June 6 down the years

501 not out

A first-class first

In 1994, Brian Lara surpassed Hanif Mohammad's 499 Graham Chadwick / © PA Photos

Brian Lara achieved immortality with the highest score in first-class cricket history: 501 not out. As if his Test-record 375 wasn't enough, Lara took the first-class record within two months when he surpassed Hanif Mohammad's 499 while playing for Warwickshire against Durham at Edgbaston. He had a few near-misses - Lara was bowled off a no-ball on 12 and then was dropped by wicketkeeper Chris Scott on 18 (Scott apparently said: "Oh dear, he'll probably go on and get a hundred"). In all, Lara faced only 427 deliveries, and hammered 62 fours and ten sixes. On the final day he whacked 174 runs before lunch. For good measure, he also became the first man to make seven hundreds in eight first-class innings, the first of which was the 375. He lost his Test record briefly to Matthew Hayden in 2003 but took it back in April 2004 with 400 against England in Antigua.

The career of Mike Gatting, who was born today, was split into three distinct segments. He struggled at first, taking seven years and 54 innings to make his first Test century. But after breaking that duck with 136 in Mumbai in 1984-85, Gatting went on a storming two-year run in which he made nine centuries in 28 Tests and averaged 63. Then came Shakoor Rana, and an alleged liaison with a barmaid that cost him the England captaincy in 1988. Gatting was never the same - he captained the rebel tour to South Africa in 1989, and in 51 Tests either side of his outstanding two-year run of form, he only made one century, a tortuous 117 in Adelaide in 1994-95 as the curtain came gently down on his career.

One of Pakistan's finest batters is born... in Hyderabad, India. Asif Iqbal came a long way from the 21-year-old who opened the bowling - with his fellow debutant and future batting star Majid Khan - and batted No. 10, against Australia in Karachi in 1964-65. In full flow Asif was a sumptuous sight. He made his first Test century from No. 9, 146 against England at The Oval in 1967, but he eventually graduated into the middle order, where his dashing, fleet-footed strokeplay charmed everyone, not least during a successful stint in county cricket with Kent.

Birth of India batter Ajinkya Rahane. He made up for a forgettable debut against Australia in 2013 by establishing himself as one of India's most valuable overseas batters, averaging close to 55 abroad for a four-year period starting late in 2013, and filling the middle-order vacancy left by VVS Laxman's retirement. So it was surprising when captain Virat Kohli chose to play him in only one of three Tests in South Africa in 2018. In any case, in that Test in Johannesburg, Rahane made an important 48 on a challenging pitch with uneven bounce, taking blows to his body, along with Kohli, and helped India win a rare Test outside the subcontinent. He only managed four fifties on the tours of England and Australia that followed, but led India to a famous 2-1 series win down under in 2020-21 in the absence of regular captain Virat Kohli.

After all the fuss, 25-year-old Graeme Hick finally made his England Test debut against West Indies at Headingley. Most pundits had already booked him in for 100 Tests, 8000 runs and an average of 50, but it didn't quite work out like that. In fairness, it was an unforgiving baptism - Curtly Ambrose tortured him all summer, dismissing him six times in a row, but it was Courtney Walsh who ended his first innings when Hick fenced to Jeffrey Dujon, having made just 6.

A typhoon is born. In terms of raw, unbridled pace, few bowlers in history can match England's Frank Tyson. Richie Benaud rated him the quickest he ever saw. In 17 Tests, Tyson took 76 wickets at an average of 18. This was no brainless quickie, however - Tyson was a Durham University graduate, and had a penchant for quoting Shakespeare or Wordsworth to batters, something you can't quite imagine Glenn McGrath ever doing. Most famously, Tyson blew away Australia as England retained the Ashes in 1954-55. After starting off with 1 for 160 in defeat in Brisbane, he shortened his run and took ten wickets in Sydney and nine more in Melbourne, when he collected 7 for 27 in the second innings and frightened the life out of the Aussies. Injury plagued his career, though, and he emigrated to Australia, where he became a headmaster for a time, before coaching Victoria.

Birth of Pakistan left-arm fast bowler Mohammad Irfan, who at 7ft 1in is one of the tallest cricketers to have played the game. When a club cricketer, he was spotted by Aaqib Javed and that chance meeting allowed Irfan to give up his job in a plastic pipe factory and dream of playing for Pakistan. He debuted at 28 on the one-day leg of the 2010 England tour, and while injuries interrupted his career at the start, he went on to make a regular place for himself in the limited-overs sides, troubling batters with his bounce and speeds of over 140kph.

Brian Lara's 501 overshadowed a routine England victory over New Zealand at Trent Bridge, in a match that ended on the same day. England won by an innings for the first time at home in nine years, thanks mainly to Graham Gooch (210, his last Test hundred), and Phil DeFreitas, who in addition to taking 9 for 165 in the match, made a quick-fire 51 and became the 100th person to take 100 Test wickets.

Birth of the South African allrounder Herbert "Tiger" Lance, who played 13 Tests. He was a handy strokeplayer in the lower middle order, and a useful third- or fourth-change seamer. He took 3 for 30 in his first Test innings, against New Zealand in Johannesburg in 1961-62. His finest hour with the bat also came in Johannesburg, when he made 44 and 70 against Australia in 1966-67, a match that South Africa won at a canter despite trailing on first innings.

Birth of the Indian left-arm spinner Sunil Joshi, whose Test career had one distinct highlight. In Bangladesh's inaugural Test, in Dhaka, Joshi pooped the party with 92, his only Test fifty, and eight wickets, including his only five-for. It set up India's second overseas victory in 14 years. He had one notable one-day performance as well, grabbing 5 for 6 against South Africa in Nairobi in 1999-2000.

Tahir Naqqash, born today, took 34 wickets each in his 15 Tests and 40 ODIs, bowling right-arm fast-medium and offbreaks. But he never bettered his performance in his first Test, in Karachi, where he made his only half-century and took five wickets. Despite a Test career that lasted just three years, Naqqash managed to make tours to Australia, India, England and New Zealand.

Other birthdays
1890 Ted Bowley (England)
1909 MJ Gopalan (India)
1917 Prior Jones (West Indies)
1956 Andy Pycroft (Zimbabwe)
1967 Wasim Haider (Pakistan)
1968 Karen Young (Ireland)
1972 Dulip Liyanage (Sri Lanka)
1973 Ashfaq Ahmed (Pakistan)
1980 Dewald Nel (Scotland)