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May 15 down the years

Lord of the crease

A magisterial dasher is born

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Ted Dexter: a dasher and a golfer
Ted Dexter: a dasher and a golfer © Getty Images
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1935
Lord Ted is born, in Milan, Italy. Ted Dexter was one of the most stylish batsmen England has produced, a magisterial dasher who loved to take on the very best bowlers. He frequently got England out of a hole - most notably with a marvellous 180 against Australia at Edgbaston in 1961 - and averaged 53 when they didn't lose, as against 28 when they did. Dexter's medium-pacers were good enough to claim 66 Test wickets too, and he was a brilliant all-round sportsman, excelling at golf as well. He also led Sussex to the first two Gillette Cups, and was a prime mover in setting up the PWC ratings.

1948
If you think the pace at which cricket is played these days is markedly faster than in earlier times, try this: Australia smashed 721 runs on this day against Essex at Southend-on-Sea, a first-class record that remains and will surely never be broken. Those 721 came off only 129 overs, with Don Bradman's 187 - made in just 125 minutes - the highest score. Keith Miller didn't approve of the carnage and was out - some say deliberately - for 0. For good measure, the Aussies then bowled Essex out for 83 and 187 the following day.

2011
In a low-scoring Test in Guyana, Ravi Rampaul and Darren Sammy bowled Pakistan out 40 short of the target. You had to feel for offspinner Saeed Ajmal, who took 11 wickets and ended on the losing side. It was a good game for debutant West Indies legspinner Devendra Bishoo, who took four wickets in the first innings and scored a vital 24 in the 48-run last-wicket stand with Shivnarine Chanderpaul in the second innings.

1966
Hardly a seismic change, but at Ilford Essex played Somerset in the County Championship, the first time that a match in the tournament had taken place on a Sunday.

1924
Birth of Worcestershire's greatest run-scorer. Don Kenyon scored 34,490 runs for the county, more than even Graeme Hick, and played eight Tests for England in the 1950s. He struggled at Test level, apart from a dogged 87 in an innings victory over South Africa at Trent Bridge in 1955. Kenyon also captained Worcestershire to long-overdue County Championship wins in 1964 and 1965. He died in Worcester in 1996.

1999
A World Cup is usually a time for new-fangled tricks: pinch-hitters, spinners opening the bowling. But on this day at Hove, South Africa took innovation too far for the ICC's liking. Their captain, Hansie Cronje, came onto the field with an earpiece that was wired up to his coach, Bob Woolmer, in the dressing room. The first drinks interval was as far as it got, when the match referee, Talat Ali, ordered Cronje to remove the offending earpiece. South Africa won the game, though, with Jacques Kallis pummelling 96 in an efficient chase of 254 against India.

1919
Birth of the author of one of first-class cricket's more remarkable spells of bowling. Charles Palmer did his best work as a flowing, free-scoring batsman, but his medium pace could be decidedly useful. For Leicestershire against the champions Surrey in 1955 he took eight wickets without conceding a run, seven of them bowled. Palmer had only brought himself on for an over to switch the bowlers round. His final match figures were 27-24-8-8... and Leicester still lost. The bespectacled Palmer played one Test for England, against West Indies, in Barbados in 1953-54.

1917
An Invincible is born. New South Wales wicketkeeper Ron Saggers was deputy to the great Don Tallon in Australia's famous 1948 team. A tidy, unobtrusive keeper, and good enough to play for New South Wales as a specialist batsman at times, Saggers played six Tests in all, the first at Headingley in 1948 and the rest in South Africa in 1949-50. He died in Sydney in 1987.

Other birthdays
1875 Joseph Vine (England)
1875 Clem Wilson (England)
1929 Jack Flavell (England)
1941 BC Cooray (Sri Lanka)

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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