January 25 down the years

Che's quiet revolution

Birth of Pujara and debuts of Mark Waugh, Richie Benaud, Surinder Amarnath and Wasim Akram

Cheteshwar Pujara holds the record for the longest Test innings by an Indian batter © Associated Press

The birth of Cheteshwar Pujara, who succeeded Rahul Dravid at No. 3 for India in Tests. After making his debut against Australia in 2010, a knee injury kept Pujara out for much of 2011, but he celebrated his return with centuries against New Zealand, England and Australia, in the process becoming the joint-fastest Indian to 1000 Test runs in terms of Tests played. He struggled overseas through 2014 but regained his touch on the 2015 tour of Sri Lanka, carrying his bat with 145 in Colombo, in a match in which his colleagues failed. More heavy run-making followed in 2016 and 2017: he averaged over 60 across the two years, and three of his seven centuries then were made in consecutive Tests, against New Zealand and England. In March 2017, he made a double-hundred against Australia in Ranchi, where his 525 balls were the most faced by an Indian in a Test innings. Pujara also starred in India's historic 2-1 series wins in Australia in 2018-19 and 2020-21, scoring three hundreds in the first and three equally valuable half-centuries in the second while battling some hostile fast bowling.

More than five years after his twin brother Steve took his bow, Mark Waugh made his Test debut in the fourth Test between Australia and England, in Adelaide, coming into the side in place of Steve, who was dropped after a poor trot and broke the bittersweet news to his sibling. Waugh marked his debut with a stunning century, described in Wisden Cricket Monthly as "so sublime that sages battled to recall a better start to a Test career". The match was drawn, but only after England made a brave attempt to chase 472 to win, with Graham Gooch and Michael Atherton putting on 203 for the first wicket.

In the third Test, at Kingsmead, Hugh Tayfield bowled 137 balls without conceding a run during England's first innings against South Africa. It remains the record for most consecutive dot-balls delivered.

Another debut ton from another member of a famous cricket dynasty. Surinder Amarnath, son of Lala (who also made a hundred on debut) and brother of Mohinder, stroked 124 as India took a grip of the first Test against New Zealand in Auckland. India eventually won by eight wickets, benefiting from ignoring the "when in Rome" rhetoric: New Zealand pitches are supposed to favour seamers, but Bhagwath Chandrasekhar and Erapalli Prasanna twirled away here to share 19 wickets.

The debut of one Richie Benaud in Sydney. He didn't have much to do as Australia hammered West Indies by 202 runs - he made 3 and 19 and took 1 for 14, bowling Alf Valentine. It was an odd game: on a perfect pitch, 19 wickets went down for 180 on the first day, with West Indies blown away for 78. Jeff Stollmeyer made a fine hundred in the second innings - no other West Indian passed 25 in the match - but Australia were always comfortable and sealed a 4-1 series win.

England's overseas winning streak stretched to five Tests when they beat Sri Lanka in the second Test in Galle, taking the series 2-0. At the end of day three, England were 339 for 9, 42 runs behind Sri Lanka in the first innings. The game then went into fast forward. England's last-wicket pair put on five runs more, and then their spinners wrecked the Sri Lanka line-up, shooting them out for 126, after which the batters got the 164 needed to win. Pity poor Lasith Embuldeniya, who took ten wickets in the match and finished on the losing side. In the end, England's spinners, Dom Bess and Jack Leach, were too good for Sri Lanka, finishing with 22 wickets in the two matches.

The Grand Old Man of South African cricket is born. Dave Nourse was born in Croydon, England, but went to South Africa as a 17-year-old and ended up making 45 consecutive Test appearances for them. A dogged left-hander and swing bowler, he made 15 Test fifties but only one hundred, 111 against Australia in Johannesburg in 1921-22. He played first-class cricket until he was 57, hence the nickname. His son, Dudley, also played 34 Tests for South Africa. He died in Port Elizabeth in 1948.

Plucked from nowhere by Javed Miandad, and so green that he didn't have any bowling boots before the tour, the 18-year-old Wasim Akram made his debut today in the second Test between Pakistan and New Zealand, in Auckland. He failed to score a run, took 2 for 105, and Pakistan were trounced by an innings - but Wasim soon made his mark with ten wickets in the next Test, in Dunedin.

India's lower order pulled off a thrilling ODI tie in Auckland to keep the series alive, after being seemingly out for the count - they needed 131 in the last 15 overs with four wickets in hand. Their magic man Ravindra Jadeja kept them in the game even when they were nine down and needed 29 from the last two. In the final over, with 18 to get, Jadeja hit two fours and a six, and got two runs from wides, but managed only a single off the final ball when two were needed.

The day Adam Gilchrist went past Mark Boucher's world record of 413 Test dismissals, in the Adelaide Test. Gilchrist announced his retirement the next day, and finished his career with 416 dismissals. Boucher took the record back one month later.

South African allrounder Denys Morkel, born today, bowled fast-medium awayswingers with an easy action and plenty of pace off the pitch. A fine driver on both sides of the wicket, he shone on his first overseas tour to England in 1929, scoring 321 runs in five Tests and taking 14 wickets. But having decided to move to England, he was unavailable to play the MCC in 1930-31. He did make South Africa's tour to Australia in 1931-32 but was a disappointment, mostly because of poor health. He set up a business in the motor trade in Nottingham, which became a flourishing concern.

Birth of Lendl Simmons, nephew of Phil, and a West Indies opening batter. Simmons scored a half-century in his second ODI in 2006, and got a game in the World Cup the next year. He got into the Test side in 2009 and starred for West Indies in the World T20 that year. However, his form waned thereafter, in every format, and he spent a year out before turning 2011 into a bumper year in one-dayers, with eight half-centuries and one hundred in 13 innings between April and December. He quit Tests in 2014 to focus on the shorter formats and has been a regular in various T20 leagues.

A couple of Don Bradman masterclasses. On this day he smashed 340 not out for New South Wales against Victoria, an innings that included 38 fours. But though NSW racked up 713 for 6, it wasn't enough for victory.

This one was, though. With the poor Victorians on the receiving end again, The Don slammed 167 in the second innings to set up a comfortable NSW win. For good measure, Bradman snapped up the last wicket.

A dashing Bangladeshi left-handed opener is born. Shahriar Nafees was thrust into the Test squad when he was just 19 but it was in 2006 that he exploded, against the might of Australia, stroking his way to a brilliant maiden hundred in Fatullah. Nafees was appointed vice-captain for the Champions Trophy later that year but his batting form slipped the following year and in 2008, he signed up for the ICL, He was recalled in January 2010, but despite some good knocks in the next two years, wasn't considered for a central contract in 2012.

Other birthdays
1867 Bill Storer (England)
1908 Hopper Levett (England)
1925 Eric Dempster (New Zealand)
1969 Tim de Leede (Netherlands)
1979 David Mutendera (Zimbabwe)