On this day in 1977, the late Ben Hollioake was born.
I was only nine-years-old but I remember it well.
I remember watching the news, and seeing a mangled Porsche, following the tragic death of a player that was taken from the world far too young.
At only 24, his car crashed in Australia, killing him, and bringing the cricketing world to its knees. His life, and career – which would have been promising, as one of England’s most elegant batsmen was cut short tragically.
Alec Stewart remarked, that “Ben was the most naturally gifted cricketer that I have ever played alongside.”
But, he was a sublime player to watch bat.
Despite being only small when he was still playing, I have watched his swashbuckling 63 he scored on debut against Australia in 1997, over and over again.
His driving of McGrath down the ground is simply mouthwatering, and his natural talent was perfectly apparent.
On this day in 1999 Australia took Pakistan to pieces at the Gabba, with two destructive centuries.
After Pakistan scored 367 batting first in the first Test, the Australians hit back with a crashing approach.
Opener Michael Slater 169 off 271, before Mark Waugh struck exactly 100 off 148 balls.
And this was no baby-attack. Pakistan had Shoaib Akhtar running in at the peak of his career, Wasim Akram, Mushtaq Ahmed, Azhar Mahmood and Abdul Razzaq.
Messrs Adam Gilchrist and Shane Warne also hit quick fire eighties to take Australia’s score past the 500 mark.
When Pakistan folded to just 281 in their second innings, Australia required just 74 to win.
On this day in 1988 India’s new golden boy Virat Kohli was born.
Silky smooth with a near-perfect technique, Kohli is widely viewed as the successor to the mantle of India’s best batsman.
Once seen as a raw, and even immature man; Kohli has combined his golden touch with the bat, particularly in ODI cricket, with an ever growing maturity. Most recently, the Indian captain decided to play for India A, to get some match practice. Both maturity and humility it would seem.
After being hit on the helmet by Mitchell Johnson, Kohli scored a sensational century against Australia in 2014/15, showing his ability to play in unfamiliar conditions and against the quickest of bowlers.
ON THIS DAY in 2003, South Africa’s young captained smashed a second double century against England in a matter of weeks at Lord’s.
After managing just 173 all out, England were put to the sword at Lord’s by South Africa’s 22-year-old new captain. He smashed 277 at Edgbaston in the first Test of the 2003 series’, before hitting this second double, a matter of days later – with 259.
You would think England would be sick of the sight of Smith, but when South Africa’s total was on just 13, England’s skipper, Nasser Hussain let Smith off the hook by dropping him after he chased a wide one.
It would prove to be one of the most expensive drops in Test cricket.
His 259 came off 370 balls and included
At Edgbaston 1981 Australia needed only 151 to win, but England’s talismanic allrounder had other ideas.
After smashing a sensational match-winning ton at Headingley, he won the game with the ball this time around, taking five wickets for one run.
England won the Test by just 23 runs, putting them 2-1 up in the series.
ON THIS DAY in 2006, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene wore down the might of South Africa, with a gigantic 624-run partnership – the biggest in Test history.
At the SSC in Colombo, Sri Lanka bowled the proteas out for 169, before it became apparent that their own batsmen were allowed to bat on a different pitch.
Mahela Jayawardene came tantalisingly close to the world record test score of 400* set by Brian Lara in 2004, with 374 off 572.
The home side racked up 756-5 declared, with Kumar Sangakkara caressing 287 of 457 to reinforce Jayawardene, with a scintillating and technically supreme knock.
The record surpassed the previous by 48 runs, which oddly was set by fellow Sri Lankans.
Unlike other batting records that do not help the side win., this partnership helped to crush the South Africans, who lost the match by a big margin of 153 runs.
ON THIS DAY South Africa’s young captain bludgeoned 277 during the first Test between England and South Africa at Edgbaston 2003.
After a string of poor performances, Smith struck the mammoth double-century with fellow opener Herschel Gibbs also hitting a big hundred.
Unfortunately for the proteas, England managed to rack up a similarly large score, and the Test petered out to a draw.