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May 2 down the years

The prince of Trinidad

A legend takes the stage

Brian Lara cuts on his way to a world-record score, West Indies v England, 5th Test, St John's, Antigua, 2nd day, April 17, 1994

375, 400: Brian Lara still holds the record for the highest Test score  •  PA Photos

Brian Lara, who was born today, was one of the game's most exciting batters, and the author of some of the most famous innings of all time: 375, 400 and 501, the highest in Test and first-class history, as well as 213 and 153 not out to single-handedly beat Australia in 1998-99. But his career had its fair share of problems and run-ins with authority, and as a captain he often struggled to inspire colleagues, although he was battling to lead a side in decline. Many hoped he would bow out on a high at the World Cup in the Caribbean, but West Indies were poor and Lara quit as captain amid rumours that he was pushed by the board. He deserved better.
Birth of the studious, systematic England batter and captain Bob Wyatt, who played 40 Tests between 1927-28 and 1936-37. Wyatt, who was comfortable opening or in the middle order, made both his Test centuries against South Africa, at Old Trafford in 1929 and at Trent Bridge six years later. He first led England against Australia at The Oval in 1930, but in all, England won only three matches out of 16 under his stewardship. He was also vice-captain on the Bodyline tour. In fact, Bodyline was first bowled under him in a state game when Douglas Jardine was absent.
Birth of legspinner Yasir Shah, who filled a large hole in Pakistani hearts when Saeed Ajmal was banned for chucking in 2014. Replacing Ajmal in the side for two Tests against Australia, Yasir took 12 wickets, and then 15 more in three Tests against New Zealand, becoming the quickest Pakistan bowler to 50 wickets - in nine matches. In his first 25 Tests, Yasir took match hauls of seven or more wickets 12 times, ten of those in victories - the most famous one coming in 2016 at Lord's, where he took his first ten-wicket haul. In five consecutive Tests in 2017, Yasir picked up eight or more wickets, against West Indies and Sri Lanka. A year later, he picked up a career-best 14 for 184, in an innings victory over New Zealand in Dubai, and a few days later, in his 33rd Test, he broke the record for fastest to 200 wickets. He had less success once Pakistan's home Tests shifted out of UAE and back home, and gradually he got phased out of contention.
Five years after his debut, Carl Hooper finally made his first Test hundred in the Caribbean. And he turned it into a massive unbeaten 178, which included four sixes and came from only 247 balls, as Pakistan suffered in the Antigua sun. He added 106 for the last wicket with Courtney Walsh, manipulating the strike so expertly that Walsh faced only 31 balls in 23 overs. In that time, though, Walsh managed to rub salt into Pakistan's wounds, spanking 30 to equal his Test best.
South African offspinner Johan Botha, born today, made his international debut when Nicky Boje pulled out of a tour of India in 2005-06 due to match-fixing concerns. However, in 2006, shortly after his Test debut, he was reported for having a suspect action and banned from bowling in international cricket by the ICC. Though cleared later, Botha continued to be called for an illegal action over the years. Despite these setbacks, he became a useful limited-overs player, even captaining South Africa in ODIs and T20Is. In 2013, he asked to be released from his national contract so he could take charge of South Australia.
A tragic end to the second ODI between West Indies and South Africa in Antigua, when Craig Edwards, a local man, was stabbed to death after getting involved in an argument with another spectator as they danced in the Double Decker stand.
Australian allrounder Simon O'Donnell thrashed 50 off only 18 balls against Sri Lanka in Sharjah, a one-day record until Sanath Jayasuriya got to work. In all, O'Donnell crashed 74 not out off 29 balls, an innings that included six fours and four sixes, and it was all very infectious: even David Boon belted 30 off just 18 balls.
One of Sri Lanka's first Test-class seamers is born. Ravi Ratnayeke ploughed a fairly lone furrow in the 1980s, and was only on the winning side once in 22 Tests. He was to the fore there, though, taking 5 for 37 in the second innings in Colombo in 1985-86 as Pakistan went down by eight wickets. Ratnayeke had also taken 8 for 83 against the Pakistanis in Sialkot earlier that winter, still the best Test figures by a Sri Lankan not called Muttiah Muralitharan. Ratnayeke could bat too - he was sometimes used as an opener - and made five Test fifties, all of them in his last eight Tests.
Big cricket's first one-day match. Long before the idea to put cricketers in pyjamas was conceived, MCC thrashed Sussex in a day at Lord's to kick off the domestic season. MCC made 105, then Sussex were blown away for 42 and 59.
Other birthdays
1910 Laurie Nash (Australia)
1914 Dennis Dyer (South Africa)
1925 David Ironside (South Africa)
1929 Graham Gedye (New Zealand)
1940 Bryan Davis (West Indies)
1955 Ian Callen (Australia)
1973 Julie Hayes (Australia)