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June 27 down the years

England's own South African

Kevin Pietersen makes an entrance

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And a happy birthday to you too: Kevin Pietersen and Dale Steyn were born on the same day, three years apart
And a happy birthday to you too: Kevin Pietersen and Dale Steyn were born on the same day, three years apart © Getty Images
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1980
Birth of Kevin Pietersen, in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. KP signed for Nottinghamshire in 2000, and in 2004 was selected for England's tour of Zimbabwe, before heading to South Africa and scoring three centuries. He made his Test debut against Australia at Lord's in 2005 and responded with a pair of hard-hitting fifties in a losing cause. That memorable English summer was rounded off with a phenomenal 158 on the final day at The Oval, to secure the draw England needed for a first Ashes triumph in 18 years. In 2008, Pietersen took over the England captaincy but he stepped down early in 2009 after an acrimonious falling out with coach Peter Moores. Though his Test batting remained mostly unaffected, Pietersen's one-day form turned abysmal, as he went 30 innings without a hundred between March 2009 and July 2011. In 2012, he announced his retirement from limited-overs internationals to prolong his Test career. Reports he had sent derogatory text messages about his captain, Andrew Strauss, to South Africa players filled the media in 2012 and he was dropped from the side after a brilliant hundred in Headingley. He was invited back into the ranks a few months later and his masterful 186 in Mumbai led England to their first series win in India in 28 years. The detente was short-lived. On the tour to Australia in 2013-14, rumours surfaced of a further deterioration in his relationship with the coach, Andy Flower, and after the series, the ECB brought down the curtain on Pietersen's England career, citing a need to rebuilt "team ethic and philosophy".

1939
An unlucky charm is born. Fast bowler Neil Hawke did most of his best work in Australian defeats, when he took 29 wickets at an average of 21, including his Test-best figures, 7 for 105 against England in Sydney in 1965-66. Hawke is one of the few men to play for three states - Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania - and was a top-quality Aussie Rules player as well. His nickname wasn't the most original, though: "Hawkeye" was prowling round cricket circles long before Channel 4's technology hit the screens. An extremely tough character, Hawke lived for 20 years after bowel surgery kickstarted a terrible run of ill-health. After he died on Christmas Day 2000, in Adelaide, his Wisden Cricket Monthly obituary was headlined: "They could not break his will."

1939
A renowned performance from the great George Headley. He became the first person to score two centuries in a Lord's Test, although West Indies still went down by eight wickets to England. It was the second time in his career that Headley had made two centuries in a Test, making him only the second person (after Herbert Sutcliffe) to do so. Headley's was a one-man show, though. Only one other West Indian passed 29 in the match, and England only lost seven wickets in completing victory.

1983
Dale Steyn, the South African fast bowler, is born in Phalaborwa. The fastest South African to 100 Test wickets - he beat Allan Donald's 23 matches by two - Steyn burst onto the scene in April 2006, when he finished a three-Test series against New Zealand with 16 wickets. He was the dominant force behind South Africa's home series wins against New Zealand and West Indies in 2007, picking up 40 wickets in five Tests. He followed it up with 14 in two Tests on the tour of Bangladesh, picking up three consecutive Man-of the-Series awards. On the slow Motera pitch, in 2008, Steyn decimated the Indian line-up - dismissed for 76 - with figures of 8-2-23-5. Later that year he took ten wickets and made a crucial 76 in South Africa's first Test win in Australia, at the MCG. In 2010 he became the fourth-fastest of all time to 200 wickets, reaching the mark in his 39th Test. He rocked Pakistan with his career-best 11 for 60 in Johannesburg in 2013 - including first-innings figures of 6 for 8 - and bagged nine wickets against India in Durban in a series-winning effort later that year.

1949
Martin Donnelly, one of New Zealand's greatest batsmen, stroked a glorious century against England on this day, which he extended to 206 on the third and final day. It completed a unique treble, which only Donnelly and Percy Chapman, another left-hander, have managed - Donnelly also made Lord's hundreds for Gentlemen against Players, and for Oxford against Cambridge. In addition to that he made a famous ton at Lord's for the Dominions against England - after which, a probably apocryphal story runs, a spectator went into a nearby pub, said, "I have just seen the most marvellous day's play," drank a double whisky and dropped dead.

1886
The Governor General of Australian cricket is born. That's how Charles Macartney, an outstanding allrounder from New South Wales, was known. He was a charming improviser of a batsman, who finished his Test career with a flourish, when he made three centuries in a row in his last series, in England in 1926. His left-arm spinners could also be very handy, and he took 11 for 85 against England when Australia won at Headingley in 1909. Macartney died in Sydney in 1958.

1924
Birth of Bob Appleyard, the Yorkshire and England offspinner whose career was dogged by poor health. As a result he only played nine Tests, but England won seven of them, and Appleyard snared 31 wickets at an average of only 17. He was like Derek Underwood: quickish, flat, and devastating on damp wickets. Appleyard did not make his first-class debut until he was 27, and had to retire at 34 because of sickness, but managed to take almost as many wickets (708) as he made runs (776).

1899
The end of cricket's highest innings. At a house match at Clifton College, 13-year-old Arthur Collins carried his bat for 628, an innings that spanned five days and contained one six, four fives, 31 fours, 33 threes, 146 twos and 87 singles. The feat made national headlines and the schoolboy became a reluctant celebrity. Collins wasn't quite finished. As his weary opponents contemplated replying to a score of 836, Collins wreaked havoc with the ball, taking 7 for 33 and then 4 for 30 when they followed on.

Other birthdays
1914 Derrick Robins (England)
1917 Khanderao Rangnekar (India)
1938 Gordon Rorke (Australia)
1943 Shirley Hodges (England)
1964 Graham Cowdrey (England)
1967 Karen Musson (New Zealand)

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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