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May 5 down the years

All too brief

A master on matting

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Collie Smith hit 169 against the Australians in only his third first-class match
Collie Smith hit 169 against the Australians in only his third first-class match © Getty Images
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1889
Birth of Herbie Taylor, South Africa's first world-class batsman and an absolute master on matting pitches. Cultured and fleet-footed, Taylor's finest innings was a brilliant 176 against England in Johannesburg in 1922-23, a match in which the next-highest score was 50, and one of only four occasions Taylor was on the winning side in his 42 Tests. In all he made three centuries, and a 91, in that series; all of his seven Test hundreds came against England. He was captain for 18 Tests either side of the First World War, in which he served in the Royal Field Artillery. Taylor took up coaching schoolboys upon retirement, and died in Cape Town in 1973.

1933
One of Jamaica's favourite sons is born. "Collie" Smith was an attacking batsman, an outstanding fielder and a useful offspinner, who gave up fast bowling as a young man in a bid to emulate his hero Jim Laker. In 1954-55, in only his third first-class match, he cracked 169 against the touring Australians, and was given a Test debut on his home ground as a result. He flashed a superb 104 in the second innings, although it wasn't enough to save West Indies from defeat. Smith's last Test hundred came in Delhi in 1958-59, when he also took his only five-for. He was only 26 when his life was cut short after a car crash in Stoke-on-Trent in 1959, in which Garry Sobers was also involved. When Smith's body was returned to Jamaica, over 60,000 people attended his funeral.

2010
A historic day for women's cricket. West Indies' Deandra Dottin smashed the first T20 hundred, off just 38 balls, en route to a 45-ball 112 against South Africa's women at the ICC World Twenty20 in St Kitts. The second fifty of the whirlwind innings came up in 13 balls as West Indies raced to their first win of the tournament, one where they would eventually lose to New Zealand in the semi-final.

1911
A distinctly unlucky one-cap wonder is born. Lancashire's Norman Oldfield did not do a lot wrong when he made a stylish 80 and 19 in his England debut, against West Indies at The Oval in 1939. But that was the last Test before the Second World War, and when Test cricket returned Oldfield was well into his thirties, and past his prime. He later became an umpire and officiated in two Tests. He died in Blackpool in 1996.

1962
Another one-cap wonder is born. James Whitaker was a member of England's Ashes-winning side in 1986-87. He made his one appearance in Adelaide, when Ian Botham was injured, and managed 11 before falling to Bruce Reid. With David Gower and Phil DeFreitas also playing, England included three Leicestershire players for the first time. Whitaker remained a one-club man, and led Leicester to the County Championship in 1996 and 1998. After being forced to retire with a leg injury he had a spell as general manager at Grace Road.

2003
The day Jermaine Lawson completed a hat-trick in the third Test against Australia in Barbados. After picking up the wickets of Brett Lee and Stuart MacGill in the first innings, Lawson struck with his very first ball of the second innings when he trapped Justin Langer lbw. That, though, had absolutely no bearing on the result of the Test as Australia knocked off a meagre eight required for victory and took an imposing 3-0 lead in the series. After the next match of the series that contained the historic 418 run-chase, Lawson's action came under scrutiny by the ICC.

1968
An Australian coach is born. Talented wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Nielsen, who made 316 first-class dismissals for South Australia, went on to assist John Buchanan in coaching the Redbacks and then the Australian team. In 2007, he took over the national role from Buchanan, but it was a period of transition for the team and Nielsen's reign saw them lose two successive Ashes series and the World Cup title, which they had held since 1999. He stepped down in 2011 and took on a youth development role for South Australia.

Other birthdays
1909 Grace Morgan (England)
1927 Sid O'Linn (South Africa)
1964 Glenda Hall (Australia)
1969 Karen Le Comber (New Zealand)

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