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May 1 down the years

Gordon the enforcer

Two West Indian legends are born, and Tugga makes 200

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Deadly on one leg: Gordon Greenidge punishes yet another fast bowler
Deadly on one leg: Gordon Greenidge punishes yet another fast bowler © Getty Images
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1951
In Barbados, the great Gordon Greenidge is born. When he was 12, his parents moved to Reading, and as a result Greenidge played for Hampshire and qualified for England, but instead of Greenidge and Gooch we had Greenidge and Haynes, the finest opening partnership in West Indies' history and one of the best anywhere. Greenidge was the enforcer, square-cutting, hooking and driving new-ball bowlers into submission. He was deadly on one leg, as England, battered for 214 not out at Lord's in 1984, would testify. Menacing and brutal, Greenidge made six of his 19 Test hundreds in England, including 134 (out of 211) and 101 on a spiteful Old Trafford surface in 1976. He also made 93 and 107 on his debut, against India at Bangalore in 1974-75.

1991
And on his 40th birthday, Greenidge played his last Test innings. Against Australia in Antigua, he was run out for 43, as West Indies failed to chase an unlikely target of 455. Greenidge went on the tour of England that followed but injured his knee in the second one-day international, his last appearance for his country.

1929
West Indian legspinners usually invite the same degree of mirth as Scottish goalkeepers, but Trinidadian Sonny Ramadhin, who was born today, was the real thing. Long before the doosra was a glint in Saqlain Mushtaq's eye, Ramadhin flitted between leg- and offspinners with no noticeable change in action. After only two first-class matches apiece, he and Alf Valentine ripped through England in 1950 as West Indies pulled off a famous and unlikely series win. Ramadhin took 26 wickets in four Tests, but his best figures came seven years later - 7 for 49 at Edgbaston, followed by 2 for 179 in the second innings, as Peter May and Colin Cowdrey padded England to safety in an unforgettable stand of 411. Ramadhin bowled 98 overs in that second innings, and 129 in the match; both are Test records.

1963
A damp start to the world's first one-day competition as the Gillette Cup match between Lancashire and Leicestershire at Old Trafford was forced into a second day by rain. Lancashire scored 304 for 9 in their 65 overs (reduced to 60 overs-a-side in 1964) and bowled Leicestershire out for 203.

1995
One of the finest moments of Steve Waugh's career, and a seismic day in Jamaica. Waugh paid West Indies back for years of pain with an unyielding, Test-best 200. He had come to the crease with the match and series in the balance - Australia were 73 for 3 in reply to West Indies' 265, but with his brother Mark he added a momentous 231 for the fourth wicket. West Indies subsided second time round, and their famous run of 15 years without a Test-series defeat was over.

1954
A prolific wicketkeeper is born. Taslim Arif made his Pakistan debut as a batsman - when he ground out 90 and 46 against India in Calcutta in 1979-80 - but had the gloves for the rest of his Test career. In his third Test, against Australia the same winter, Taslim made a mighty seven-hour 210 not out, the highest score by a wicketkeeper in a Test till Andy Flower made 232 not out in 2000-01. Taslim played at the same time as Wasim Bari, a vastly superior gloveman, and so figured in only six Tests; he ended with a batting average of 62.62.

1957
Birth of the dashing Australian batsman Rick Darling, whose 14-Test career was over before he turned 23. He got his chance early because of World Series Cricket and impressed with his fearless cutting and hooking. But with that came the impetuosity of youth, and Darling often wasted a good start. His finest innings came in Sydney in 1978-79, when he laced 91 in a low-scoring match against England. In that same series, in Adelaide, Darling almost died when the gum he was chewing lodged in his throat after he was hit on the heart by a ball from Bob Willis. John Emburey, with a hearty thump, came to the rescue.

1930
Don Bradman started as he meant to go on by hammering 236 in his first first-class innings in England, in a tour match against Worcestershire. For good measure, he made 185 not out in his next innings, against Leicestershire.

1889
Birth of the former Kent captain John Evans, who played one Test for England - against Australia at Lord's in 1921 - but who is more famous for escaping a Prisoner of War camp in the First World War. After that he wrote The Escaping Club, a classic book about his breakout.

Other birthdays
1920 Myrtle Baylis (Australia)
1927 Israr Ali (Pakistan)
1932 Don Pringle (East Africa)
1947 Ghulam Abbas (Pakistan)
1953 Elquemedo Willett (West Indies)
1955 Julien Wiener (Australia)
1970 Iris Jharap (Netherlands)
1974 Jo Garey (Australia)

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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