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Sundries

The Stuff Of Our Century (41-50)

To celebrate the recent publication of our 100th issueAOC staffers and contributors put their heads together and came up with list of the hundred things that made our century what it was (starting May 2004). In no particular order, here is the fifth 10 of our ton.

Murali’s Magic 800

While claiming eight scalps would be a challenge for most, it didn’t seem too much of a stretch for a man who had 22 10-wicket match hauls to his name. On 792 Test wickets going into his farewell Test against India in Galle, Murali had the roundest of figures in sight to cap off an incredible career. Taking a wicket with his last delivery in Test cricket – caught at slip by Mahela Jayawardene – he reached his 800 in style to give Sri Lanka a 10-wicket win. Vithushan Ehantharajah

Why we love it: The fairytale ending a never-to-be-repeated career deserved.

Afghanistan

The rapid rise of the Afghanistan cricket team, culminating in qualifying for successive World Twenty20 tournaments, is one of the great sporting stories of the millennium so far, and also looks a good bet to remain reasonably high in the rankings for the next 988 years. A remarkable tale of determination, skill and passion, all achieved – remarkably – without a single South African-born player in their squad. They have much to learn. Andy Zaltzman

Why we love it: Probably the greatest underdog story since Cool Runnings.

Steve Davies Coming Out

Despite its somewhat stuffy reputation, when it comes to moving with the times cricket has been surprisingly ahead of the curve on a wide range of issues over the last decade. Be it innovative rule changes or the acceptance of technology, time and again cricket has moved forward and embraced the future whilst other sports have languished behind. So it was no surprise that when England and Surrey wicketkeeper Steven Davies came out as the first openly gay international cricketer the reaction was grown-up, supportive and universally positive. Jeff Thomas

Why we love it: A groundbreaking moment that has cleared a path for others to follow.

Retro Kit Revival

The Slazenger V12, the SS Turbo, the Gray-Nicolls Scoop and Dynadrive. I’m pleading with Kookaburra to bring back the Ridgeback and the Bubble, as these two little belters helped me rack up the runs in under 11 school cricket. Perhaps we should go the whole hog and bring back flares, buttoned shirts and buckle pads… Will Smith

Why we love it: We all know an old’un’s a good’un.

Ian Healy Being Run Over By A Segway

For those unfamiliar with the Segway, it’s a two-wheeled self-balancing electric mode of transport often used by the old and infirm. The chirpy former Aussie stumper thought he would have a wheel around the MCG outfield on one to demonstrate just how easy it was to control while Mark Nicholas interviewed Channel Nine cameraman Joe Previtera, who had taken a tumble on the same vehicle the day previous. Cue the inevitable. Healy tried to dismount, went arse-over-tit, and got run over by the thing as he received a mouthful of turf. Jeff Thomas

Why we love it: A small slice of revenge for all the sledging English batsmen were subjected to over the years.

Ian Healy takes a tumble off a segway

The ’05 Ashes Finale

Never had so much been riding on England not losing that final Test of the summer against Australia at The Oval. With an AOC print deadline deferred to accommodate an England win, it looked as though over 60 pages of editorial would need rewriting as the Aussies fought back. Thank Christ for Kevin Pietersen and Ashley Giles. Andy Afford

Why we love it: No journo likes a rewrite.

Cook’s Brisbane Big Bash

The unbeatable, unforgettable high of 2005 had been followed by huge disappointment in the Ashes of 2006/07, and after we had regained the urn on home soil in 2009, Brisbane 2010 was starting to feel a bit déjà vu. A massive deficit on first innings and the Aussies were getting cocky. And then came Cook. Massive, unmovable, inexorable, magnificent – you almost forget Strauss and Trott scored hundreds. The start of something very, very big. Giles Clarke

Why we love it: So it’s daddy hundreds you want? No sweat.

Claire Taylor Winning Over Wisden

Claire Taylor’s brilliance was such that she convinced Wisden to break from tradition and make her the first ever woman to be named as one of their Cricketers of the Year in 2009. She justified their selection and then some by helping England to a World Twenty20 win following that year’s Ashes and World Cup glory, playing several vital, cool-as-you- like innings in the process. Chris Knight

Why we love it: Richly deserved personal accolade that highlighted the progress of women’s cricket as a whole.

The Army’s Ode To Swanny

When Swanny got “hit for four with his first ball, then took Gambhir and the Wall” in his first over in Test cricket it was manna for the Barmy Army songwriters. Knowing his predilection for Mancunian indie/rock it didn’t take long to think up a “Swanny Super Over in Chennai” to the tune of Oasis’ Champagne Supernova. The man himself loves it, although not enough to learn all the words yet. Paul Winslow

Why we love it: A perfect storm of relevance to the moment and the man.

Pink Cricket Balls

Initially considered an alternative to the prone-to-discolouring white ball in ODIs, the fluorescent pink pill is now the favourite for any potential day/night Test cricket. It was tried out in Abu Dhabi in the 2010 season curtain-raiser between MCC and Durham, then at the end of the 2011 Championship campaign by Kent and Glamorgan, as part of an experimental move by the ICC, ECB and MCC. Ed Kemp

Why we love it: The old dog of cricket embraces new tricks more warmly than any other sport.

Stay tuned for the rest of the gear, gizmos, gaffes and spine-tingling moments that made our century what it was.

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