May 27 down the years

Mahela makes his entry

The births of Jayawardene, Frank Woolley and Ravi Shastri

Mahela Jayawardene: Sri Lankan legend © AFP

1977
Sri Lankan all-time great Mahela Jayawardene was born on this day. A prolific and elegant batsman with a huge appetite for runs, he made his debut at 20, coming to the crease at the unique position of 790 for 4, when Sri Lanka milked India for 952 for 6 in Colombo in 1997-98. He made his first eight centuries at home, and in 2006 became the second Sri Lankan after Sanath Jayasuriya to score a triple-century - in an epic third-wicket partnership of 624 with Kumar Sangakkara, the highest for any wicket in Tests. As a captain, he led Sri Lanka to Test wins in England and New Zealand, and to the World Cup final in 2007. In the 2011 World Cup, he became the sixth batsman to score a hundred in the final but the first to do so in a losing cause. He became the first Sri Lankan to score 10,000 Test runs, during the tour of South Africa in 2011-12, at the end of which he was reappointed captain. Jayawardene led Sri Lanka to the final of the 2012 World T20, where they were upstaged by West Indies. Things turned around two years later, when Sri Lanka took the 2014 World T20 title, and Jayawardene retired from the format on a high. He called it a day in all international cricket after the 2015 World Cup.

1887
A Kent legend is born. Frank Woolley was one of the greatest allrounders to have played the game - a magisterial, fleet-footed left-hander who was a natural timer of the ball, and a textbook slow left-armer whose height enabled him to get considerable bounce. He and WG Grace are the only men to score 50,000 runs and take 2000 wickets in first-class cricket. (Only Jack Hobbs has scored more than Woolley's 58,969 runs.) For good measure, Woolley is the only man to take 1000 catches, most of them at slip.

1938
Don Bradman scored his 1000th run of the season, the earliest date the landmark has been achieved, on his way to 145 not out against Hampshire. The previous record was May 28 by Wally Hammond a year earlier.

1962
Birth of a stonewaller. Indian allrounder Ravi Shastri batted ten hours for his Test-best of 206 at the SCG in 1991-92 in the match in which Shane Warne, on debut, took 1 for 150. Of batsmen who have played ten Test innings against Australia, only Eddie Paynter averages more than Shastri's 77.75. Shastri started off as a lower-order hitter, but ended up as a defensive batsman at the top of the order. He was a useful one-day player and won the Man of Series in the 1985 World Championship of Cricket in Australia. The same year, he also equalled Gary Sobers' world record of six sixes in an over in a Ranji Trophy game. Shastri, who played his last Test aged just 30, is now a popular TV commentator.

1975
The birth of Mr Cricket. Michael Hussey got his nickname after a meteoric rise early in his career. In just 166 days, he became the fastest player to 1000 Test runs - he scored three centuries in his first five Tests - and his average swelled to 86.18 at the end of two years. His form dropped in 2008-09 but he didn't lose his place despite tremendous pressure. And no Australian batsman performed better in a pressure situation - Hussey's unbeaten century in Sydney in 2010 against Pakistan helped Australia crawl back and win a Test that most had written off. He was also the only Australian batsman who had a good run in the 2010-11 Ashes. An accumulator in Tests, Hussey also became a finisher in limited-overs. Most memorably, he took Australia into the World T20 final in 2010 with an unbeaten 24-ball 60, coming in at No. 7 with his side needing 87 off 45 balls in the semi-final against Pakistan.

1878
An amazing day's play at Lord's, where Australia beat MCC by nine wickets - in a match of only 105 runs, a record low for a completed first-class game. MCC made 33 and 19, Australia 41 (in 66.2 overs), and 12 for 1. Only three players made double figures, and there were no fewer than 16 ducks. Fred Spofforth took 6 for 4 in the first innings, Harry Boyle 6 for 3 in the second.

2012
After four years of underperformance, humiliations and sagas, Kolkata Knight Riders won their first IPL title by beating the defending champions, Chennai Super Kings, by five wickets. They won ten of their 16 league matches and then beat table-toppers Delhi Daredevils to make it to the final, where the virtually unheard-of Manvinder Bisla opened in place of Brendon McCullum and added 136 with Jacques Kallis as the Knight Riders chased 191. Bisla's 48-ball 89 was only his fourth half-century in T20s.

1991
A dreamy Bank Holiday Monday at Lord's, as England completed their second consecutive home one-day whitewash of West Indies. They had Neil Fairbrother and Graeme Hick to thank. Fairbrother cracked and scampered a marvellous century, adding 213 with Hick. The time looked right for Fairbrother, but a week later England announced their Test squad with Mark Ramprakash in his stead. For Hick it was a bit of a false dawn too: he made fewer runs in four Tests that summer (75) than he did in this innings (86 not out), as Curtly Ambrose flexed his muscles irresistibly.

1999
The ultimate World Cup mismatch at Leicester. Scotland against West Indies was never likely to detain anyone for too long, and so it proved. Curtly Ambrose (10-4-8-2) and Courtney Walsh (7-1-7-3) helped themselves, and Scotland were routed for 68. The only Scotsmen who reached double figures were Gavin Hamilton (who later played for England) and Asim Butt (who was born in Lahore). West Indies polished off the target in 10.1 overs; at the time it was the shortest game in one-day international history.

1852
Birth of an English seamer with a Test bowling average of 15. Billy Barnes was also a hugely talented batsman, who smacked a match-winning 134 in the first Test, in Adelaide in 1884-85. In the next Test of that series, in Melbourne, he bowled England to a 2-0 lead with second-innings figures of 38.3-26-31-6. In Sydney two years later he did likewise - 6 for 28 off 46 (four-ball) overs, a match in which England were skittled for 45 on the first morning and still won. Legend has it that Barnes once made a match-saving century for Nottinghamshire after having more than one shandy too many.

1989
Only the second tie in one-day history, at Trent Bridge, and England's first. Ian Healy at the non-striker's end scampered a bye when Carl Rackemann missed the last ball of the match, from Phil DeFreitas. It was fitting that Healy should square things up: he earlier outran his runner Dean Jones, who was promptly invited to leave the field by England's captain David Gower.

1892
An England captain is born. The Hon. Freddie Calthorpe led England in all four of his Test appearances, in the West Indies in 1929-30. In what was supposed to be a timeless, deciding Test in Jamaica - it was eventually abandoned as a draw when the last two days before England's scheduled trip home were washed out - he failed to enforce the follow-on after West Indies replied to England's 849 with 286. As a result the series was drawn. He was a dashing batsman and a wobbly medium-pacer who captained Warwickshire between 1920 and 1929. Calthorpe was only 43 when he died in Worplesdon, Surrey, in 1935.

1996
Ali Brown answered his critics with a match-winning hundred for England against India at Old Trafford, four days after he had been called a "clown" in the press after a scratchy debut innings. Brown's 118 gave England a 2-0 series win, but is the only century of a 16-match one-day career that never delivered on his lusty county promise.

1960
Sri Lankan medium-pacer Vinothen John, born today, played six Tests and 45 ODIs between 1983 and 1987. He took 5 for 60 in his second Test, in Wellington, and 5 for 86 in his third, in Kandy (8 for 159 overall), but did little thereafter. In one-dayers, he averaged 48.67 with an economy rate of 4.29.

Other birthdays
1863 Arthur Mold (England)
1863 Charles Wright (England)
1870 Lionel Palairet (England)
1899 George Parker (South Africa)
1926 Gordon Leggat (New Zealand)
1955 Jock Edwards (New Zealand)
1957 Judith Laing (Australia)
1974 Paula Flannery (New Zealand)
1983 Oliver Pitcher (Bermuda)