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June 6 down the years

501 not out

A first-class first

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Brian Lara reaches his record-breaking 501
Brian Lara reaches his record-breaking 501 © Getty Images

On the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landings, Brian Lara achieved immortality with the highest score in first-class cricket history: 501 not out. As if his Test-record 375 wasn't enough, Lara took the first-class record within two months when he surpassed Hanif Mohammad's 499, while playing for Warwickshire against Durham at Edgbaston. He had a few near-misses - Lara was bowled off a no-ball on 12 and then was dropped by wicketkeeper Chris Scott on 18 (Scott apparently said: "Oh dear, he'll probably go on and get a hundred"). Technically there was only one ball left when he creamed John Morris through the covers for four to bring up the magic 500. In all Lara faced only 427 deliveries, and hammered 62 fours and 10 sixes. On the final day he whacked 174 runs before lunch. For good measure, he also became the first man to make seven hundreds in eight first-class innings, the first of which was the 375. He lost his Test record briefly to Matthew Hayden in 2003, but took it back in April 2004 with 400 against England in Antigua.

The career of Mike Gatting, who was born today, split into three distinct segments. He struggled at first, taking seven years and 54 innings to make his first Test century. But after breaking that duck with 136 in Mumbai in 1984-85, Gatting went on a storming two-year run in which he made nine centuries in 28 Tests and averaged 63. Then came Shakoor Rana, and an alleged liaison with a barmaid that cost him the England captaincy in 1988. Gatting was never the same - he captained the rebel tour to South Africa in 1989, and in 51 Tests either side of that outstanding run of form he only made one century, a tortuous 117 in Adelaide in 1994-95 as the curtain came gently down on his career.

One of Pakistan's finest batsmen is born... in Hyderabad, India. Asif Iqbal came a long way from the 21-year-old who opened the bowling - with his fellow debutant and future batting star Majid Khan - and batted No. 10, against Australia in Karachi in 1964-65. In full flow Asif was a sumptuous sight. He made his first Test century from No. 9, 146 against England at The Oval in 1967, but he eventually graduated into the middle order, where his dashing, fleet-footed strokeplay charmed everyone, not least during a successful stint in county cricket with Kent.

After all the fuss, 25-year-old Graeme Hick finally made his England Test debut against West Indies at Headingley. Most pundits had already booked him in for 100 Tests, 8000 runs and an average of 50, but it didn't quite work out like that. In fairness, it was an unforgiving baptism - Curtly Ambrose tortured him all summer, dismissing him six times in a row, but it was Courtney Walsh who ended his first innings when Hick fenced to Jeffrey Dujon having made just 6.

A typhoon is born. In terms of raw, unbridled pace, few bowlers in history can match England's Frank Tyson. Richie Benaud rates him the quickest he's ever seen. In 17 Tests, Tyson took 76 wickets at an average of 18. This was no brainless quickie, however - Tyson was a Durham University graduate, and had a penchant for quoting Shakespeare or Wordsworth to batsmen, something you can't quite imagine Glenn McGrath ever doing. Most famously, Tyson blew away Australia as England retained the Ashes in 1954-55. After starting off with 1 for 160 in defeat in Brisbane, he shortened his run and took 10 wickets in Sydney and nine more in Melbourne, when he collected 7 for 27 in the second innings and frightened the life out of the Aussies. Injury plagued his career, though, and he emigrated to Australia, where he became a headmaster for a time, before coaching Victoria.

Brian Lara's 501 overshadowed a routine England victory over New Zealand at Trent Bridge, in a match that ended on the same day. England won by an innings for the first time at home in nine years, thanks mainly to Graham Gooch (210, his last Test hundred) and Phil DeFreitas (9 for 165 in the match), who as well as firing a quickfire 51, became the 100th person to take 100 Test wickets.

Birth of the South African allrounder Herbert "Tiger" Lance, who played 13 Tests. He was a handy strokeplayer in the lower-middle order, and a useful third- or fourth-change seamer. He took 3 for 30 in his first Test innings, against New Zealand in Johannesburg in 1961-62. His finest hour with the bat also came in Johannesburg, when he made 44 and 70 against Australia in 1966-67, a match that South Africa won at a canter despite trailing on first innings.

Birth of the Indian left-arm spinner Sunil Joshi, whose Test career had one distinct highlight. In Bangladesh's inaugural Test, in Dhaka, Joshi pooped the party with 92, his only Test fifty, and eight wickets, including his only five-for. It set up India's second overseas victory in 14 years. He had one notable one-day performance as well, grabbing 5 for 6 against South Africa in Nairobi in 1999-2000.

Tahir Naqqash, born today, took 34 wickets each in his 15 Tests and 40 ODIs, bowling right-arm fast-medium and offbreaks. But he never bettered his performance in his first Test, in Karachi, where he made his only half-century and took five wickets. Despite a Test career that lasted just three years, Naqqash managed to make tours to Australia, India, England and New Zealand.

Other birthdays
1890 Ted Bowley (England)
1909 Morappakam Gopalan (India)
1917 Prior Jones (West Indies)
1956 Andy Pycroft (Zimbabwe)
1967 Wasim Haider (Pakistan)
1968 Karen Young (Ireland)
1972 Dulip Liyanage (Sri Lanka)
1973 Ashfaq Ahmed (Pakistan)
1980 Dewald Nel (Scotland)

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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