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October 27 down the years

The arrival of Sanga

The birth of a Sri Lankan run machine

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Kumar Sangakkara has eight Test double-hundreds
Kumar Sangakkara has eight Test double-hundreds © AFP
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1977
An elegant left-hander is born. Kumar Sangakkara has been at the forefront of Sri Lanka's Test dominance at home - they have lost just three Test series out of 18 in Sri Lanka since the beginning of 2002. A wicketkeeper-batsman, Sangakkara has, along with Mahela Jayawardene, been the backbone of Sri Lanka's batting following the exit of the side's 1996 World Cup heroes. Superbly consistent, he added a world record 624 for the third wicket with Jayawardene in July 2006, against South Africa in Colombo; his share was 287. A smart thinker, Sangakkara is perhaps one of the finest exponents of "mental disintegration" in the game, as Shaun Pollock famously found out once. Sangakkara gave up keeping in Tests in mid-2006 - though he continues to do so in limited-overs games - and was given the captaincy when Jayawardene retired from the job in early 2009. Sangakkara led Sri Lanka to their first home Test series win against Pakistan, the final of the 2009 World Twenty20 and the 2011 World Cup final. He gave up the captaincy at the end of the tournament.

1964
Birth of Mark "Tubby" Taylor who regained the Frank Worrell Trophy and inflicted on West Indies their first series defeat for 15 years a year after taking over captaincy from Allan Border. Taylor's nose for a hunch (how many times did he bring on bowlers like Blewett, Ponting and Co and see them take a wicket almost immediately?) and aversion to stalemate - Australia drew only 11 of his 50 Tests in charge - made Test cricket more watchable than it had been for many a year. As an opening batsman he struggled at times, most famously when he went 21 innings without a half-century between 1995 and 1997, but a final average of 43.49 showed what a quality performer he was.

2000
Muttiah Muralitharan took India apart with 7 for 30 - the best bowling in ODIs at the time - as Sri Lanka eased home in a dress rehearsal for the Champions Trophy final in Sharjah. Marvan Atapattu and Mahela Jayawardene both made centuries in a total of 294 for 5 and then, with India 99 for 2, Murali got to work - his seven wickets came for 23 runs in 50 balls. India played him better in the final two days later, when he only managed 3 for 6, but it didn't stop them being hammered by 245 runs.

1954
Birth of the ultimate stonewaller. Chris Tavaré shaped up as a poor man's Geoff Boycott - capable of all the shots, but offering only a few in match situations. But whereas Boycott was an average massager, Tavaré did it for the team at a time when England were crying out for someone to complement Gower, Lamb, Botham et al. His calm, scholarly demeanour - he was the antithesis of his lookalike Basil Fawlty - made him unpopular: in Australia especially. Much maligned for making a painful 89 in Perth in the first Test of the 1982-83 tour, Tavaré made the same score in the fourth match, in Melbourne (which England won by three runs) but in a completely different style. The Wisden Almanack said he batted with "unaccustomed vigour" as he got firmly stuck into Bruce Yardley. He never shook off the "boring" tag, though, and made his last Test appearance as a replacement against Australia in 1989.

1997
South Africa pulled off a sensational victory in the third Test against Pakistan in Faisalabad to take the series 1-0. It was a remarkable match. On the first day South Africa were 98 for 7 before a century from Gary Kirsten and a thumping 81 from Pat Symcox (who saw one Mushtaq Ahmed googly pass between off and middle without dislodging the bail) got them to 239, but Pakistan still took a first-innings lead of 68, and despite another 50 from Symcox they needed only 147 to win the match and the series. They fell apart. Shaun Pollock took four top-order wickets in seven delirious deliveries and Symcox cleaned up the tail to claim the first Man-of-the-Match award of his Test career. Pakistan were blown away for a measly 92 to lose by 53 runs.

1984
Birth of Irfan Pathan, whose early promise saw him fast-tracked into the Indian side after successful series with the under-19 and A teams, Pathan made an almost immediate impact, troubling Australian batsmen on India's tour there in 2003-04 - his first four Test wickets were Matthew Hayden, Steve Waugh, Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting. He played a big part in India's one-day and Test series wins on their revival tour of Pakistan, and his batting soon took off; Pathan was regularly pushed up the order - his first stint at No.3 resulted in a spectacular 83 against Sri Lanka in Nagpur - and he often bailed India out of strife in the Test arena as well. However, regular and prolonged dips in form led to his being dropped and subsequent recalls ended in frustration, with Pathan being unable to cement his place after the odd flutter.

1986
Birth of the first cricketer since 1877 to make his Australia debut without having played first-class cricket. David Warner achieved the feat in Twenty20, and in that first match, at the MCG in 2009, having already landed an IPL contract, he smashed 89 off 43 balls against an attack that included Dale Steyn, Jacques Kallis and Makhaya Ntini. He made his one-day debut a week later, but had to wait nearly three years to play his first Test. It was worth it when he scored an unbeaten century in his second Test, in a tense chase that Australia eventually lost by seven runs to New Zealand. Three Tests later, he broke the back of India's bowling with a 159-run 180 in Perth. Warner is second on the list of most domestic T20 hundreds, tied with Brendon McCullum.

1926
Nana Joshi, born today, competed with Narendra Tamhane for the wicketkeeper's slot in the Indian team during the '50s. He took two catches and made two stumpings on debut, in Delhi in 1951-52, but unfortunately that was to remain his best performance behind the wicket. Joshi is remembered for a record ninth-wicket partnership with Ramakant Desai - the two made half-centuries in an unbeaten 149-run stand - against Pakistan in Bombay in 1960-1961 in what was his last Test.

1963
At the Gabba in Brisbane, Bob Simpson smacked a mighty 359 for New South Wales against Queensland. It was the highest post-war score in Australia until Matthew Hayden's 380 in October 2003. It was not enough for victory, though, in a remarkable match that saw 1301 runs scored for the loss of only 21 wickets. For good measure Simpson made 247 not out against Western Australia in Sydney, and by the end of a summer in which he scored a century, two doubles and a triple, he was the Australian captain. But he started with a duck, courtesy of Peter Pollock, in the second Test against South Africa in Melbourne.

1877
The Northampton Nugget was born. George Thompson earned that nickname for playing a crucial role in establishing Northamptonshire's first-class status in 1905. He was an outstanding performer, strong in defence with the bat and a brisk fast-medium with the ball, who played for the 1st XI at Wellingborough School when he was only 13. But such was the depth of talent in English cricket that he played only six Tests, one against Australia in 1909 and five in South Africa the following winter. He died in Bristol in 1943.

2013
A tragic day in the Eastern Cape as former first-class cricketer Darryn Randall was killed after being struck on the side of the head during a Border Cricket Board Premier League match at Alice. Randall, who was wearing a helmet, took the blow while attempting a pull shot and collapsed at the crease. He was rushed to Alice Hospital but medical staff were unable to revive him. He represented Border as a wicketkeeper-batsman in four first-class matches and four List A games during 2009 as well as the various provincial youth teams while a pupil at Stirling Primary and Selborne College in East London. He then established himself as a coach, running a highly regarded cricket academy at Stirling Primary School.

Other birthdays
1917 Jack Plimsoll (South Africa)
1928 Datta Gaekwad (India)
1963 Mark Johnson (USA)

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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