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May 8 down the years

The finisher

The man who became part of cricket's dictionary

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Michael Bevan: he may not have have cut it at the Test level, but in one-dayers, he was one of the greatest ever
Michael Bevan: he may not have have cut it at the Test level, but in one-dayers, he was one of the greatest ever © AFP

One of the world's best one-day batsmen is born. Michael Bevan introduced the word "finisher" into the cricket dictionary with a series of performances as cool and calm as his nudging, scampering style was frenetic. He announced his retirement in 2007, three years after he played his final ODI, and was one of only two batsmen to average over 50 when he quit. A visitor from Mars might find it extraordinary that such a run-machine played relatively few Tests, but after a promising start (82, 70 and 91 on anaesthetised Pakistani pitches in 1994-95) his weakness against the short ball was exposed.

If Pakistani batsmen are renowned for their swashbuckling flair then Javed Burki, who was born today, was the exception that proved the rule. Burki, the first cousin (and childhood hero) of Imran Khan, was stoic in defence, and his three Test centuries were fairly painstaking affairs. They all came against England in a five-Test, nine-month period in 1961-62. He captained Pakistan to England in 1962 when he was only 24, but they were hammered 4-0 and Burki lost his job. He later became an ICC match referee.

Birth of an Englishman who smashed a century off 45 balls against Australia. The genial Robin Hobbs was playing for Essex in a tour match when he pummelled Jim Higgs and Ashley Mallett all round Chelmsford. Hobbs' day job was as a legspinner, the last such specialist to play for England for over 20 years before Ian Salisbury in 1992, although he struggled for penetration in his seven Test appearances.

Birth of Curly Page, New Zealand's second Test captain. A fine performer in whatever sport he chose, he was especially prominent in cricket and rugby; he was an All Black scrum-half in 1928. Page was a member of New Zealand cricket's first team to England, in 1927, when he made over 1000 runs. He made the trip again in 1931, and was captain of the touring team in 1937. He played in 14 Tests, scoring 492 with an average of 24.60. His one century, 104 at Lord's in 1931, came in a dramatic New Zealand comeback.

A dramatic collapse in Jamaica put the seal on another comfortable West Indies series win. New Zealand had to win the match to square the series, an unlikely prospect as soon as they followed on 225 behind. But when they closed the third day on 211 for 1, anything was possible. Sadly for New Zealand, what happened was a Malcolm Marshall-induced slide from 223 for 1 to 283 all out, which left Gordon Greenidge and Des Haynes to knock off the 59 needed for a second consecutive ten-wicket victory.

Northants were demolished for just 27 and 14 by Yorkshire in their County Championship match at Northampton. No Northants player reached double figures, and George Hirst, whose match figures were 12 for 19 off 20.1 overs, also managed more runs in one knock (44) than Northants mustered in both innings. Their aggregate of 42 was the lowest in first-class history at the time, and remains the second-lowest.

Another good day for Yorkshire, who made the highest total in County Championship history. From the relative depths of 448 for 7, they reached the lofty heights of 887 against Warwickshire at Edgbaston, with four batsmen making centuries, then promptly reduced their hosts to 31 for 5. Not content with bashing 85 from No. 10, George Hirst then took 8 for 59. But though Warwickshire followed on 684 runs behind, Yorkshire, not entirely surprisingly, ran out of time, although this was in the days before they were allowed to declare.

Birth of Henry Leveson Gower (pronounced Loosen Gore), who only played three Tests, in South Africa in 1909-10, but who had a big role in the development of the game in England. He played for Surrey, and was later their president. He also chaired the England selection committee for a time and ran the Scarborough Cricket Festival for nearly 50 years. Leveson Gower was knighted for his services to cricket in 1953, and died in Kensington a year later.

Nobody has scored more first-class centuries than Jack Hobbs' 199, and on this day in Bath he made the 100th of those 199, for Surrey against Somerset. Hobbs had gone for 0 in the first innings, when Surrey were skittled for 91, but his 116 not out was enough for them to win a thriller by 10 runs.

Other birthdays
1950 Gillian McConway (England)
1959 Ingrid Jagersma (New Zealand)
1961 Riaz Poonawalla (UAE)
1993 Pat Cummins

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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