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December 27 down the years

A hop, skip and a jump

The first umpire to officiate in six World Cups

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David Shepherd: umpired in three World Cup finals
David Shepherd: umpired in three World Cup finals © Getty Images
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1940
One of the most recognisable figures in Test cricket was born. David Shepherd never played Tests (although he was once prominent with Gloucestershire) - but he took charge of 92 of them. He was also the only umpire to have officiated in six World Cups (1983-2003), including three finals. Some of his superstitions became part of the fabric of cricket, especially the gull-like one-legged stance and assorted hops and skips when a team scored the dreaded Nelsons of 111, 222, 333 and so on. He died in 2009 at the age of 68 after a long battle with cancer.

1981
Against West Indies in Melbourne, Dennis Lillee took the wicket of Larry Gomes, his 310th in Test cricket, to break the world record set by Lance Gibbs in 1975-76. Lillee took the record to 355, which lasted until Ian Botham bettered it at The Oval in 1986.

1968
Another high-class Australian pace bowler achieved his best innings figures in Test cricket: Graham "Garth" McKenzie took 8 for 71 against West Indies in Melbourne, as Australia romped to an innings win.

1972
One more Aussie who achieved his best Test figures, and again they contributed to an innings victory. Laconic offspinner Ashley Mallett took 8 for 59 in Adelaide against Pakistan.

1982
Another eight-wicket haul, this time by Imran Khan, whose 8 for 60 wrecked India's second innings to give Pakistan their then-biggest win against India - by an innings and in 86 runs - in Karachi. Pakistan put India in and bowled them out for 169 (the only real resistance coming from Kapil Dev), and then piled up a huge total, with Zaheer Abbas and Mudassar Nazar adding 213 for the fifth wicket. Pakistan's victory was achieved with a day to spare. Imran finished with match figures of 11 for 79, which took him past 200 wickets in Tests.

1995
Back Down Under for this one. Not many of the people who watched David Boon scratching around for runs early in his Test career would have believed he was capable of racking up 7422 of them by the end of his career, including 21 centuries, the last of which was scored today, against Sri Lanka in Melbourne.

1936
One of the greatest of all close fielders was born. Although he won seven County Championships and averaged 46.23 in 12 Tests for England, including a century versus New Zealand at Trent Bridge in 1969, Phil Sharpe's name is still more of a byword for brilliance in the slips. A single example will do: standing very close in against West Indies at Old Trafford in 1969, he held an amazing catch off a ferocious slash by Joey Carew. The Wisden Almanack, in a classic piece of British understatement, described it as "memorable". Actually, it took the breath away. Mind you, he probably did it every week for Yorkshire.

2009
On a Kotla pitch that Sunil Gavaskar described as a hair transplant with bald patches, Sri Lanka's batsmen survived two hits to the body that needed attention before the match was abandoned due to "extremely variable bounce". The 23.3 overs that were bowled featured a wicket first ball, blows to the elbow, shoulder, fingers, and a length delivery that reared nearly out of MS Dhoni's reach. In the aftermath the BCCI Grounds and Wickets committee was sacked, but the ground managed to keep its World Cup 2011 matches.

Other birthdays
1861 William Chatterton (England)
1865 Harry Butt (England)
1925 Glendon Gibbs (West Indies)
1953 Kevin Wright (Australia)
1957 Bruce Blair (New Zealand)
1962 Lalithamana Fernando (Sri Lanka)
1962 Mansoor Rana (Pakistan)
1964 David Tikolo (Kenya)
1965 Gamini Wickremasinghe (Sri Lanka)
1965 Miriam Grealey (Ireland)

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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