All Today's Yesterdays - May 30 down the years

1909
In Panama, The Black Bradman is born. Sachin Tendulkar's devotees might say otherwise, but most older people agree that George Headley was second only to The Don. Even though West Indies won only five of his 22 Tests, Headley averaged in excess of 60. And in those five victories, his average was a Bradmanesque 95. That included two centuries in West Indies' first-ever victory, against England in Guyana in 1929-30, and a mighty 270 not out, also against England, in Jamaica in 1934-35. He was also West Indies' first black captain, and their oldest player. Headley was 44 when he played his last Test, against England in Jamaica in 1953-54. And, in 1939, he became the first person to score two centuries in a Lord's Test. His son Ron played Test cricket for West Indies, and his grandson Dean for England. George died in Jamaica in 1983.

1949
He may have taken 325 Test wickets and captained England, but the career of Bob Willis, who was born today, will be best remembered for one immortal spell at Headingley in 1981. By rights, Willis shouldn't even have been playing, and he was in the last-chance saloon as Australia chased 130 to take a firm 2-0 grip on the Ashes series. Willis came storming in from the Kirkstall Lane End, his eyes as emotionless and unforgiving as Freddy Krueger's, and destroyed Australia with 8 for 43. When he sealed probably the most famous Test victory of all by castling Ray Bright, he set off on an unforgettably po-faced dash to the pavilion. Willis played 90 Tests in all - 18 as captain - and was England's last world-class fast bowler before Darren Gough. Peculiarly, he took 16 five-fors but no ten-fors. His middle name may have changed - he added Dylan as a tribute to his favourite singer - and his hair colour does so repeatedly, but his mood in the commentary box rarely does: Willis is the curmudgeon of the Sky team.

1983
A fairly dull County Championship match was unfolding at Chelmsford as Surrey dismissed Essex for 287. Then, unbelievably, Surrey were skittled for 14. It could have been worse: Surrey were 8 for 8 - they had been 8 for 3, but Nos 3 to 8 all made ducks - before Sylvester Clarke biffed a boundary. Norbert Phillip took 6 for 4 and Neil Foster 4 for 10, and it remains the only sub-20 total in county cricket since the Second World War. It was swing that did it. There was nothing wrong with the pitch, as Surrey's captain Roger Knight proved the next day with a matchsaving century.

1999
The day England were asked to leave their own World Cup party. About 20 hours before the official World Cup song was released, England slid to a fatal 63-run defeat to India at Edgbaston. It was a match that took on an increasingly sinister air, as what should have been a race for Super Six points became a winner-takes-all clash once Zimbabwe pulled off an unlikely win over South Africa. It was all thoroughly depressing, and England, who went out on run-rate, were left only to clutch at a number of ifs: if Zimbabwe hadn't beaten a South African side that had, up to then, been irresistible; if England themselves hadn't dawdled in completing comfortable victories over Zimbabwe and Kenya; if Javed Akhtar hadn't triggered Graham Thorpe with one of the worst lbw decisions in history ...

1999
On the same day, in the same competition, cricket lost a little bit of its innocence. Australia, and Steve Waugh in particular, staged a deliberate go-slow (12 runs in 10 overs) at the conclusion of a comfortable six-wicket victory over West Indies at Old Trafford. It was designed to enable West Indies to get through at New Zealand's expense, on run-rate. If that happened - which ultimately it didn't - Australia would have taken two extra points to the Super Six stage, having beaten the Windies but lost to New Zealand. A forgettable and depressing match was at least memorable for one thing: the ball of the tournament from Glenn McGrath, an absolute jaffa to bowl Brian Lara.

1879
Birth of the great Charlie Blythe, an artistic slow left-armer who used flight to lure batsmen to their doom. Despite suffering from epilepsy, he took 100 wickets in a season 14 times for Kent. His Test career got off to a slow start, but in his last ten appearances he took a Murali-esque 70 wickets at an average 14, including 11 to beat the Australians at Edgbaston in 1909. He was killed in Belgium during the First World War.

1895
The Sussex allrounder Maurice "Chubby" Tate, who was born today, started life as an offspinner, but after ten years of modest success he repackaged himself as a quick bowler. The results were devastating. He made his Test debut two years later and had a storming start, with 65 wickets in his first 10 matches. His Wisden Almanack obituary described him as "probably the first bowler to deliberately use the seam". He was also good enough with the bat to make a Test hundred, against South Africa at Lord's in 1929. His father Fred also played for England. Maurice died in Wadhurst, Sussex in 1956.

Other birthdays

1892 Ronald Stanyforth (England)
1936 Roy Harford (New Zealand)
1966 Ian Austin (England)
1966 Gary Martin (Zimbabwe)