December 23 down the years

The great accumulator

Geoff Boycott breaks Garry Sobers' record, scores a century, and leaves the tour

Geoff Boycott ended his career with 8114 Test runs © Getty Images

To his undisguised satisfaction, Geoff Boycott broke Garry Sobers' Test record of 8032 runs. No one was unduly surprised that he went on to make a century, his 22nd and last at this level. The Delhi Test was drawn, and before the tour was over Boycott had returned to England with his reputation intact: as a genuinely great accumulator of runs and a complicated human being.

A real nailbiter decided the Cricinfo Women's World Cup. In the final in Lincoln, hosts New Zealand won the toss, batted, and were all out for 184. Tight bowling by Katrina Keenan and Rachel Pullar helped dismiss hot favourites Australia in the last over, leaving New Zealand just the third country after England and Australia to win the trophy after seven such tournaments.

A big win for Pakistan in their first Test series at home in ten years. In Karachi, they beat Sri Lanka by 263 runs, but not without some drama first. Dismissed for 191 in their first innings, Pakistan began their second 80 runs behind. And then the top four batters each made a hundred - only the second instance of that happening in Tests. Opener Abid Ali, playing his first series, top-scored with 174, and his 278-run stand for the first wicket with Shan Masood was Pakistan's highest since 1997. Only Oshada Fernando and Niroshan Dickwella mounted some resistance in the chase, but Sri Lanka survived just a couple of overs into day five before folding for 212 and giving 16-year-old fast bowler Naseem Shah his maiden five-for. Ali and Babar Azam had also made hundreds in the first Test, a rain-hit draw in Rawalpindi.

Another Master Blaster masterclass by Viv Richards. His double ton in Melbourne was the first by a West Indian in a Test in Australia - but the draw put an end to West Indies' run of 11 consecutive Test wins.

Two of Australia's stalwarts of the 1960s made their Test debuts in Johannesburg. Bob Simpson scored 60 in the first innings and wicketkeeper Wally Grout held six catches in the second. Ian Meckiff, who made his debut in the same game, later retired after being called for throwing in a Test.

With a right arm withered by polio but spitting legspin spite, Bhagwath Chandrasekhar achieved his best Test figures of 8 for 79. England won this Delhi Test but eventually lost the series, in which Chandra took 35 wickets.

New Zealand wiped the floor with West Indies in the second ODI, in Christchurch. After they made their way to 325 in 50, Trent Boult delivered the coup de grace, with a rampaging 7 for 34 that blasted West Indies out for 121 in 28 overs. "It's like I grow an extra limb when the ball swings," Boult said afterwards.

Birth of seam bowler Don Cleverley, who appeared in only two Tests for New Zealand - a long way apart. After playing against South Africa in Christchurch in 1931-32, he wasn't picked again until the massacre by Australia in Wellington in 1945-46. His gap of 14 years 28 days between Tests is the fourth-longest of all time, behind only John Traicos of South Africa and Zimbabwe, George Gunn of England, Younis Ahmed of Pakistan, and South Africa's Mick Commaille.

Birth of one of the relatively few pace bowlers to captain England. Arthur Gilligan formed a sharp opening attack with Maurice Tate for Sussex and England. Between them they dismissed South Africa for only 30 in the Edgbaston Test of 1924, Gilligan finishing with eyebrow-raising figures of 6 for 7. Although Australia retained the Ashes the following winter, Gilligan led England to an innings win in Melbourne, their first win over the old enemy since the First World War.

Other birthdays
1944 Uday Joshi (India)
1949 Wally Edwards (Australia)
1977 Harvinder Singh (India)