June 5 down the years

What a start

An extraordinary start to an Ashes series

Nasser Hussain made his career-best 207 © Getty Images

Fresh from putting the boot into West Indies and dashing South Africa's hopes of world supremacy, Australia came to England as strong favourites. But on the first morning of the series at a delirious Edgbaston, they crumbled to 54 for 8. Only Shane Warne got the Aussies to 118. Then Nasser Hussain and Graham Thorpe added 288 in a thrilling partnership, and Hussain's 207 changed his life. By the same token, Mark Taylor's brave second-innings hundred saved his career (he'd made no fifties in his previous 11 Tests) but not the match: England stormed to a nine-wicket win on the fourth evening, and on the back of a 3-0 one-day whitewash, all was well with the world. For two weeks anyway, until England were bowled out for 77 at Lord's, and reality began to dawn.

Birth of a cricket spoilsport. Warwickshire and England legspinner Eric Hollies played only one of his 13 Tests against Australia, but it was enough to give him a place in history. At The Oval in 1948, Don Bradman needed only 4 for a career average of 100... and Hollies bowled him second ball for 0 with a googly. The Observer Sport Monthly deemed it the greatest shock in sporting history.

An Invincible is born. Sid Barnes was unlucky only to play 13 Tests (his career sandwiched the Second World War), but he certainly made the most of life at the top - his Test average was 63. He came of age in Sydney in 1946-47, when he made an 11-hour 234 and added 405 for the fifth wicket with Don Bradman - who also made 234. And in the all-conquering 1948 side, he averaged 82, including 141 at Lord's. An often-controversial character whose attempted comeback in the 1950s was blocked by the Australian board, Barnes committed suicide in his native Sydney in 1973.

Birth of India batsman Ajinkya Rahane. A prolific scorer for Mumbai - he made over 1000 runs in only his second Ranji season - Rahane was on the fringes of the Indian Test team for years before he finally got his chance in the 2013 Delhi Test against Australia. He made up for a forgettable debut by establishing himself as one of India's most valuable overseas batsmen, with centuries in New Zealand, England and Australia in less than two years, filling the middle-order vacancy left by VVS Laxman's retirement. Rahane has the ability to adapt to different formats as well, with strong showings for Rajasthan Royals at the top of the order.

England lost to Netherlands. Off the last ball. In the opening match of the second World Twenty20 in England, Ryan ten Doeschate found himself at the crease in the 14th over with Netherlands needing 47 off the last seven. Top-scorer Tom de Grooth (49) had just fallen, and three overs later Peter Borren was dismissed for a 25-ball 30. Doeschate and Edgar Schiferli took it down to seven off the final one. Stuart Broad dropped a catch off ten Doeschate and they needed four off three balls. It only got worse for Broad. Needing two off the final delivery, Schiferli smashed the ball, but Broad collected it in his follow-through and took a shy at the stumps. He missed and Netherlands took the winning run. In the 2014 World T20, Netherlands beat them again, this time by 45 runs.

Ian Botham's first day as England captain. It seemed a logical progression when he was given the job for the first Test against West Indies at Trent Bridge. He was the best player in the team by a mile, with averages of 40 with the bat and 18 with the ball from 25 Tests. But he was only 24 years old, and it probably came too early: England won none of Botham's 12 Tests as captain, in which time he averaged 13 with the bat and 33 with the ball. In fairness to Beefy, he presided over 1-0 and 2-0 defeats to West Indies, for which he was slated. England's next three series against the same opposition - 14 defeats, one draw, no wins - put those results into context.

Mervyn Dillon might not be fit to lace the boots of Michael Holding and Co, but he was comfortably the pick of their fast bowlers around the turn of the century, till the likes of Fidel Edwards and Jerome Taylor came along. Dillon, who was born on this day, was not genuinely quick, but he jagged the ball both ways off a shortish length. In 38 Tests, he took 131 wickets, with a best match-haul of 8 for 123.

Birth of Scotland batsman Fraser Watts, who played in the 2007 World Cup in West Indies and the World Twenty20 in South Africa, after making his international debut a year before. But while Watts' record against Full Member sides has been modest, he has done reasonably well against other Associates. He got his first one-day hundred in July 2009, against Canada.

Other birthdays
1884 Claude Jennings (Australia)
1906 Jack Robertson (South Africa)
1921 Lance Pierre (West Indies)
1936 Kelly Seymour (South Africa)
1945 Ambar Roy (India)
1981 Andrew McDonald (Australia)