If at first you don't succeed...
Graham Gooch, who was born today, took a while to find his feet in Test cricket but went on to become the best of his generation. Gooch scored 8900 runs in Tests, a record for England - after being dismissed for a pair on his debut, against Australia at Edgbaston in 1975. Pick of the bunch, 333 and all, was his 154 not out against West Indies at Headingley in 1991.
The day Mike Atherton put some dirt in his pocket - and nearly lost his job. With England taking one hell of a beating against South Africa at Lord's, Atherton used the dirt to dry one side of the ball and so help Darren Gough get some reverse swing. Having dirt in his pocket was not illegal, but rubbing it on the ball contravened Law 42.5, and the match referee, Peter Burge, called him to explain his actions. Burge accepted Atherton's explanation, but the following day Atherton admitted lying to Burge. For that, he was fined £2000 by Ray Illingworth - half for lying, half for having dirt in his pocket - and crucified by the press. Illy later told anyone who'd listen that the fines saved Athers' job. Lost in the furore was a real spanking for England: they lost by 356 runs, and were bowled out for only 99 in the second innings.
The review system for umpiring decisions was trialled for the first time in the Test between Sri Lanka and India at the SSC. On the second day, Harbhajan Singh's appeal for lbw against Malinda Warnapura was turned down and the review replays showed the field umpire to be spot on. Virender Sehwag later became the first man to be given out via the review system, and Tillakaratne Dilshan the first to continue batting even after having been given out by the on-field umpire. Dilshan's was also the first successful challenge of an umpiring decision. Both instances came with their share of controversy, as the technology used and the human application by the umpires left much to be desired.
England won the final of the 11th Women's World Cup. Playing at Lord's in front of a record worldwide TV audience, the home side pipped India at the post in an engrossing, hard-fought match. India, in their second Women's World Cup final, seemed to have the upper hand when Jhulan Goswami's 3 for 23 helped restrict England to 228 for 7. Half-centuries from Poonam Raut and Harmanpreet Kaur then put them on course for a convincing chase. But with 38 required off the last 44 balls, and seven wickets in hand, the match swung dramatically. A combination of Anya Shrubsole's excellent bowling and India's nervy batting resulted in a swift collapse and a nine-run win for England.
Birth of a world-class allrounder who lost a Test career because South Africa were banned. By the time South Africa were re-admitted, Clive Rice was past his best - but his best had been considerable. A hard-hitting batter and aggressive pace bowler, he formed a famous partnership with Richard Hadlee that bowled Notts to the County Championship in 1981 and 1987. He was South Africa's first captain after the ban, in three one-day internationals in India in 1991-92 - but it was hardly a consolation.
Birth of a batter who experienced a rather surreal rebirth as a Test player. Floyd Reifer, who was born today, barely made an impression in the few opportunities he got. He wandered off the radar soon after his debut in 1997, hitting the headlines only in 2008 when he smashed six sixes in an over in a T20 league match in Barbados, coincidentally on the 40th anniversary of Garry Sobers' feat. The following year he was recalled to the West Indies Test team - a decade since he had played his last Test - after the senior players went on strike against the West Indies Cricket Board. More of a shock was the fact that he was named captain, albeit of a second-string team, against Bangladesh at home.
Chess player-turned-legspinner Yuzvendra Chahal, born today, went as far as the World Youth Chess Championship for India before sponsorships dried up and he found his way to cricket. Despite an erratic domestic career with Haryana, Chahal was signed by Mumbai Indians for the 2011 IPL, but it was with Royal Challengers Bangalore that he cut his teeth - he was their top wicket-taker in 2015 and 2016. His IPL prowess broke him into the national limited-overs side, where he became the first Indian bowler to take a five-for in a T20I. His 6 for 25 vs England was also the best bowling figures in a T20I by an Indian. In a time when white-ball legspinners have increasingly relied on speed to be effective, Chahal uses guile and flight to deceive, having built his reputation on the famously spin-unfriendly pitches of M Chinnaswamy Stadium. In 2020, Chahal came on as a concussion substitute for Ravindra Jadeja in the first T20I against Australia, and bowled India to a win in a Player-of-the-Match performance, picking up 3 for 25, the first instance of a concussion sub winning the award.
Hansie Cronje scored a century on the first day of his 50th Test, at Trent Bridge, and launched a famous pre-planned assault on the recalled Ian Salisbury, but South Africa went on to lose the match.
Brian Close made his Test debut, against New Zealand at Old Trafford. At 18 years 149 days, he's still the youngest ever to play Test cricket for England. In 1976 he became one of the oldest: 45 years 140 days.
Old master Rangana Herath took his 12th five-wicket haul in the fourth innings of a Test as Sri Lanka made it 2-0 over South Africa, at the SSC, driving home the advantage of a 200-plus run first-innings lead secured on the back of fifties from each of their top three. For South Africa, Dale Steyn's three-year wait to overtake Shaun Pollock as South Africa's leading wicket-taker was agonisingly further prolonged after he finished with two wickets in the series. At least Theunis de Bruyn's hundred provided small cheer.
Don Bradman completed his second Test triple-century at Headingley, his favourite English ground, making 304 and sharing a stand of 388 with Bill Ponsford, who hit 181. Bradman's score alone was over 100 more than England's first-innings total. Clarrie Grimmett took seven and Bill O'Reilly five in the drawn match.
If it's Headingley, it must be a big score by Bradman. The Don didn't make a triple-century this time (103), but the pitch was trickier than those in 1930 and 1934. Australia managed a slim first-innings lead and then O'Reilly took five in the second (ten for the match) to bowl England out for 123. Australia won by five wickets.
On a day of records in the County Championship, Sam Northeast made an unbeaten quadruple-hundred for Glamorgan, who beat Leicestershire by an innings and 28 runs. Northeast's 410 was only the fourth 400-plus score in the history of the competition, after Brian Lara, Archie Mclaren and Graeme Hick, and the ninth highest in all first-class cricket. That score helped Glamorgan to a monumental 795 for 5 declared in response to Leicestershire's 584 in the first innings, which by the end of the game became a record for the highest total for a team who went on to be beaten by an innings in county cricket.
On the last day of the first Test ever played at Lord's, George Ulyett completed figures of 7 for 36 to bowl Australia to an innings defeat.
Death of a double international. Andy Ducat died as he would probably have wanted to die: he had a heart attack while batting in a match at Lord's. He played football and cricket for England, scoring the only goal of the game against Wales in 1910 and making 3 and 2 in his only Test, against the all-conquering Australians at Headingley in 1921.
Left-hand opener Alan Turner, born today, played 14 Tests for Australia between 1975 and 1977. He made a battling 81 against West Indies in his fourth Test, and got his only Test hundred later in the series. Turner also played the 1975 World Cup and scored his only one-day hundred in a group game against Sri Lanka. After retirement he became an executive with Benson & Hedges, for many years the leading sponsor of Australian cricket.