The bunny Phantom
In an age where players are expected to be multi-skilled, New Zealand fast bowler Chris Martin's lack of ability with the bat was legendary. Many would have thought the days of genuine Test No. 11s had passed with the retirement of Courtney Walsh, but Martin, who was born today, kept the flag flying for rabbits, much to the delight of his fans, who nicknamed him the Phantom. In 71 Tests, he got seven pairs, three more than the next best (or worst), and 19 other ducks. His nagging bowling got him 233 Test wickets, placing him third on New Zealand's wicket-taking list, at 33.81. His best figures came in a rare win for New Zealand - 11 for 180 in their first Test victory over South Africa at home, in 2004.
Australia's eight-wicket victory over England in the first Test in Brisbane was notable for Trevor Bailey's 357-minute fifty. In all, the Barnacle's 68 used up a paint-drying 425 balls. It was brave stuff in a match where only two batters reached fifty - but the other, Norm O'Neill, trumped Bailey with an unbeaten 71 as the Aussies eased home. It was hardly thrilling fare for the audience at home in what was Australia's first televised Test.
In Adelaide, India won their first Test in Australia in ten years. Cheteshwar Pujara's patient and gritty hundred steadied the side after a shaky first morning and then India's bowlers, Jasprit Bumrah and R Ashwin in particular, gave them a slim lead. Australia's target of 323 was by no means easily gettable, but despite some sharp bowling by Bumrah and Mohammed Shami on the final day, India suffered several nervous moments when Australia's last three wickets added 104. In the end India won by 31 runs.
A day filled with bittersweet memories for Stuart Law. In for the injured Steve Waugh, Law stroked a classy unbeaten 54 as Australia took an inexorable grip on the first Test against Sri Lanka in Perth - but it turned out to be his only Test innings. His fellow debutant, the 20-year-old Tasmanian golden boy Ricky Ponting, was also in the runs until he was sawn off by a shocking lbw decision four runs short of a maiden century. But the innings that underpinned it all was Michael Slater's highest Test score, a rollicking 219 that included 15 fours and five sixes. Australia sealed an innings-and-36-run victory inside four days.
It had seemed inevitable since the time he entered Test cricket at the age of 16, but when it came it was a bit of a relief. Nearly a year before, Sachin Tendulkar had equalled Sunil Gavaskar's record of 34 Test centuries in Dhaka, and six Tests later came No. 35, against Sri Lanka at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi, one of many records in a record-breaking career.
Records tumbled in a consolation win for India in Chattogram as Ishan Kishan, stepping in for an injured Rohit Sharma, set the third and final ODI against Bangladesh ablaze with the fastest ODI double-hundred. Kishan reached the milestone in 126 balls, surpassing Chris Gayle's 138-ball 200 against Zimbabwe in 2015. At age 24, he became the youngest player to the milestone and also the first player to convert their debut ODI hundred into a double-century. His 290-run second-wicket stand with Virat Kohli, who himself scored a hundred, propelled India to a mammoth 409, and in response Bangladesh could only muster 182. They won the series 2-1, though.
A firebrand is born. The brawny Welshman Jeff Jones played 15 Tests for England between 1964 and 1968, only two of which were on home soil. It might have been many more but for a serious elbow injury. On his day Jones' left-armers came down frighteningly quickly, and in 1965 he returned the staggering figures of 13-9-11-8 for Glamorgan against Leicestershire. His son Simon, who made his Test debut in 2002 was another Welsh firebrand.
West Indies triumphed by 125 runs in a classic first Test in Brisbane. Australia had looked to be in control after centuries from Bill Lawry and Ian Chappell (who were both eventually mugged by Clive Lloyd's innocuous medium-pacers) but a startling collapse (from 217 for 1 to 284 all out) gave West Indies a first-innings lead of 12. Lloyd, in his first Test against Australia, nailed it with 129, and Garry Sobers (6 for 73) bowled them to victory. His haul included the crucial wicket of Chappell, caught brilliantly at short third man via the knee of first slip.
A strange kind of glory for Asif Mujtaba, who smote Steve Waugh over midwicket for six to earn Pakistan a tie in their World Series match against Australia in Hobart. For once the biter was bit, as 16 came from the usually ice-cool Waugh's last over. Sadly for Pakistan, they lost their next six matches in the tournament, and didn't come close to qualifying for the final.
Birth of a metronome. Australian seamer Harry Boyle was happy to plug away while his erstwhile partner Frederick Spofforth wreaked havoc at the other end. Boyle's finest hour came at The Oval in 1882, when he took the final wicket in the seven-run Australian victory that spawned the legend of the Ashes.
Kris Srikkanth almost single-handedly led India to a four-wicket victory in the first one-dayer against New Zealand, in Vishakapatnam. He took 5 for 27 with his offspin to muzzle New Zealand after they sped to 116 for 1, and then, in more typical style, he crashed 70 off 87 balls. This came in the middle of a peculiar purple patch with the ball: Srikkanth took 17 wickets in six ODIs, but only eight in the 140 either side of it.
One of Test cricket's few casualties of war is born. Pudsey-born Major Booth (Major was his first name, not his rank) was a dashing right-hand batter and brisk fast-medium bowler who was just reaching his peak before the First World War. He played twice for England on their 1912-13 tour of South Africa, but fell on the Somme in July 1916.
1870 Tom McKibbin (Australia)
1933 Gren Alabaster (New Zealand)
1947 Eddie Nicholls (West Indies)
1969 Nadeem Khan (Pakistan)
1969 Darren Berry (Australia)
1971 Manjula Munasinghe (Sri Lanka)
1978 Stephen Peters (England)
1983 Anwar Hossain (Bangladesh)
1985 Talha Jubair (Bangladesh)