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June 16 down the years

Long Tom

An elegant, strokeful fan favourite is born

Tom Graveney in the nets ahead of the Australians' tour game against the MCC, Lord's, May 15, 1953

Tom Graveney scored 4882 runs in 79 Tests  •  PA Photos

Birth of one of England's most elegant batters. Tom Graveney's gleaming strokeplay made him a favourite with fans - but a Goweresque propensity to throw his wicket away brought about a measure of mistrust in the England selectors. He was put out to pasture in 1963, but weight of runs for Worcestershire got him back in three years later, and he played 24 of his 79 Tests after his 39th birthday. He captained England for the only time in that period too, at Headingley in 1968. Graveney excelled against West Indies, averaging almost 59, including a mighty 258 at Trent Bridge in 1957. He also made 175 in only his second Test innings, against India in Bombay in 1951-52. Graveney played for and coached Queensland and later became a popular and cheery summariser for the BBC.
One of the most amazing turnarounds the game has seen occurred on this day at Edgbaston, where Hampshire were bowled out for 15 and, 208 behind, followed on. Second time round they appeared down and out at 177 for 6, but with George Brown scoring 175 and the No. 10, Walter Livsey, 110, they rallied to make 521 and then bowled Warwickshire out for 158, winning by 155 runs. It was rumoured that Freddie Calthorpe, Warwickshire's captain, was asked by his committee to delay taking the new ball to extend the game into the second afternoon and so improve takings.
The beginning of the Jubilee Test at Lord's - and of Mike Brearley's reign as England captain. Brearley replaced Tony Greig, who was sacked for his involvement in the setting up of World Series Cricket (but kept his place in the side). Greig showed why with a thumping 91 in the second innings, but a rain-affected match ended in a draw, with Australia struggling on 114 for 6. The gate receipts - over £220,000 - were a record for any cricket match in Britain at the time.
A World Cup semi-final at Old Trafford, and a fireworks display from Shoaib Akhtar, who inspired Pakistan to a comfortable nine-wicket victory over New Zealand. His figures of 3 for 55 weren't that spectacular, but the manner of his three wickets certainly was - they all came from searing yorkers. This was cricket at its sexiest. Wisden Cricket Monthly said that "Shoaib was [the tournament's] pin-up: exciting, effective, expensive, exhilarating."
A world-record opening stand. Herbert Sutcliffe (313) and Percy Holmes (224 not out) put on no fewer than 555 for Yorkshire against Essex, although their record has since been broken. Sutcliffe threw his wicket away the moment they had passed the previous best, 554, only for the scoreboard then to clunk back down to 554. After a few minutes it was realised that a no-ball had been missed, and all was well. Except for Essex, who collapsed in each innings for 78 and 164 and were thrashed by an innings.
Birth of Cotar Ramaswami, the Indian batter who went missing from his home in Madras in 1985, never to return. No body was ever found, and in the Wisden Almanack he is listed as "presumed dead". In his playing days, Ramaswami was the second-oldest Indian to make his Test debut, at 40 years 37 days, against England in 1936. He is also one of only two Test cricketers to have played tennis in the Davis Cup, for India in 1922.
Birth of Alan Fairfax, the New South Wales allrounder who in ten Test appearances for Australia averaged 51 with the bat and 30 with the ball. He would have played more Tests had he not signed up for Accrington in the Lancashire League in 1932. With the bat he was strikingly consistent, and he was only out once in single figures. Fairfax died of a heart attack in London in 1955.
Sri Lanka's last-wicket pair batted out the final five balls to cling on for a dramatic draw at Lord's. In scenes filled with nerve-jangling tension, umpire Paul Reiffel gave Nuwan Pradeep out lbw off the penultimate ball of the Test, but Sri Lanka reviewed the call and Pradeep survived. There was more drama in store. Stuart Broad forced an outside edge off the final ball but it fell inches short of second slip, prompted gasps all around. Sri Lanka had batted more than 90 overs in the fourth innings to salvage a draw on only three earlier occasions, and only once away from home. Lord's now joined that list.
A debut centurion is born. Billy Griffith played only three Tests for England, despite hitting 140 in his first innings, against West Indies in Trinidad in 1947-48. It was also his first first-class hundred - Griffith had gone on the tour as assistant manager, and it was a surprise that he played at all. His other Test scores were 4, 8, 5 and 0, though he kept well enough for Godfrey Evans to be left out of the team in two Tests in South Africa in 1948-49.
At the age of 21, the great Victor Trumper made his first Test century in only his second Test match, a majestic 135 not out against England at Lord's. With Clem Hill also making 135, Australia eased home by ten wickets.
An Edgbaston demolition job. Faced with an imposing England total of 438 in the first Test, South Africa collapsed for a dismal 30 all out, equalling their lowest Test total, with only extras (11) reaching double figures. England's captain, Arthur Gilligan, had the ridiculous figures of 6.3-4-7-6, and followed up with 5 for 83 in the second innings. South Africa at least salvaged some dignity in defeat, with Bob Catterall making 120 in their second-innings 390. Maurice Tate and Herbert Sutcliffe made their England debuts in this Test.
Birth of an Australian opening batter. Ed Cowan made a name for himself as a thoughtful cricketer and as someone who has sought opportunities beyond the mainstream (in 2010 he kept himself busy by playing club cricket in the Netherlands and one-day cricket for Scotland in the county competition). He made his Test debut in the 2011-12 Boxing Day Test against India, scored a half-century in the match and another in Perth later in the series. After a low-scoring tour of West Indies, Cowan started the 2012-12 Australian summer with his maiden Test hundred, against South Africa in Brisbane. But after a string of starts that weren't converted to big scores, Australia dropped him during the 2013 Ashes.
Other birthdays
1961 Robbie Kerr (Australia)
1963 Mohsin Kamal (Pakistan)
1969 Nehemiah Perry (West Indies)
1982 Laura Spragg (England)