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Happy birthday, Waugh brothers!

Dubai: The birthdays of retired cricketers cease to make news, but when two of them complete a half-century on the same day -- it merits a second look. Steve and Mark Waugh, twins who were pillars of Australian cricket till the other day, turned 50 on Tuesday.

Social media was abuzz with birthday messages for the celebrated duo, who were an integral part of the modern version of Bradman's aACAyInvincibles' from early aACAy90s to mid-2000. Led by the elder brother Steve aACAyTugga' Waugh, the Australians won a record 16 Test matches in a row till they stumbled at the aACAylast frontier' in India in 2001.

"Happy 50th birthday to the Waugh twins, 296 Test matches and 18,956 Test runs between them, fair to say cricket ran in their blood!," commented Sishir Hattangadi, a former Ranji Trophy player and TV pundit on Facebook -- summing it up nicely.

For the glorious portfolio that they ended their career with, the two brothers were like chalk-and-cheese in their character and philosophy towards the game. Steve, who was considered less gifted than his brother, was blessed with character and steely resolve who saw him scoring 10,927 runs at an average of 51.06 from 168 Tests -- second only to Ricky Ponting among Australians.

Despite leading his country to World Cup in 1999, Steve's ODI record is relatively modest with 7569 runs at an average of 32.90.

Mark, whose gift of sublime timing made him one of the most admired batsmen of the modern game, was a middle-order batsman in Tests and an opener in ODIs with an exceptional slips-catching record. He took 181 catches, the fifth highest in the world, in 128 Tests only 29 catches behind Rahul Dravid (164 Tests).

Mark found a berth in the Australian Test squad in 1990-91 against England, ironically replacing his brother. Despite finishing his career with 8000-plus runs in both forms of the game, he often suffered from a perception of lacking in concentration at crucial periods which resulted in soft dismissals. An average of 41.81 in Tests (and 39.85 in ODIs), feel his fans, does not do enough justice to his talent.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jun 3, 2015
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