The Month in Cricket

Mauled by Hookes, wrecked by Waqar

October is full of individual brilliance, and thrilling India-Australia finishes

India snatched victory in a chase they looked certain to flub at lunch on the fifth day. Defending 216 in Mohali, Australia had India looking down the barrel when the No. 10, Ishant Sharma, walked in. There were 92 runs to get. At the other end was VVS Laxman, using Suresh Raina as a runner because of a back spasm. Australia did everything to make life uncomfortable for Laxman, bowling short and tossing it wide outside off to get him to stretch. Hope flared for Australia when Ishant was out with India 11 short. Desperate to farm the strike, Laxman uncharacteristically lost his cool at his Hyderabad team-mate Pragyan Ojha, who refused a single off the fifth ball of an over. When Ojha survived a strong lbw shout off Mitchell Johnson, Australia probably realised the game was up. To rub it in, an attempted direct hit cost them four overthrows. Ojha then scrambled two leg-byes and India went one up in a series they went on to sweep 2-0.
VVS Laxman and Pragyan Ojha celebrate the closest of victories, 1st Test, Mohali, India v Australia, 5th day, October 5, 2010 2010:Laxman beats Australia again
Birth of a South African whose selection forced the cancellation of a Test tour - to the country of his birth. Basil D'Oliveira, born in humble circumstances to coloured parents in South Africa, looked to hone his skills in England and escape the harshness of apartheid. The commentator John Arlott was instrumental in him finding a new home, convincing Middleton, a Central Lancashire club, to take him on as their professional in 1960. D'Oliveira's air ticket was funded by the generosity of his community and a few white stars who played a match for his benefit. He later signed for Worcestershire, and six years after setting foot in England, made his Test debut against West Indies. He was controversially omitted from the touring party to South Africa in 1968-69, though he had scored 158 against Australia before the tour, but was then included as a late replacement for Tom Cartwright. However, the South African government made it clear that a coloured cricketer was not welcome, sparking a diplomatic crisis. The "D'Oliveira Affair" led to the tour being scrapped, and was a catalyst for South Africa's exclusion from international cricket for two decades.
Basil D'Oliveira at Heathrow airport, London 1931:Hello, Dolly!
New Zealand's tour of Pakistan in 1990 was the series that heralded Waqar Younis as Pakistan's next fast bowling sensation. The three Tests were played under a cloud, with allegations of ball-tampering levelled by New Zealand after the Pakistan bowlers swung the ball miles. Waqar and Wasim Akram shared 15 wickets in the first Test in Karachi, and in the second, Waqar took seven in an innings. Akram missed the third, in Faisalabad - not that it mattered to Waqar, who went it alone. Pakistan were shot out for 102 by Chris Pringle, who took 7 for 52, but Waqar hit back with another seven-for. Set 243, New Zealand were jolted early at 31 for 4, thanks to Aaqib Javed, but the destruction on this the final day was reserved for Waqar, who took 5 for 54 (finishing with a whopping 29 for the series).
Waqar Younis steams in 1990:Waqar does for New Zealand
A victory that triggered perhaps the most raucous on-field celebrations witnessed in an international match. West Indies had enough reason to let their hair down on the night of the World T20 final against hosts Sri Lanka at the Premadasa. The evening began tepidly, though: West Indies took 17 balls to score a run off the bat; the Powerplay score was 14 for 2; and after ten overs they were 32 for 2. Enter Marlon Samuels, who changed the script, playing the innings of his life. Samuels tore into Lasith Malinga, who went for 54 runs off four overs. His 78 off 56 balls took West Indies to a middling 137, but the side's bowlers were up to defending it, and West Indies won by 36 runs, taking their first world title since 1979. The players and support staff shed their inhibitions with their "Gangnam Style" celebrations, as the home fans watched, heartbroken.
West Indies celebrate their victory, 'Gangnam' style, Sri Lanka v West Indies, final, World Twenty20, Colombo, October 7, 2012 2012:Save the last dance for West Indies
It was déjà vu a year after the tied Test as India and Australia played another edge-of-the-seat thriller at the same venue, Madras, early in the World Cup. The Australians had arrived in the city nine days earlier to acclimatise, and their efforts paid off when they posted a strong 270, led by Geoff Marsh's 110. There was confusion over a boundary by Dean Jones that was initially signalled four. Jones was convinced it had carried over the rope, and in the innings break, India captain Kapil Dev agreed to give Australia the benefit of the doubt. India were cruising in their chase - Kris Srikkanth and Navjot Sidhu made 70s - and needed about 70 with 15 overs to go when Craig McDermott triggered a collapse and it came down to 8 needed off the final over. Allan Border threw the ball to Steve Waugh, who lived up to his reputation for keeping cool under pressure. Maninder Singh was India's man in the middle again, like in the tied Test, but this time he lost his off stump. Australia won by one run; the scorecard correction turned out to have made the difference.
Steve Waugh enjoys a beer after the World Cup final, Australia v England, World Cup, final, Kolkata, November 8, 1987 1987:Heart-stopper in Madras
David Hookes' reputation for being a destructive hitter of his time was established during World Series Cricket. The dashing left-hander was part of Australia's Test plans in 1982, when he scored the fastest recorded century in terms of balls faced for South Australia against Victoria at Adelaide Oval. Victoria captain Graham Yallop's delayed declaration left South Australia needing an unlikely 272 in 30 overs. His opposite number, Hookes, wasn't pleased. He made a statement by promoting himself to open, and over the course of 43 minutes and 34 balls, left the bowlers paralysed, like during his first-innings hundred (which had come inside a session). Edges flew through slips, and Hookes fetched balls from wide outside off and despatched them to fine leg. He smashed 18 fours and three sixes before he was dismissed for 107. When the game was called off, South Australia were 66 short with three wickets in hand.
David Hookes cuts, England v Australia, 1st Test, Lord's, 5th day, June 21, 1977 1982:Hookes tees off