All Today's Yesterdays - May 25 down the years

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 matchwinning hand at Christchurch, as a succession of Kiwi batsmen queued up to slice his arm ball to slip. But Australia did a job on him in 1997: the batsmen, 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 last winter, and his career figures - 14 wickets at 68 in England; 35 at 24 overseas - not to mention his Aussie-phobia, mean he is unlikely to be called upon in the near future. An ardent Welsh patriot, Croft justified his selection for England by comparing the side to the British Lions in rugby.

Birth of the brilliant New South Wales batsman Alan Kippax, who played 22 Tests for Australia. He was a glorious strokemaker who specialised in the late-cut. 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, at 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 at 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 in the process 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 10 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-handed batsman who batted as high as No. 2 and as low as No. 10. His highest score was a tantalising 99 - when he was missed twice on 99 and then caught off Gary Bartlett - against New Zealand at 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 at Adelaide in 1967-68.

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 tour with centuries against Somerset, Worcestershire and MCC, and though he continued his sensational run - Border top-scored in the first two one-day internationals which followed this match, and made a matchwinning 196 at Lord's - it was a humbling tour for the Aussies, who surrendered the Ashes with a 3-1 defeat.

Other birthdays
1949 Lalith Kaluperuma (Sri Lanka)
1957 Peter Rawson (Zimbabwe)
1962 Zulqarnain (Pakistan)