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This Week in History: Feb 10-16


February 10

1937 - Australian opener and captain and later commentator Bill Lawry was born in Thornbury, Victoria.

* Lawry is a former cricketer who played for Victoria and Australia. He captained Australia in 25 tests, winning nine, losing eight and drawing eight, and led Australia in the inaugural One Day International match, played in 1971.

* An opening batsman with a reputation for resolute defence, he had the ability to spend long periods of time at the crease. As his career progressed, he wound back his strokeplay to the point where he was described by an English journalist as "the corpse with pads on".

Under his captaincy, Australia were whitewashed by South Africa in 1969/70. They fell to a 170-run loss in the first test in Cape Town, with Lawry giving finger gestures to the crowd and continuously arguing with the umpires. The Australian skipper managed only 2 in the first innings as the hosts took a 218-run lead that set up the match. Lawry scored 83 in the second innings, which was to be the highest Australian score for the series, an indication of his team's lack of batting form. At the end of match, angered by officiating that he considered to be unacceptable, Lawry refused to accept a presentation by the two umpires.

* The series moved on to Kingsmead at Durban. Host captain Ali Bacher outwitted Lawry by persuading the Australian skipper to toss long before the start of play. Bacher won the toss and decided — against conventional wisdom — to bat first on a green pitch that would normally offer assistance to the bowlers. Immediately after, ground staff ran onto the field and cut off all the grass, making in ideal for batting, thereby giving the South Africans the advantage. Knowing the rules in greater detail, Bacher had tricked Lawry. The laws of cricket allowed for the wicket to be mown up to half an hour before the start of play, so Bacher had talked Lawry in tossing early so that he could change the pitch condition to advantage his team. South Africa amassed 9/622 declared and Australia fell to its first innings defeat in four years, folding for 157 and 336. Lawry could not see off the hosts' opening bowlers, falling for 15 and 14,[5] as South Africa took a 2–0 lead.

* The last two tests brought no respite, as South Africa registered two large victories by 307 and 323 runs respectively. Lawry only managed 79 runs in the last two tests, and passed 20 only once. Bacher's side, which was regarded as one of the finest in test history, had inflicted what remains the heaviest test series defeat in Australian cricket history.

Lawry's men did not win any of the three matches against provincial sides after the start of the tests, meaning that they went eight matches without victory.

* Lawry was unceremoniously dumped as captain and player for the final test of the 1970–71 Ashes series in Australia. Lawry's sacking is regarded as one of the more distasteful incidents in Australian cricket history—he was not informed personally of the selectors' decision before the decision was first broadcast on radio and he only became aware of his fate when confronted by reporters.

* Lawry is part of the Nine Network cricket commentary team and has been in the role for over 30 years.

February 11

1851 - First Intercolonial match in Australia at Launceston Racecourse between an eleven of Van Diemen's Land and the Colony of Victoria.

February 12

1949 - Gundappa Viswanath is born in Bhadravati, Mysore.

* Viswanath is a former Indian cricketer. He was one of India's finest batsmen throughout the 1970s.

* He played test cricket for India from 1969 to 1983 making 91 appearances and scoring over 6000 runs. He also played in One Day Internationals from 1974 to 1982 including the World Cups of 1975 and 1979.

* At state level, he played for Karnataka (formerly Mysore) throughout his career.

* Viswanath, popularly nicknamed Vishy, had an elegant and wristy batting style which emphasised timing rather than power. Though he had a complete repertoire of shots around the wicket, Viswanath's favourite was the square cut, a shot he often used to great effect against fast bowlers. He usually fielded at slip position.

February 13

1948 - Andy Ganteaume, 53 not out overnight in second test between West Indies and England at Bridgetown, completed a century and finished with 112 in what would prove to be his only test innings.

* Ganteaume is a Trinidadian former cricketer who played one test match for the West Indies in 1948 as a batsman. He scored 112 in his only test innings, which left him with highest test batting average in history.

* Ganteaume played for Trinidad from a young age and was chosen to play in a test match against England following his good batting form in 1948. However, his slow scoring probably cost him his place and he never played another test, although he toured England with the West Indies in 1957.

As of 2013, Ganteaume is the oldest surviving West Indies test cricketer.

February 14

1896 - South Africa is bowled out for 30 runs in their second innings by England at Port Elizabeth. This remains their lowest test score, equalled in 1924 at Headingley.

February 15

1978 - After 48 years and in the 48th test between the two countries, New Zealand finally win a test match against England, winning by 72 runs in a low-scoring match at Wellington.

* Though England's form and fortune struck rock bottom in the crucial final innings, it was a great and deserved triumph for New Zealand and for Richard Hadlee, the fast bowling son of Walter Hadlee, the former test captain and much-respected chairman of the NZ Cricket Council.

Success was all the sweeter, and more exciting, because of the remarkable turnaround of the match. At tea on the fourth day the air was loaded with foreboding for New Zealand; the portents were all for the pattern of history to continue.

Willis, supported by superb catching, had caused a collapse of nine for 41 in two hours and England, with time of no concern, had to score a moderate 137 to win.

Only two hours later, New Zealand gloom was transformed into joy as England, with Rose retired with a bruised right arm, tottered on the brink of defeat with eight down for 53. England, in turn, had been routed by Richard Hadlee and Collinge. The next morning, after a frustrating delay of forty minutes for rain, New Zealand took forty-nine minutes to complete a famous victory in an understandably emotional atmosphere. The crowd gathered in front of the pavilion and sang "For they are jolly good fellows", followed by three cheers.

Hadlee fittingly took the last two wickets. In the first innings he had four for 74, and in the second six for 26. Apart from one over by Dayle Hadlee, Richard Hadlee and Collinge bowled unchanged as England were dismissed for 64. England's previous lowest total against New Zealand was 181 at Christchurch in 1929-30 - the first series between the countries.

Without detracting in any way from the magnificence of Hadlee and Collinge, who took his 100th test and 500th first-class wicket during the match - and twice dismissed the key batsman Boycott - it would be kind to draw a discreet veil over England's performance.

Both Hadlee and Collinge tore into the attack with hostility, skill, and speed on a pitch of uneven bounce, and England's response, once Boycott was bowled off his pads, was inept in the extreme.

In some ways it was a bizarre game with a gale-force wind blowing directly down the pitch on the first day, and changing direction several times during the next four playing days.

For Boycott it was a disheartening experience. On winning the toss he chose to bowl - a decision which was fully expected of either captain - and his gamble might have succeeded but for the resolve and skill of the Derbyshire left-hander, Wright, in his first test.

Surviving a strong appeal for a catch at the wicket against Willis off the first ball of the game, Wright settled into a groove of brave and skilled defiance which had an important bearing on the result. Nothing disturbed him.

He waited forty-seven minutes for his first run, and ended the opening day of five hours forty minutes - there were two interruptions for rain and bad light - 55 not out. What New Zealand's fate might have been but for Wright was not difficult to imagine.

Though he was out next day without adding to his score, Wright had laid the foundation for his side's victory. Another vital contribution came from the former captain, Congdon, as he celebrated his 40th birthday. Only Wright and Congdon were able to cope with an attack in which Old excelled.

All but three of Old's overs on the first day were bowled into the teeth of the gale. During the afternoon he sent down eleven overs for only 13 runs, capturing a second wicket in the bargain, and added another seven overs after tea. His considerable feat of stamina led to figures of six for 54, his best in 35 tests.

At one nine-over stage Old had four for 11. New Zealand lost four wickets for 5 runs - thanks to some acrobatic catching by Taylor - and the total was a disappointing 228 in 502 minutes.

It seemed nothing like large enough, particularly as Boycott, at his most obdurate, could not be budged. England, despite the departure of Miller - caught in two minds - in the last over, finished at 89 for two.

On the third day Boycott's hourly scoring was 10, 12, 6 (including a boundary), and 12. Congdon, used as a defensive ploy in the overs before the new ball was due in most tests in the series, delivered seven successive maidens, and conceded only 7 runs in ten overs. When the new ball was taken after 67 overs, England were still 82 short of New Zealand's total and in the end they were led by 13 runs.

It was a trying innings for Boycott. Grit constantly got behind his contact lenses - in his own words, the wind crucified his eyes - and at 68 he was struck over his right eye attempting to hook Richard Hadlee. By then he had celebrated passing Sir Jack Hobbs's test aggregate of 5 410 runs - when 61 - but when he was sixth out England dismally faded into nothing. Boycott batted for seven hours twenty-two minutes, faced 304 balls, and hit nine boundaries.

Wright and Anderson put on 54 for the first wicket and New Zealand were sitting comfortably until Willis found his rhythm and speed. In 31 balls he captured four for 14. With Botham in accurate support, Howarth, Congdon, Parker and Burgess were out in the course of 6 runs.

New Zealand went from 82 for one to 123, but the mood of resignation to defeat was magically transformed when Boycott, going for the drive, was bowled off the 12th ball. Bowling and catching were uplifted, and by the time the total was a paltry 18, Miller, Randall and Roope were dismissed; Rose was out of action. Despite a flurry by Botham, England at 53 for eight at the close were a beaten side and New Zealand's finest hour had arrived. They deserved the congratulations of the cricket world.

© John Wisden & Co

1956 - Desmond Haynes is born in Barbados.

* Haynes is a West Indian cricketer and cricket coach. He was a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1991.

Haynes formed a formidable partnership with Gordon Greenidge for the West Indies cricket team in test cricket during the 1980s. Between them they managed 16 century stands, four in excess of 200. The pair made 6482 runs while batting together in partnerships, the second highest total for a batting partnership in Test cricket history.

* Haynes favoured a more measured approach to batting. He compiled 7487 runs in 116 Test matches at an average of 42.29, his highest test innings coming against England in 1984 with 184 off 395 balls.

* He is one of the few test batsman to have been dismissed handled the ball, falling in this fashion against India on 24 November 1983. He is also one of the few players to have scored a century on an ODI debut.

* He first made his name on the international scene with 148 against Australia at Antigua in a One-Day International against Australia and until recently Haynes held a number of ODI records, including most runs and most centuries. His 148 against Australia came on his debut match in One Day International which still remains the highest run ever made by a batsman on debut in ODI as well as the fastest century scored by an ODI debutant.

* He played in the World Cup of 1979, won by the West Indies, and returned to the competition in 1983, 1987 and 1992. In the 25 World Cup matches, Haynes scored 854 runs at 37.13 with three fifties and one century.

* As of 10 December 2013 Haynes remains one of the only two players in the history of ODI cricket to have scored century on both debut and last match played, the only other being English batsman Dennis Amiss.

* Haynes, when facing Australia in the bitter 1990–91 series, clashed verbally with Ian Healy, Merv Hughes, Craig McDermott and David Boon, who christened him 'Dessie'. He is also noted for using delaying tactics against England during the 1989–90 test series.

* Like most West Indian openers, Haynes was strong against pace and, after struggling against spin early in his career, developed into a strong player of slow bowling, exemplified by his knocks of 75 and 143 against Australia on an SCG dustbowl in 1989.[

* Haynes had a successful career in English county cricket, playing 95 first class games for Middlesex, scoring 7071 runs at 49.1 with a best of 255* against Sussex. He was awarded his Middlesex cap in 1989 and played at Lords till 1994.

* He played 63 first class matches for Barbados from 1976/77 to 1994/95, scoring 4843 at 49.92 with a top score of 246; and 21 games for Western Province from 1994/95 to 1996/97, making 1340 runs at 40.6 with a best of 202*. In all first class cricket he made 26030 runs at 45.90 and 15651 more in 419 one day games at 42.07 with a top score of 152*.

He scored 61 first class hundreds in all and won 55-man of the match awards in all forms of the game.

After his retirement from the game in 1997 Haynes has served as Chairman of Selectors of the Barbados Cricket Association, President of Carlton Cricket Club, Secretary of the West Indies Players Association and is currently a Director of the West Indies Cricket Board. He is a former Government Senator and was Chairman of the National Sports Council. His main relaxation is golf. A biography Lion of Barbados was published about him, punning on his middle name 'Leo'.

February 16

1904 - Ellis Achong, who appeared in six tests in the 1930s and is sometimes credited as the origin of the term "chinaman" to describe slow left-arm unorthodox spin bowling, is born in Trinidad.

* Achong was a sportsman from Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies. He played cricket for the West Indies and was the first person of Chinese descent to play in a test match. Left-arm unorthodox spin (left-arm wrist spin) is sometimes known as "slow left-arm chinaman" (SLC) which is thought to be in his honour.

* Achong was born in Belmont, Port of Spain. He played football as a left-winger for a local team, Maple, in the 1920s and 1930s, and represented Trinidad and Tobago from 1919 to 1932.

* Achong is better known for playing cricket. He was mainly a bowler. His stock ball was left-arm orthodox spin (left-arm finger spin), but one of his variations was unorthodox left-arm spin. After bowling this variation to have Walter Robins stumped at Old Trafford in 1933, it is reputed that Robins said to the umpire Joe Hardstaff Sr., "fancy being done by a bloody Chinaman". Learie Constantine is said to have replied: "Do you mean the bowler or the ball?"

* An unorthodox left-arm spin delivery (spinning from the off side to the leg side for a right-handed batsman) is known as a "chinaman" as a result. However, Achong was not the earliest recorded test match player to bowl unorthodox left-arm spin – that is believed to be Charles Llewellyn of South Africa. However, the connection between Achong and the term "chinaman" is not conclusively proven.

* Achong played in six test matches for the West Indies against the English cricket team from 1930 to 1935, three in the West Indies and three in the 1933 tour of England.

* In all, Achong took eight test wickets at a bowling average of 47.25, but his test figures belie his much greater success at regional level in the West Indies between 1929–30 and 1934–35. In the final of the Inter-Colonial Tournament of 1931–32, he took 3 for 74 and 7 for 73 to bowl Trinidad to victory over British Guiana.

* He married during the 1933 tour of England and settled in Manchester. After his last test match, he continued to play cricket for several clubs in the Lancashire Leagues until 1951, taking over 1,000 wickets, including 10 in an innings for Burnley against Todmorden in 1945.

* He returned to Trinidad and Tobago in 1952, and stood as a test umpire in the 4th test between West Indies and England at Port of Spain in March 1954, a high-scoring draw in which West Indies scored an imposing 681 for 8 declared, with the 3 "W"s (Everton Weekes, Frank Worrell and Clyde Walcott) all scoring centuries in West Indies' first innings, and Peter May and Denis Compton doing the same in England's 537 in reply.

* Achong ultimately became a sports coach with the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Education, coaching and selecting the Trinidad and Tobago cricket team. He died aged 82 in St. Augustine.



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