The blond bombshell
Birth of the man who made legspin a force in Test cricket again. Shane Warne's feats are too numerous to list here. We'll settle for his 708 Test wickets, his part in the World Cup triumph of 1999 - and above all, the ball from the other side of the world, the perfect legbreak at Old Trafford in 1993, which completely deceived Mike Gatting. Unfortunately Warne's off-field exploits took some of the gloss off his extraordinary achievements on it. He was suspended for a year after testing positive for banned diuretics just before the 2003 World Cup. Warne reserved his best for the old enemy: he took 34 wickets in the 1993 Ashes, 27 in 1994-95, 24 in 1997, 31 in 2001, and a herculean 40 in the 2005 series - though he could not drag his side to victory. In Sri Lanka in 2003-04, he was unstoppable with 26 wickets in the three Tests. He made major contributions till the end - including a memorable 4 for 49 in the Adelaide Test of the 2006-07 series against England that Australia won 5-0, after which he called it a day. He then went on to captain Rajasthan Royals to victory in the inaugural IPL, took up poker seriously, and turned up regularly in commentary boxes worldwide.
Has anyone ever hit the ball harder through the covers than Robin Smith, who was born today? If so, tell us about it, because the image of Smith going down on one knee to smash fast bowlers to the off-side boundary is one of the great memories. But he only played 62 Tests. Reasons? Not so good against spin, they said - yet this is the man who scored 128 against Muralitharan and Co in Colombo in 1992-93. But it's that flashing blade against pace that is most memorable. He scored two Test centuries against the all-conquering Aussies in 1989, two more against West Indies in 1991 - and his last Test hundred was his biggest: 175 at St John's in 1993-94. He scored four one-day hundreds, his best coming in a losing cause against Australia, when he scored an unbeaten 167 off 163 balls at Edgbaston in 1993. Smith retired from first-class cricket at the end of the 2003 season.
A fast but fake century. Batting for Lancashire v Leicestershire at Old Trafford, Steve O'Shaughnessy got to three figures in 35 minutes, which equalled the fastest first-class ton at the time, scored by Percy Fender for Surrey v Northants at Northampton in 1920. However the Wisden Almanack relegates O'Shaughnessy's knock to its "scored in contrived circumstances" list: he was fed more than his fair share of long hops and full tosses in an attempt to force a result. It didn't work: Lancashire refused to declare, and the match was drawn.
Birth of New Zealand's Craig McMillan, who chipped in with the ball and did rather more with the bat. He scored 54 on his Test debut, in Brisbane in 1997-98, before quickly moving on to higher things. His Test centuries included 142 at Colombo's Premadasa Stadium later that same season, and another 142 against Zimbabwe in Wellington in 2000-01. He also hit an unbeaten 107 at Old Trafford, when New Zealand surprised a few people by winning the series against England in 1999. McMillan was dropped from the one-day side in 2005, after which he tried his hand at being a salesman. However, he made his way back and got picked for the 2007 World Cup after he scored a New Zealand record 67-ball ODI century in the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy earlier that year. He was New Zealand's highest scorer in the World T20 that followed but announced his retirement from international cricket after the tournament, at the age of 31.
An opening batsman with a compact style and steadfast nature, Chandika Hathurusingha, born today, forged a steady opening partnership with Roshan Mahanama. He made his Test debut in New Zealand, as replacement for an injured Mahanama, and scored three half-centuries in his first three Tests. But he was dropped after he struggled against pace in South Africa, spent a while on the sidelines, and then was selected to tour Pakistan - where he performed excellently. After being left out again, following the emergence of Sanath Jayasuriya, Hathurusingha was employed as a middle-order batsman and medium-pace bowler. He was picked for the 1999 World Cup but didn't play. Hathurusingha quit first-class cricket in 2005 and moved to coaching, most notably with Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Surrey won their first County Championship title since 2002, and their 19th overall, when they beat Worcestershire by three wickets away. Morne Morkel, who starred for Surrey through the season, with 50 wickets, hit a pull for four to seal the victory. Their opener Rory Burns topped the run-scorers' table by a handsome margin.
One of the great county characters was born. Arthur Mitchell was known as Ticker for his habit of offering verbal advice throughout a day's play. Called in as a late replacement for his fourth Test, he made 58 and 72 against South Africa at Headingley in 1935 - which was entirely appropriate: Ticker was Yorkshire through and through. In his time at the club (1922-47), they won the Championship 12 times.
Birth of a double international who did better at rugby than cricket. Percy Twentyman-Jones (aka PST Jones) won three caps at rugby, all in 1896. One of 38 home players who appeared in the series against the British Isles, he scored a try to give South Africa the lead at half-time on the way to their first ever win. Against Australia in Cape Town in 1902-03, he was bowled for 0 in each innings to join the rarified list of batsmen who made a pair in their only Test. He later became a judge.