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A true competitor

1955 That great competitor Allan Border was born

Wisden CricInfo staff
All Today's Yesterdays - July 27 down the years
That great competitor Allan Border was born. First selected for Australia during the upheaval of World Series Cricket in 1978, Border swiftly became the rock of Australia's batting, and the captain who turned their fortunes round. He was a reluctant leader at first - the original Captain Grumpy - and little wonder, as Australia stumbled from one humiliation to another, including back-to-back series defeats against New Zealand in 1985-86. But Border himself never flinched. Arguably his finest hour as a batsman came against the West Indies in 1983-84, when his innings of 98 and 100 - both not out - single-handedly saved the Trinidad Test, but it was his Ashes victory of 1989 that confirmed his status as a leader, and set Australia on the path towards world domination. In a 15-year career, he set world records for most Tests (156), Test catches (also 156), consecutive Tests (a remarkable 153) and Tests as captain (93), most of which still stand.
Graham Gooch attains greatness at last. At the end of the 1980s, Gooch's Test record was something of a curate's egg - his average of 36.90, with eight hundreds from 73 Tests, did not do him justice. But in 1990, galvanised by his appointment as captain, he embarked on a transformation. In a golden summer, at Test and county level, Gooch helped himself to 1058 runs in six Tests. Almost half of these - 456 - came in one match, against India at Lord's, including, on this day, his career-best score of 333. It was a match sent from the Gods, studded with performances of breathtaking brilliance: Mohammad Azharuddin's lordly 121, Kapil Dev's four consecutive sixes to save the follow-on, Sachin Tendulkar's one-handed running catch to dismiss Allan Lamb. But Gooch's achievement topped the lot. In the second innings he added a second century - 123 - to become the only player to score a triple century and a century in the same first-class match. England won by 247 runs.
West Indies retained the Wisden Trophy with a 55-run victory at Headingley. England needed 260, but from 140 for 4 they faded away. Still there at the bitter end, with 76 not out to add to his first-innings 116, was their captain Tony Greig, still living the dream of making West Indies grovel. Instead it was England who were pleading for mercy - they would not beat West Indies in a Test anywhere for another 14 years.
Australian "mystery spinner" Jack Iverson was born. By gripping the ball between his thumb and a bent middle finger, Iverson was able to launch the ball in springboard fashion at the unsuspecting batsman. He caused a sensation in his only Test series, taking 21 wickets in 1950-51, including 6 for 27 in the third Test at Sydney, to help Australia retain the Ashes. Although a formidable bowler for years afterwards, he never put himself forward for Test selection again.
The start of Jim Laker's assault on the record books. Warming up for greater things to come, Laker took 9 for 37 for England against Australia in the first innings at Old Trafford. His spin twin, Tony Lock, also conceded 37runs in the innings, but had only the scalp of opener Jim Burke to show for it. He must have assumed his luck would improve second-time around ...
Don Bradman's 29th and last Test hundred. Chasing a record 404 in the fourth Test at Headingley, Bradman's unbeaten 173, in partnership with Arthur Morris who made 182, enabled Australia to canter home by seven wickets. They were also the last of the 6996 runs the Don would score in Test cricket.
Between them, England and India scored 588 runs in the day at Old Trafford, still a Test record. The bulk of these - 398 - were scored by England, including 94 for Joe Hardstaff jr and a pair of cameos from Walter Robins and Hedley Verity, whose 66 not out was his Test-best. But Mushtaq Ali and Vijay Merchant replied in kind, reaching 190 for 0 at the close.
An unbroken world record stand of 465 between Rohan Kanhai and John Jameson for Warwickshire against Gloucestershire was started and finished on the same day.
Oxford University student Abbas Ali Baig scored 112 at Old Trafford on his Test debut for India.
Feeding on some deliberately tame bowling, Tom Moody scored a century in 26 minutes for Warwickshire against Glamorgan.
Left-arm swing and spin bowler Percy Hornibrook was born. He didn't play for Australia until he was 39, but quickly made up for lost time. His 7 for 92 at The Oval in 1930 is in the Wisden 100 and the top ten of the Wisden Ashes Ratings. It won Australia the Ashes after England had made 405 in the first innings.
Death of the first captain to lift South Africa's Currie Cup. Godfrey Cripps led Transvaal to the inaugural title in 1889-90. In his only Test, South Africa failed to reach 100 in either innings.
Other birthdays
1933 Roger Harris (New Zealand)
1963 Naved Anjum(Pakistan)
1967 Neil Smith (England)