All Today's Yesterdays -June 3 down the years

Birth of probably the greatest left-arm fast bowler in history. Wasim Akram was at the top for almost 20 years, in which time his famous whippy action brought him a record 916 international wickets for Pakistan. His feats are numerous: four wickets in five balls against West Indies at Lahore in 1990-91, two Test hat-tricks, and another two in one-day internationals, a brutal 257 against Zimbabwe at Sheikhupura in 1996-97, which contained a Test-record 12 sixes. Oddly, Wasim has taken more ten-fors in Test defeats (three) than any other player. His annus mirabilis came in 1992, when he demolished England with two unforgettable, consecutive deliveries to Allan Lamb and Chris Lewis in the World Cup final at Melbourne, each a definition of unplayable. For good measure, Wasim and Waqar Younis - partners-in-crime but never great friends - then bowled England to defeat in the Test series which followed. Chuck in the film star good looks and Wasim really does have it all. His great career, which also includes sterling work for Lancashire, was tainted only by his alleged involvement in the match-fixing scandal.

Birth of Walter Robins, England's dynamic allrounder who played 16 Tests leading up to the Second World War, and was captain in his last three, against New Zealand in 1937. He made one Test century, against South Africa at Old Trafford in 1935, and two years later was one of the first legspinners to demolish West Indies, with 6 for 32 at Lord's, a ground on which he also took two first-class hat-tricks. He died in London in 1968.

One of New Zealand's finest captains is born. John Reid was in charge for the Kiwis' first three victories at Test level, but he was no Brearley figure: Reid was well worth his place as New Zealand's finest pre-Hadlee allrounder. His averages - 33 with bat and ball - are even more impressive given that the Kiwis won only three of his 58 Tests. In the last of those wins, against South Africa at Port Elizabeth in 1961-62, Reid was heroic, with second-innings figures of 45-27-44-4 as New Zealand won a thriller by 40 runs to square the series. That was a landmark tour for Reid - he averaged 60 with the bat and 19 with the ball. A year later, batting for Wellington against Northern Districts, he whacked 15 sixes in his 296, a first-class record at the time. He later became an ICC match referee.

Many great players have had inauspicious Test debuts - Trumper, Bradman, Donnelly, Hutton, Gooch, Holding, Anwar, Warne - and on this day Imran Khan kicked off his top-level career with 5 runs and 28 wicketless overs against England at Edgbaston.

1976 On the same day, five years on, 34-year-old Mike Brearley was thrown to the West Indian wolves for his debut in the drawn first Test at Trent Bridge. Brearley spent the first two days watching Viv Richards belt 232 ... and then bagged a fifth-ball duck. His fellow new boy and former Middlesex colleague, the adhesive West Indian Larry Gomes, also failed to score.

Birth of Carl Rackemann, Australia's burly, balding fast bowler. He played 12 Tests, and had a storming start with 11 wickets to demolish Pakistan on a Perth flyer in 1983-84. Rackemann liked Perth - against New Zealand there in 1989-90 he returned amazing second-innings figures of 31-21-23-1. His career at the top level was limited by injury and the decision to go on the 1985-86 rebel tour of South Africa. He was a useless batsman, making it all the more galling for England fans when his painful 107-minute 9 went a long way to saving the Sydney Test of 1990-91. That was his last Test, but he was a non-playing member of the side that conquered West Indies in the Caribbean four years later. Rackemann later coached Zimbabwe.

Birth of the first Zimbabwean to face a ball in a Test. Kevin Arnott's first innings - 40 off 176 balls against India at Harare in 1992-93 - said everything about a technically sound batsman who sold his wicket dearly. In one World Cup match against Pakistan in 1992, he made 7 off 61 balls. He played only four Tests, and in the second, against New Zealand at Bulawayo in 1992-93, became the second Zimbabwean to make a Test hundred. His father, Don, played for Rhodesia in the 1950s.

The opening of Fortress Galle. The former Dutch colony became Test cricket's 79th venue when Sri Lanka hosted New Zealand today, and it quickly became a place where touring sides feared to tread. The Kiwis were hammered here by an innings - Mahela Jayawardene smacked 167 in a match where nobody else passed 53 - and in all Sri Lanka have won six out of eight Tests here: three by an innings, two by 10 wickets, and the other by the small matter of 315 runs.

Other birthdays
1906 Norman Gallichan (New Zealand)
1930 Michael Melle (South Africa)
1940 Richard "Prof" Edwards (West Indies)
1951 David Ogilvie (Australia)
1972 Robert Kennedy (New Zealand)
1977 Hasibul Hossain (Bangladesh)