Sir Ian Botham is born
Birth of the man who remains arguably England's most famous cricketer. The highlights and lowlights of Ian Terence Botham's career are too lengthy to list here, but most prominent of all will always be his Ashes-winning three-card-trick in 1981. The emphasis on Botham's breathtaking power with the bat often obscures just how sound he was technically. Along with Viv Richards and Joel Garner, he was central to Somerset's golden age in the early 1980s. He also played soccer for Scunthorpe, continues to do untold work for leukaemia research, was knighted in 2007, and is a TV commentator with Sky.
No Englishman with more than 500 Test runs averages more than the immaculate Herbert Sutcliffe, who was born today. Though he did not play for England until he was 29, Sutcliffe soon made up for lost time - after 17 Tests he averaged 80, and in all made 4555 runs at an average of 60.73. He was a magisterial batsman who peaked in 1924-25, when despite England losing 1-4 to Australia, he became the first person to hit four hundreds in a Test series, including three in a row in Sydney and Melbourne. With Jack Hobbs he formed England's best-ever opening partnership. Sutcliffe was remorseless at county level for Yorkshire too, and made 2000 runs or more in a season 15 times.
Birth of one of England's most popular cricketers. Ken Barrington started off at Surrey as a dashing strokemaker, but his pride in playing for his country was such that he imposed a strict, almost strokeless, regime to make himself a success at the top level. It certainly worked, particularly overseas, where he made 14 of his 20 Test hundreds and averaged a mighty 69. When in form, Barrington was as immovable as any batsman in cricket history. All his hundreds came in binges, and he scored back-to-back Test tons on a staggering seven occasions. Barrington was an extremely well-liked assistant manager, and he was coach of the England side touring West Indies when he suffered a fatal heart attack in Barbados in 1981.
The genial Fred Titmus, who was born today, was one of the finest offspinners to play for England. His strength was all in the flight, where he would tempt and tease batsmen into submission. He loved touring Australia, and took his best Test figures (7 for 79) in Sydney in 1962-63. But like most English finger-spinners, Titmus often struggled for penetration, as a Test strike-rate of a wicket every 98 balls suggests. He could bat too, and opened the batting for England on more than one occasion in an emergency. Titmus played first-class cricket in five different decades, between 1949 and 1982 with Middlesex (and once in 1978 with Surrey). A number of knocks - including losing four toes when his foot was caught in the propeller of a motor boat - failed to dampen his lust for life. He was later awarded an MBE and became a Test selector.
If not the birth of the Packer circus, this day definitely marks the moment its waters broke. After months of meetings, speculation and anger, the first World Series Cricket matches took place at Adelaide's Football Park and Melbourne's VFL Park (the establishment banned Packer sides from using their grounds). Mike Procter bowled the first ball to Rick McCosker in the Melbourne contest, which attracted 2449 spectators, and Ian Chappell hit an unbeaten 118 not out that evening. In Adelaide the attendance was 1000.
A timely electrical storm in Brisbane saved England just as Stuart MacGill and Mark Waugh seemed to be spinning them to defeat in the first Test. Set 348 to win, England were in big trouble at 179 for 6 when the weather intervened. Australia would not draw another home Test for three years.
Birth of that pocket dynamo Romesh Kaluwitharana, who revolutionised one-day cricket when he and Sanath Jayasuriya took pinch-hitting to a new level in the mid-1990s, playing a shot a ball right from the off. Successful though the pair generally were, Kaluwitharana was also the subject of one of cricket's greatest myths. Legend has it that he and Jayasuriya set the 1996 World Cup alight with a series of blazing partnerships. Not so. Kaluwitharana made only 73 runs in the whole tournament, though at least he did not hang around - those runs took only 52 balls, and in the semi-final he and Jayasuriya were both caught at third man (Kaluwitharana first ball) in the first over. He was inevitably a hit-and-miss player (his one-day average did not hit 20 until his 123rd match) but though not reliable, Kalu was never less than entertaining.
A dashing right-hand middle-order batsman and a prolific run-getter at domestic level, Brijesh Patel, who was born today, was also an outstanding outfielder. However, he was found out against pace and the swinging ball, on the tours of England in 1974 and 1979, and in Australia in 1977-78. But he did very well in the West Indies in 1976, when he hit his only Test hundred - 115 not out in Port-of-Spain. After failing on the tour of Australia in 1977-78, he was dropped, only to be brought back for the tour of England in 1979, keeping the World Cup in mind. At the domestic level, though, he was a monarch, and for a long while held the two most important batting records in the Ranji Trophy - most runs (7126 at an average of 57.00) and most centuries (26).
A real shock in Lahore, where New Zealand's herd of allrounders snatched a 44-run victory over Pakistan in the first Test. It looked unlikely when they were cleaned up for 155 on the first day, but a chalk-and-cheese partnership from Stephen Fleming (92 not out in almost five hours) and Chris Cairns (93 off 89) second time round helped them set Pakistan a target of 276. Pakistan went to pieces, slipping to 60 for 6 before the debutant Mohammad Wasim struck a fine unbeaten century to bring them within range. At 211 for 7 things were getting tense, but Dipak Patel broke the habit of a lifetime by demolishing the tail. It was New Zealand's first Test win in 15 matches, and their first in Pakistan for 27 years.
Birth of Indian legspinner Amit Mishra, the sixth Indian to take a five-for on debut when he replaced the injured Anil Kumble in Mohali against Australia in 2008. Mishra, who thrives on dry subcontinental pitches, took seven in that match, and seven more in Chittagong in 2010. But his inability to extract turn on benign wickets and the lack of accuracy were his failings as other spinners overtook him in the pecking order. A strong showing in the 2013 IPL brought him back to the national circuit. And in five ODIs in Zimbabwe, he picked up 18 wickets at 11.61.
Sachin Tendulkar, at 16 years 214 days, became the youngest man to make a Test fifty when he stroked 59 in the second Test between India and Pakistan in Faisalabad. That aside it was fairly dull fare as the two sides played out another sleepy draw, their 13th in 14 matches. Vivek Razdan made his debut for India after only two first-class matches, neither of which were in the Ranji Trophy.
Birth of a batsman who took time to settle at the top level. Neil McKenzie was always earmarked for an international career, but struggled to cement a place in South Africa's side during a spell in the middle order. After being dropped in March 2004 it took him three and a half years to earn a recall, despite consistently begin among the highest scorers in domestic cricket. When his chance came, he reinvented himself as a solid opening batsman, bringing a reassuring calm to South Africa's top order. With Herschelle Gibbs' career fading, McKenzie formed a new alliance with Graeme Smith, and against Bangladesh, in 2008, the two had a world-record 415 opening stand. He scored big hundreds in drawn Tests in Chennai and Lord's later in the year but found himself replaced at the top of the order by Ashwell Prince (and later Alviro Petersen) after South Africa lost to Australia at home in early 2009.
1910 Lennox Brown (South Africa
1918 Roly Jenkins (England)
1930 Chandrakant Patankar (India)
1938 Wynne Bradburn (New Zealand)
1943 Barry Milburn (New Zealand)
1948 Ashok Gandotra(India)
1968 Nicholas Ifill (Canada)
1976 Gareth Hopkins (New Zealand)
1980 Kabir Ali (England)
1981 Ian Butler (New Zealand)
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Mitchell McClenaghan talks about how being aggressive makes him stand out, and his World Cup and IPL journeys
Tony Cozier: West Indies' challenge will be to sustain the progress they made in the England Tests
A fan watches England take on New Zealand from the Edrich Upper Stand at Lord's 11 summers apart, and can't help drawing parallels. By Liam Cromar
The Cricket Monthly: Arjuna Ranatunga was a tough cookie on the field and an unwavering friend off it. By Martin Crowe
TCM May issue
Anantha Narayanan: The worst ten-Test periods for batsmen and bowlers
Also: making 600 and not winning, and lopsided contributions in a team's innings
ESPNcricinfo takes a look at the possible top-four teams in IPL 2015
The most IPL matches without making it to the playoffs
Garry Sobers talks about batting innovations and what T20 does to young players