May 25 down the years

Gimme some Kagiso

Four Indian batters inched towards the first-wicket record in Tests

Kagiso Rabada booked his place on the honours board with five first-innings wickets, England vs South Africa, 1st LV= Insurance Test, Lord's, day 2, August 18, 2022

Kagiso Rabada: a South African spearhead  •  Getty Images

The birth of Kagiso Rabada, another in a long line of fine fast bowlers to emerge from South Africa. He was South Africa's highest wicket-taker in their victorious Under-19 World Cup campaign in 2014 and by the end of 2015, Rabada had broken into the national side in all formats, and the records kept coming. He had the best figures by an ODI debutant, 6 for 16, including a hat-trick. Then, against England in 2015-16, he became the youngest South African to take ten wickets in a Test. By then it was clear that Rabada would be one of the first names on South Africa's team sheet for years to come (at least when his habit of giving batters send-offs didn't get him into trouble). In his first 28 Tests, he took four ten-wicket hauls, joint second-most among South Africa bowlers. In 2020 he became the third-fastest bowler (in terms of balls bowled) to get to 200 Test wickets, and his strike rate of 40.8 was the best of the lot. He reached 250 two years later during an innings victory at Lord's.
The first instance in Tests of the top four scoring centuries in an innings - and, by a strange quirk, of the top four coming close to breaking the record for the first wicket. Wasim Jaffer and Dinesh Karthik added 175 on day one of the second Test against Bangladesh, in Dhaka, before Karthik retired hurt with cramps. Then at 281, still without the loss of a wicket, Jaffer was also taken off with cramps, and Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar batted till stumps for 326 for 0. On day two Dravid fell, India's first wicket, when they needed six runs to break the opening-stand record of 413 set by Pankaj Roy and Vinoo Mankad. Karthik returned to get his maiden century.
England pulled off a hard-fought win against New Zealand at Lord's. The Test, the first of two in the series, followed England's first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup, Peter Moores being sacked for a second time as coach, and much commotion over Kevin Pietersen's continued exile. New Zealand, coming off a stirring march to the World Cup final, proceeded to reduce England to 30 for 4 after choosing to bowl. England recovered to 389, but the visitors, led by a century from Kane Williamson, piled up 523. The tables were turned, though, on a fabulous day four, as the under-fire captain, Alastair Cook, focused intensely for 162 and Ben Stokes smoked England's second-fastest Test hundred. On the final day, after a bit of defiance from Williamson and BJ Watling, Stokes produced another key play with two wickets in two balls, helping England seal a memorable win.
Early in his Test career, Robert Croft, who was born in Morriston, Wales, today, looked the part. On his first tour, in 1996-97, he took 18 wickets in four Tests in Zimbabwe and New Zealand, including a match-winning hand in Christchurch. But in 1997, Australia's batter, Greg Blewett excepted, nullified him completely, and Glenn McGrath reduced his once-useful lower-order batting to a quivering mess. Croft returned to save a Test with the bat against South Africa at Old Trafford in 1998, and helped win the series in Sri Lanka in 2000-01. But he slipped down the pecking order after deciding not to tour India in 2001-02, and never really regained the selectors' confidence.
Birth of the brilliant New South Wales batter Alan Kippax, who played 22 Tests for Australia. He was a glorious strokemaker who specialised in the late cut, and he made two Test centuries, an even 100 against England at the MCG in 1928-29, and 146 in West Indies' first Test against Australia, in Adelaide in 1930-31. In 61 Sheffield Shield matches for NSW he cracked 6096 runs at an average of over 70. That included the highest tenth-wicket partnership in first-class history: against Queensland in Sydney in 1927-28, Kippax and Hal Hooker added 307 in only five hours. Kippax made 240 of them. He died in his native Sydney in 1972.
Who said Devon Malcolm sprayed it all over the place? At The Oval on this day he had a storming one-day international debut as England beat New Zealand by six wickets and took the Texaco Trophy on run rate. Malcolm's figures - 11-5-19-2, in an otherwise high-scoring game, included 28 consecutive scoreless deliveries to his old Derbyshire team-mate John Wright. Malcolm wasn't trusted at the best of times, though, let alone in the one-day arena, and he only played ten ODIs.
An unsung hero is born. Rusi Surti made no Test centuries and took only one five-for, but he was a useful allrounder who played 26 Tests for India in the 1960s. He was an aggressive left-hand batter who batted as high as No. 2 and as low as No. 10. His highest score was a tantalising 99 - during which he was missed twice on 99 and then caught off Gary Bartlett - against New Zealand in Auckland in 1967-68. Surti flitted between medium pace and slow left-arm, and though he sometimes struggled to penetrate, he did take 5 for 74 against Australia in Adelaide in 1967-68. He died at the age of 76 in Mumbai after suffering a massive stroke.
The first Australian team ever to visit England began their first match, against Surrey Gentlemen. The Australian side were led by Charles Lawrence, who had earlier played for both Surrey and Middlesex. Surrey won by an innings and 7 runs, or - as the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack of 1869 recorded it - "in one innings by 7 runs".
A fourth consecutive first-class hundred for Allan Border in Australia's tour match at Derbyshire. He started his trip with centuries against Somerset, Worcestershire and MCC, and though he continued his sensational run - Border top-scored in the first two one-day internationals that followed this match, and made a match-winning 196 at Lord's - it was a humbling tour for the Aussies, who surrendered the Ashes with a 3-1 defeat.
Other birthdays
1874 Lebrun Constantine (West Indies)
1949 Lalith Kaluperama (Sri Lanka)
1957 Peter Rawson (Zimbabwe)
1962 Zulqarnain (Pakistan)
1965 Sue Metcalfe (England)