21st November 1870 was a significant and curious day in the early cricketing history for England and Australia. There were two babies born on that day in two different part of the world who would go on to play a significant role in their respective countries cricket growth and would also be related to each other with respect to the game.
Honorable Stanley Jackson was the seventh child of his parents and had an impressive overall career which included sports, business, and politics. He played 20 Tests for England between 1893 to 1905 and was one of England’s best batsmen in that era. However, all his 20 Tests came in England as he never traveled to Australia for his business commitments. After retirement, he entered politics and by 1927 he was appointed as the Governor of Bengal. During this phase, in 1932 Jackson was the target of an assassination attack by a 20-year old Bengali girl, Bina Das during a function at the convocation hall of University of
Calcutta. But Jackson survived the attack by ducking and lived till 1947.
On the same date, 21 st November 1870, Joe Darling was born in Australia. Darling was one of the most talented Australian left-hand batsmen and captains in the late 19th century and early 20th century. He played 31 of his 34 Test matches against England and was part of four Australian touring teams. He also led Australia 21 times including three tours of England in 1899, 1902, and 1905. Darling was the first left-hander to score a Test hundred and also regarded as one of the strongest Australian captains who lost only four of his 21 Test matches as captain.
Although Jackson never toured Australia, the Jackson vs Darling rivalry was there during the Test matches in England. The duo first played against each other in the Lord’s Test in 1896. For both it those were the early days of their respective careers. They again faced each other in 1899 and 1902 and were part of some of the extremely exciting and close Test matches during the later series.
By then, Darling was the regular captain for Australia and when Jackson was appointed as the captain of the England team during Australia’s tour of 1905, it became a unique event where both the opposition captains were born on the exact same date. Despite the similarity, the two captains had two different type of luck with the toss as Stanley Jackson won all the five tosses in the series. He was also instrumental in helping England regain the series. England won the Ashes by a 2-0 margin and Jackson topped both batting and bowling average for both teams. Darling had more of a mediocre series compared to Jackson.
However, the 1905 Ashes is still remembered for the two captains who were born on the same day and both of them also bid adieu to Test cricket after this 1905 series.