June 20 down the years

World Cup anti-climax

The dampest of squibs on the biggest stage of all

The victorious Australians with the 1999 World Cup, Australia v Pakistan, Final, World Cup, Birmingham, June 20, 1999

Australia won their second World Cup  •  Getty Images

A World Cup final - and quite a letdown it was too. Pakistan were simply demolished by Australia, who hustled them out for 132 (extras top-scored, with 25) and smashed their way to an eight-wicket victory with a massive 29.5 overs to spare. It was quite simply a case of a great Australian team at the peak of their powers, and an enigmatic Pakistan side at their worst.
In Cape Province, South Africa, Allan Lamb is born. Qualifying for England through his parents, he made his debut as soon as he was eligible, against India in 1982, ironically at the expense of several players, Graham Gooch and Geoff Boycott among them, who had been banned for three years for their part in the rebel tour to South Africa. Lamb played 79 Tests in all, in which time he seized countless initiatives and wound up umpteen bowlers with his impudent strokeplay and feisty attitude. Lamb probably set a Test record for expletives during his career. When the going got tough, Lambie got going, and six of his 14 Test centuries were against West Indies, including three in 1984 - a summer in which he added a fourth, against Sri Lanka - and two in the Caribbean in 1989-90. He was also a magnificent one-day batter.
As Mike Atherton turned for a third run in the second Test against Australia, he was 22 yards away from making his first century in a Lord's Test. Then he slipped on the green side-strip pitch, and with his feet stuck as he desperately tried to get up, he could only watch on all fours as Ian Healy whipped off the bails. England were following on after a first-innings deficit of 427 - Australia piled up 632, with centuries from their top three - and lost the match by an innings and 62 runs. In all, 16 men have been run out for 99 in Tests. This was only Atherton's fourth Lord's Test, but though he played 11 more, he never did get his name on the famous honours board.
A better day for England, as they dismissed New Zealand for what was then the lowest total in a Lord's Test - a paltry 47. Jim Laker and Tony Lock shared nine wickets on a spiteful, rain-affected pitch, and the following day the Kiwis were skittled for 77 to complete an innings defeat. In all, the match lasted less than 12 hours.
Australia clinched a nerveless two-wicket victory in the final hour of the opening Ashes Test at Edgbaston, just after it seemed like the match had definitely swung England's way. Joe Root made his 30th hundred in the first innings, where England cantered along at more than five an over, Bazball-style, and he was unbeaten on 118 when Ben Stokes declared at 393 for 8 near close of play on day one. Usman Khawaja picked up the baton and scored a gritty 141 over the next day and a bit of the third, drawing Australia level. Set 281, Australia began day five at 107 for 3, with Khawaja, who batted on all five days, in harness again, but they were reduced to 227 for 8 by the final session of the rain-interrupted day, with only Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon left to mount any resistance. A supremely composed Cummins dispatched Root's offspin for two sixes in the last hour, while England delayed taking the new ball. Cummins then weathered the fast bowlers' short-pitched attack once the new ball came into play, and with three runs to get off 28 balls, guided an Ollie Robinson delivery to the boundary to seal the win.
Another England-New Zealand Lord's Test, and a nervy denouement. England scrambled to a draw with only two wickets left, thanks to Alec Stewart, who made 119 in the second innings, and Steve Rhodes, who made 32 and 24, both not out, and batted for nearly six hours in the match. New Zealand's star was Dion Nash, who became the first man to score a fifty and take ten wickets in a Lord's Test. His side should have won, but some execrable declaration batting on the fourth day - they plodded along to 211 for 5 off 68 overs - ultimately cost them, along with bad light, which prevented Nash bowling at the tailenders at the death.
Birth of one of India's quickest bowlers. Ramakant "Tiny" Desai - he was only 5ft 4ins tall, hence the nickname - took the Ranji Trophy by storm in his first season, with 50 wickets at an average of 11 in 1958-59. He made his Test debut that year too, against West Indies in Delhi, when he was the only bowler to emerge with any credit as West Indies hammered over 600. Desai was a bit of a one-man band in England the following summer, and reduced England to 80 for 6 at Lord's, a day short of his 20th birthday. He ended up with 74 Test wickets, and later became chairman of selectors. He died in a Mumbai hospital in 1998.
World Cup semi-final day, and England booked a place in the final for the first time with a thrilling nine-run victory over New Zealand at Old Trafford. England's most economical overs came from, of all people, Geoff Boycott (9-1-24-1) and Graham Gooch (3-1-8-0). Gooch also biffed three sixes in his 84-ball 71, an innings that made him Man of the Match. On the same day, West Indies overwhelmed Pakistan by 43 runs at The Oval - but their passage to the final was not without one or two scares. Chasing 294, Pakistan were in pole position at 176 for 1 with 20 overs remaining and Majid Khan and Zaheer Abbas going like a train, but Colin Croft turned the tide with a blistering 12-ball spell in which he blew away Majid, Zaheer and Javed Miandad. Viv Richards then nailed a high-class trio of his own: Asif Iqbal, Mudassar Nazar and Imran Khan.
Birth of Pakistan opener Taufeeq Umar, who scored a century on Test debut against Bangladesh, and then impressed with half-centuries against Australia and West Indies, and a hundred in Cape Town in an innings in which the rest of the team contributed 117. But he then entered a prolonged run of poor form, which included disappointing home and away series against India, and with Pakistan chopping and changing their openers frequently, his appearances became less frequent. Returning to the national team in 2010-11, after a four-year absence, Umar struck a richer vein. He hit a match-winning hundred in St Kitts in May 2011 and a career-best 236 against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi that October. Injury ended his solid run in mid-2012 and he played just one more Test thereafter.
The Arnos Vale ground in St Vincent became Test cricket's 78th venue - and Sri Lanka celebrated by reducing West Indies to 5 for 3 on the first morning. The destroyers were the less-than-threatening Ravi Pushpakumara and Sajeewa de Silva, but a Brian Lara century in the second innings gave West Indies the draw they needed to clinch a 1-0 series victory.
Other birthdays
1856 George Vernon (England)
1860 Jack Worrall (Australia)
1897 Cyril Francois (South Africa)
1909 Robert Marley (West Indies)
1949 Arani Jayaprakash (India)
1968 Aijaz Ali (USA)
1970 Maia Lewis (New Zealand)
1972 Paras Mhambrey (India)
1984 Waddington Mwayenga (Zimbabwe)