Maco the magnificent
One of the best days of the late great Malcolm Marshall's career came in the first Test against India in Kanpur. After spanking a Test-best 92 he produced a devastating opening spell of 8-5-9-4 (including Sunil Gavaskar second ball for 0) as India closed the second day at 34 for 5 in reply to West Indies' 454. An innings victory was duly wrapped up on the fourth day, with Marshall grabbing match figures of 8 for 66. The win had a whiff of revenge about it - four months earlier India had stunned West Indies with victory in the World Cup final at Lord's.
Birth of the unheralded England seam bowler Mike Hendrick. His average of 25.83 was lower than those of Larwood, Snow, Botham, Fraser or Gough, but he achieved nowhere near the fame of that quintet. That owed much to his penchant for the inconspicuous contribution: in 30 Tests Hendrick didn't once take a five-for, and his best figures were 4 for 28 against India at Edgbaston in 1974. But he was a very fine bowler, unstinting in his accuracy and capable of appreciable bounce and seam movement. His finest hour came at Headingley in 1977, when a brace of four-fors helped England regain the Ashes. As usual, Hendrick was overshadowed - this time by Geoff Boycott, who made his 100th first-class hundred on his home ground.
Birth of a Middlesex prodigy. Owais Shah was touted as the new Mark Ramprakash when he made his county debut at the age of 17 in 1996, and his first international appearance followed in England's one-day series against Australia and Pakistan five years later. But despite the elegance of his strokeplay, he did not find a place in the side during Duncan Fletcher's coaching reign, and his maiden Test appearance was a one-off cameo in Mumbai in March 2006. He was given an extended run in the Test side during the tour of West Indies in 2009, but a spate of run-outs convinced the selectors to look elsewhere. He suffered a further setback when Middlesex let him go at the end of the 2010 season. After three seasons with Essex, Shah retired from first-class cricket to concentrate on being a T20 specialist.
An unlikely match-winning bowler for England in their Nehru Cup match against Pakistan in Cuttack. Graham Gooch took 3 for 19 (including Wasim Akram first ball) as England eased home by four wickets, but some of Pakistan's batting gave one-day cricket a bad name: Javed Miandad took 51 balls to reach 14, and worse still, Shoaib Mohammad 34 balls to score just three runs.
Another spectacular performance from Azhar Mahmood gave Pakistan victory in the Champions Trophy final in Sharjah. He took 5 for 28 as Sri Lanka were skittled out for 123, having earlier looked likely winners when they held Pakistan to 211 for 9. It completed a good week's work for Azhar, who three days earlier had taken 6 for 18 against West Indies. But the wickets soon dried up -in his next eight one-dayers, he took only two.
Sri Lanka's first Test in the Middle East ended in a draw, thanks largely to Kumar Sangakkara, who produced a resolute double-hundred, his eighth, in their second innings after they conceded a lead of over 300. With the security situation uncertain in Pakistan, Abu Dhabi and Dubai became the team's new "home" venues, and in the first two innings at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, Pakistan seemed to hold the host's advantage, courtesy a five-for from Junaid Khan on debut, and Taufeeq Umar's first double-hundred. Sangakkara then took charge and saved the Test with some assistance from Prasanna Jayawardene, who produced a hundred of his own.
India sealed a 3-0 whitewash of South Africa in Ranchi, a record 11th Test series win in a row at home. Rohit Sharma's 215 - his maiden Test double hundred - and Ajinkya Rahane's 115 set India up, and South Africa struggled to get close - the story of the series. Despite a stoic 64 by Zubayr Hamza, 16 wickets fell on the third day, as Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav ripped through South Africa, who were forced to follow on for the second time in consecutive Tests. Dean Elgar retired hurt after catching a brutish short ball on his helmet, and concussion sub Theunis de Bruyn carried his 30 overnight, before debutant Shahbaz Nadeem cleaned him and Lungi Ngidi up in under ten minutes on day four; Ngidi was caught off a rebound after he mowed the ball into non-striker Anrich Nortje's arm.
Western Australia medium-pacer Ian Brayshaw took all ten wickets against Victoria, only the third ten-for in Sheffield Shield history. His 10 for 44 in Perth came from 17.6 overs - this was in the days of eight-ball overs - and his scalps included Bill Lawry, Bob Cowper and Keith Stackpole.
A fractured thumb for Ian Healy as Pakistan thrashed Australia by nine wickets in the one-dayer in Rawalpindi. It meant that Healy was absent from the third Test in Lahore, when he was replaced by Phil Emery - the only match Healy missed in an 11-year, 119-Test career. Pakistan easily overhauled a difficult target of 251. Saeed Anwar and Inzamam-ul-Haq flayed an unbroken 160 for the second wicket, and victory was completed with 11 overs to spare.
An unremarkable one-dayer between South Africa and Zimbabwe in Harare was enlivened when Fanie de Villiers bowled the first ball of what turned out to be the last over with a paper cup. It was that sort of game. South Africa made 239 and with Hansie Cronje taking 4 for 33, Zimbabwe never got close, falling to defeat by 112 runs.