who made batting look easy

A South African legend is born

Barry Richards averaged 72.57 in a cut-short Test career © Getty Images

South Africa's isolation restricted Barry Richards, born today, to only four Tests, against Australia in 1969-70 - but he showed the full range of his talent in averaging 72.57 and scoring a whirlwind century in Durban. Although the drudgery of county cricket rarely appealed to him, he scored a great many runs for Hampshire and formed a dynamic opening partnership with Gordon Greenidge. When he made 356 for South Australia against Western Australia in Perth in 1970-71, he scored 325 in a day.

The final day of an astounding turnaround at Headingley. Ian Botham had hauled England back into contention with 145 not out on the fourth day. Now it was Bob Willis' turn. Steaming down the hill from the Kirkstall Lane End, as if in a trance, Willis plundered three wickets in 11 balls before lunch, then five more in the afternoon session to deliver England victory by 18 runs - the first side since 1894-95 to win a Test match after following on. You wouldn't have known it from Willis' reaction, though. In an infamous post-match interview, thoroughly drained by his efforts, he showed as much enthusiasm as a man who had just run over the family Labrador.

From final days to first days - and one of the most blood-and-thunder openings to any Test series in history. The 2005 Ashes had been hyped to the rafters all summer long, but amazingly, when the contest finally got underway in front of a packed and expectant Lord's crowd, the cut-and-thrust cricket more than matched the anticipation. Steve Harmison cracked Justin Langer on the elbow second ball and drew blood on Ricky Ponting's cheek as he hounded his way to figures of 5 for 43. Australia were bundled out for 190, but that was just the start of the entertainment. With his matchless manipulation of the Lord's slope, Glenn McGrath responded with a spell of 5 for 2 in 31 balls, including his 500th wicket in Tests, to set his side up for a 239-run win. The series, however, still had one or two twists and turns in store.

The end of a 28-year wait. India pulled off their first Test win at Lord's since 1986 (and their first away win for three years) when Ishant Sharma's 7 for 74 spurred them to a 95-run win. Chasing 319, England crumbled to a series of reckless pull shots on the final afternoon to go from 173 for 4 to 223 all out. It extended their winless run to ten Tests and intensified the pressure on the struggling captain, Alastair Cook.

Birth of another South African-born England batter. Jason Roy made his debut with Surrey's first team in the Friends Provident T20, where he smashed an unbeaten 101 against Kent in 57 balls - Surrey's first T20 hundred. After England's disastrous 2015 World Cup campaign, Roy's big hitting slotted right into the team's vision of building a free-spirited, world-beating side, and he made his maiden ODI hundred the same year, against Pakistan in the UAE. He had a hand in England's world-record ODI total of 481 as well, making 82 in the match at Trent Bridge against Australia in 2018. His prolific run in limited-overs cricket, and a batting average pushing 40, brought him an opening slot in the 2019 Ashes, where he made an unremarkable 110 runs in four matches.

Birth of Indian allrounder Chandu Borde, a calm and collected batter who played fast bowling with an easy assurance. In 55 Tests he scored 3061 runs at 35.59, and took 52 wickets with his legspin, a skill that was underused as time went by. Successful with bat and ball against England in 1961-62, he top-scored with 68 and 61 and took 4 for 65 in the win in Calcutta. The biggest of his five Test centuries was an unbeaten 177 against Pakistan in Madras in 1960-61.

The first day of South Africa's first Test in England for 29 years. They had played 14 Tests since their return to the fold in Bridgetown in 1991-92, but to play at Lord's again was proof of their re-acceptance. Andrew Hudson and Gary Kirsten received a standing ovation as they came down the pavilion steps to start the innings - an event that, shamefully, was missed by the BBC coverage - and the emotion of the moment was almost too much for Hudson, who padded up to his first ball from Phil DeFreitas. He fell soon afterwards, but Kirsten ground on, adding 106 for the third wicket with Kepler Wessels, who went on to become South Africa's first centurion at Lord's in 39 years, and ultimately their first winning captain for 59 years.

The first hundred in a Benson & Hedges Cup final - and it just had to come from Graham Gooch. In the competition's 30-year history, Gooch made the most runs, won the most Gold Awards, made the highest score... Here he slapped a robust 120 as Essex beat Sussex by 35 runs, and received one of his 22 Gold Awards.

Another B&H final, and a less obvious Man of the Match. Lancashire captain John Abrahams didn't bowl, took one catch, and was out for 0, but Peter May gave him the award for his captaincy - and for his performances in getting Lancashire to the final. They won this one comfortably enough, by six wickets and with 12 overs to spare, after Warwickshire were bundled out for 139.

Birth of Sunil Gavaskar's opening partner. Chetan Chauhan shared ten Test century partnerships with Gavaskar in the '70s and early '80s - their most famous one being 213 at The Oval in 1979. Chauhan batted more than five hours for his 80 and Gavaskar got 221, but the match was drawn with India needing nine to win. Chauhan was unlucky not to get a hundred in his 40 Tests; he was the first to get to 2000 runs without a century.

An attack of butterfingers for England at Lord's. Adam Gilchrist took the second Test away from them with a searing 90 - but he was dropped four times, three of them sitters, all of them off Darren Gough, who looked a broken man. A day later, Australia were 2-0 up in the series, and England's ambition had gone from regaining the Ashes to avoiding a whitewash.

The last hurrah of leg theory. Playing for Nottinghamshire against Lancashire at Old Trafford, Bill Voce was taken out of the attack after he bowled four overs of Bodyline, during which Lancashire's opener Jack Iddon was struck twice. The second blow resulted in him being carried off. Voce's Bodyline colleague, Harold Larwood, making his return to the Nottinghamshire side after an ankle injury, bowled to a conventional field throughout.

The first pair of Brian Lara's life. In a tour match in Canterbury he fell each time to Kent's Dr Julian Thompson. Ignominy does wonderful things for sharpening the mind, though. In the three Tests before this, Lara had made 182 runs; in the three that followed it, he larruped 583. The doctor's medicine didn't do England much good.

A masterclass from Muttiah Muralitharan in Galle. In their first match of the post-Cronje era, the South Africans never looked remotely comfortable on a dry and cracked pitch, and crumbled to 238 all out in reply to Sri Lanka's 522. Murali took 6 for 87, with only Daryll Cullinan standing firm, with 114 not out. Cullinan was under no illusions, however, describing his 231-ball survival against Murali as "a lottery".

Birth of left-arm seamer Geoff Dymock, who would have played more Tests for Australia in an era less blessed with fast-bowling talent. He was nearly 30 when he made his debut, taking seven against New Zealand in Adelaide. At 34 he toured India, and after going wicketless in the first Test, he took 24 in the next four - including 12 in Kanpur. He played 21 Tests in all and averaged 27.12 with the ball.

Nummy Deane, born today, is best remembered for his fine captaincy of young and inexperienced South African teams against England in 1927-28 and 1929. In 1927-28 against England his captaincy was credited with helping his side salvage a draw after they went down 0-2 in the series. At The Oval in 1929, South Africa were 20 for 3 when Deane joined Herbie Taylor at the crease. They added 214; Deane made a courageous 93 and the Test was drawn. He was persuaded out of retirement for England's visit in 1930-31, but finding himself out of form, he resigned after two Tests.

The third incumbent in the summer of four captains. After Mike Gatting had been sacked for an alleged dalliance with a barmaid, and John Emburey had been tried and discarded after consecutive defeats, the chairman of selectors, Peter May, decided his godson would be the man for the job. Thus Chris Cowdrey completed only the second father-and-son pair to captain England in Test cricket. But even he couldn't stop West Indies from winning yet again, by ten wickets at Headingley. With personal scores of 0 and 5, he didn't play Test cricket again.

On the last day of a three-day Test, Johnny Briggs took 6 for 45 to complete England's last innings win over Australia at Lord's for 48 years. After opening their account with two wins in two against Australia, England have only won five since, in 34 attempts.

That other victory began here, the first day of Test cricket at Lord's. England were 90 for 3 in reply to Australia's 229 all out. Allan G Steel went on to make 148 and George Ulyett's 7 for 36 bowled England to an innings win.

Aubrey Smith was born on this day. Later Sir Aubrey, who became a well-known Hollywood character actor, Smith (nicknamed "Round the corner" because of his peculiar run-up) played for Sussex, and led England in South Africa's inaugural Test, in Port Elizabeth in 1888-89. He's still the only player to have captained England in his only Test.

When he arrived on the scene, Ravindra Pushpakumara was touted as a perfect new-ball partner for Chaminda Vaas. He was powerfully built and had a long run-up, but turned out to lack the variation required to be successful on the dull pitches of the subcontinent. In 23 Tests he took 58 wickets at 38.65.