On This Day

  • November 19 down the years

Can't bat, can't bowl, can't field

The sporting events of November 19 down the years
Ian Botham en route to his last ever century for England © Getty Images
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1986
There are only three things wrong with this England team, wrote Martin Johnson. They can't bat, can't bowl, and can't field. Despite these slight handicaps, they won the first Test of the series on their way to retaining the Ashes. Ian Botham blasted 13 fours and four sixes in his last Test century after the top order did their job, then pace bowler Graham Dilley took five wickets in the first innings and off-spinner John Emburey five in the second. It was Australia who didn't bat or field too cleverly. Forced to follow on, they lost by seven wickets while England sat back and enjoyed the sound of a journalist eating his words.

1906
Not quite the nationwide jubilation of 2005, but close enough. This was the day London was selected to host the 1908 Olympics.

1994
6 foot 9 inch James Oyebola won the vacant British heavyweight boxing title by stopping Clifton Mitchell in the fourth round. He lost the championship the following year and was murdered in 2007 for next to nothing: asking a group of men to put out their cigarettes in a London club. He was shot in the face and leg and his life support machine was switched off four days later. One of the four men was sentenced to 28 years for the killing.

1932
In an American football college game in West Virginia, Liberty State beat Cedarville 127-0, Joe Kershalla scoring an astonishing 72 points.

1966
Gail Devers was born. The dominant 100 metre hurdler of her day, she won five World Championship medals, including three golds - but couldn't get it right at the Olympics. In the 1993 final, she was clear in the lead when she smacked the last hurdle and staggered across the line in fifth. In 1996, she finished fourth. Some ample compensation came in the way of two surprise golds in the 100 metres in the same years, winning them by a combined margin of 0.01 seconds. Not bad for someone who suffered horribly from Graves' Disease, which cost her more than two years' training.

Ronan O'Gara kicks for goal © Getty Images
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2006
One of Ireland's best performances in recent rugby. Against a strong Australia team, they won 21-6, equalling their widest margin of victory over the Wallabies. Ireland scored the only two tries of the match, and Ronan O'Gara kicked 11 points as well as running the match from fly-half.

1986
Dayron Robles was born in Guantanamo, Cuba. One of the smoothest 110 metres hurdlers, he's also fast, setting a world record of 12.87 in 2008, the same year he won the Olympic title.

1907
Luigi Beccali was born. Italy's champion miler and Fascist icon: he gave the salute on the podium after winning the 1500 metres at the 1932 Olympics. His incredible sprint down the home straight took him past Phil Edwards from Canada and brought him an Olympic record ahead of Britain's John 'Jerry' Cornes. In the same event two years later, Beccali won the first ever European title, in Turin, where he'd equalled the world record in 1933. He broke it in Milan eight days later.

2005
On this date, the Springboks enjoyed themselves abroad. In 2005, even with Percy Montgomery sent off (the red card was later rescinded), they were too strong for Wales in Cardiff, scoring four tries to one in a 33-16 win. Flying wing Bryan Habana scored two tries, and Montgomery kicked three penalties before being asked to leave.

In 2000, Montgomery kicked another three goals in a 28-18 win over Ireland in Dublin.

In 1994, South Africa scored five tries to one in outclassing Scotland 34-10. Scrum-half Joost van der Westhuizen scored the Springboks' first try at Murrayfield since Jannie Engelbrecht (the 1994 tour manager) in 1965.

The Scots don't like this date quite so much. In 1988, they lost 32-13 to Australia at home, David Campese scoring two of the Wallabies' five tries.

1983
Meseret Defar was born in Ethiopia. In the 5,000 metres, she won gold at the 2004 Olympics and the 2007 World Championships as well as setting two world records. At the 2009 Worlds, she was expected to win the 5,000/10,000 double, but came away with just a single bronze after tying up in the finishing straight each time. She won three world indoor titles at 3000 metres.

1888
José Raúl Capablanca was born. A chess genius who saw through the most complicated situations on the board with incredible clarity, he was the best player in the world long before he persuaded the ageing Emmanuel Lasker to put his world title at stake. When they met in 1921, the old man lost the match without winning a game. Considered unbeatable, almost the death of chess, Capa shocked everyone by losing the title in 1927 to the equally brilliant Aleksandr Alekhine (born 31 October 1892), who wisely never risked a rematch.

1978
India lost to Pakistan despite Sunil Gavaskar's second century of the match, the second time he hit two hundreds in the same Test. On 2 January 1979, he became the first batsman to achieve the feat three times.

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