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Specials – West Indian Test wins in England, Part 5

  The 1988 triumph remains the West Indies’ most recent Test series success on English soil. While honours were even in 1991 and 1995, the decline of the Caribbean outfit became evident with the advent of the 2000s. In the concluding part of this series on West Indian Test victories in England, we cover the last three decades.  

Ambrose helps level the series – Third Test, Trent Bridge, 1991

  The first Test at Headingley had seen England win a Wisden Trophy match at home for the first time since 1969, before the second Test at Lord’s ended in a rain-hit draw.  Captain Graham Gooch and Michael Atherton put on 108 for the opening wicket, but the West Indies bounced back through Curtly Ambrose’s return of 5/74. In response, the West Indies were 45/3 when captain Vivian Richards walked out. 

  In the midst of his final Test series, Richards scored 80 and added 121 for the fifth wicket with Gus Logie (78). Malcolm Marshall (67) built on the gains, guiding the visitors to a lead of 97. Ambrose (3/61), Marshall and Courtney Walsh (4/61) then joined forces to bowl England out for 211, after which Desmond Haynes (57*) and Richie Richardson secured a nine-wicket win with a second-wicket stand of 113*.  

Richardson ton puts the Windies ahead – Fourth Test, Edgbaston, 1991

  Marshall (4/33) and Ambrose (3/64) did the bulk of the damage as England were rolled over for 188 after Richards elected to field. Richardson (104) put the West Indies on top, and though the last six wickets fell for 35, a lead of 104 was ensured. In the second innings, it was the turn of Patrick Patterson (5/81) to take over – the pacer removed debutant Hugh Morris and Atherton with four runs on the board.

  Ambrose netted Graeme Hick soon after to make the score 5/3. England managed to reach 255, but Carl Hooper (55*) and Richards (73*) shared a fourth-wicket stand of 133* to shepherd the chase of 151. England won the final Test at The Oval (which was the swansong of Richards, Marshall and Jeff Dujon) to square the series 2-2. Richardson (495 runs) and Ambrose (28 wickets) were the respective chart-toppers.



England run into Bishop – First Test, Headingley, 1995

  Richardson succeeded Richards as captain in 1991-92, and his first Test in charge in England resulted in a comprehensive win for the West Indies. His opposite number Atherton (81) was the only batsman to show fight, as Ian Bishop (5/32) and Kenny Benjamin (4/60) limited England to 199. The West Indies replied with 282, through half-centuries from Sherwin Campbell (69), Brian Lara (53) and Jimmy Adams (58). 

  There was hardly any respite for England in the second innings either; this time it was the pair of Ambrose (3/44) and Walsh (4/60) who delivered the key blows. There was no real recovery from 82/4, and the West Indies were ultimately set a modest target of 124. Hooper (73*) and Lara (48*) combined for an unbroken second-wicket partnership of 118 at breakneck speed, which completed the chase in just 19 overs.

A three-day demolition – Third Test, Edgbaston, 1995

  The six-match series was poised at 1-1 prior to the start of this third Test. England struggled on a pitch of uneven bounce, and were all out for 147 after Atherton won the toss . Walsh and Bishop took three wickets each, while Ambrose and Benjamin chipped in with two apiece. The West Indies strengthened their position by taking a lead worth 153 , with Campbell (79) and Richardson (69) being the chief run-makers.

  England’s second innings was even worse, as they failed to reach three figures this time. Resuming at 59/3 on the third day, the hosts, who were a batsman short owing to an injury to Alec Stewart, capitulated for a mere 89 in 30 overs in the face of Walsh (5/45) and Bishop (4/29). As was the case in 1991, the series eventually ended in a 2-2 draw. Lara amassed 765 runs at 85.00, while Bishop took 27 wickets at 24.03.  



A productive outing for Walsh – First Test, Edgbaston, 2000

  England’s bid to regain the Wisden Trophy suffered an early jolt, as the West Indies recorded a fourth consecutive Test win at Edgbaston. Though aged 37 and in the twilight of his illustrious career, the tireless Walsh snared 5/36 on the first day to condemn England to 179. Campbell (59) and Lara (50) anchored the top order, after which Shivnarine Chanderpaul (73) and captain Adams (98) provided solidity.

  A breezy 48 from Franklyn Rose down the order further improved the total to 397. Walsh (3/22) and fellow paceman Reon King (3/28) made sure that England were bundled out for 125 in the second dig before the end of the third day. This was to be the West Indies’ high point in the five-Test series, as England bounced back to win 3-1, thus ending a wait of 27 years. Walsh gave his all, taking 34 wickets at just 12.82.  

Hope’s twin centuries – Second Test, Headingley, 2017

  Coming into this the Test, the West Indies had a run of 15 defeats and three draws in their previous 18 Tests in England. Moreover, they were beaten by an innings and 209 runs in the first match at Edgbaston. Pacers Kemar Roach (4/71) and Shannon Gabriel (4/51) impressed, restricting England to 258, before Kraigg Brathwaite (134) and Shai Hope (147) put on 246 for the fourth wicket to steer the West Indies to 427.  

  England appeared to have gained the upper hand by declaring their second innings at 490/8, thereby setting a target of 322 late on the fourth day. But Brathwaite and Hope starred again, this time adding 144 for the third wicket. Though Brathwaite perished for 95, Hope remained not out on 118, seeing the West Indies through to a memorable five-wicket win. England won the decider at Lord’s to seal the rubber.  

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Who Would Have Thought It – Ireland make hay at Lord’s

  It was the moment for which the Irish cricketing fraternity had been waiting for long – a Test match against England on the hallowed turf of Lord’s. When William Porterfield led Ireland out at the Mecca on 24th July 2019, it was a dream come true for the players and the fans alike. Though the Test was scheduled to be of four days instead of the usual five, it was the culmination of years and years of perseverance. 

  Just ten days earlier at the same ground, England had prevailed over New Zealand in an incredible climax to win the World Cup for the first time. This one-off Test against Ireland was perhaps seen by the hosts as a warm-up for the all-important Ashes series that was to follow soon after. However, they had reckoned without Tim Murtagh, the veteran Middlesex seamer who knew Lord’s like the back of his hand.

 Having plied his trade for Middlesex since 2007, the 37-year-old Murtagh found himself in the visitors’ dressing room for a change. A key part of the Irish set-up since he made his international debut in 2012, he had bowled the first ball in his team’s inaugural Test against Pakistan at Malahide in 2018. Not surprisingly, he was given the new ball after Joe Root elected to bat on a surface that had a bit of green.

Tim Murtagh

    Ireland’s Tim Murtagh celebrates the wicket of Moeen Ali, his fifth victim, en route to 5/13 against England at Lord’s in 2019 (source – The Irish Post)

  The sun was shining in all its glory, giving little inkling of the drama that was to unfold. After a few nervy moments, including getting out LBW off a no-ball from fellow debutant Mark Adair, Jason Roy edged the fourth ball of Murtagh’s second over to Paul Stirling at first slip. Like Murtagh, Stirling was a Middlesex player. As had been Ed Joyce, who had the honour of ringing the five-minute bell at the start.

  Joe Denly took four fours in two overs off Adair, even as the London-born Murtagh kept things tight at the other end. It did not dent Ireland though, as it was Adair who had the final say by trapping Denly plumb in front to make it 36/2. In the next over, Rory Burns nicked one from Murtagh into the gloves of Gary Wilson. England were now in a spot of bother at 36/3, and the wheels were just starting to come off.

  The promising Adair netted the big fish with the score at 42, as Root was adjudged out LBW after a successful Irish review. With Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali in the middle, there was hope yet for England to revive the innings. But Murtagh was in no mood to give an inch. Bairstow (bowled) and Chris Woakes (LBW) fell victim to ‘Dial M’ in the space of three deliveries, both for nought. England 42/6, Murtagh 7-2-10-4.

  Many would have expected Murtagh to impress on his county ground, but this exhibition of seam bowling was bordering on the surreal. On course to become the first man to take a Test five-wicket haul for Ireland, he duly achieved the feat by having Moeen – who got a duck too – caught behind. He had now taken three wickets in five balls, and only 44 balls to complete his fifer – the quickest in a Lord’s Test.



  Murtagh’s ninth over was his last, and his final figures read an astonishing  9-2-13-5, thus giving him a place on the coveted honours board. Big Boyd Rankin (2/5) joined in the fun by striking twice in two overs, leaving the score further in tatters at 67/9. Olly Stone, the third debutant of the match, struck a few lusty blows before being cleaned up by Adair (3/32). England were skittled for 85, before lunch at that.

  The innings had lasted just 23.4 overs, making it England’s shortest completed Test innings at home. By any measure, this was one of the most extraordinary sessions of play ever witnessed in Test history. For England, it was nothing short of a catastrophe – this was their third sub-100 total in 16 months. For Ireland, it was akin to a fairytale, with Murtagh’s super show making the occasion all the more special. 

  Disappointingly, the fairytale did not last long. Despite taking a lead of 122, Ireland lost by 143 runs, after being bowled out for just 38 – the lowest Test total in 64 years. Nevertheless, the happenings of 24th July 2019 will forever be etched in golden letters in the annals of Irish cricket. Murtagh retired from international cricket four months later, thus marking the Lord’s Test as his final appearance for Ireland.

Match Scorecard

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Specials – West Indian Test wins in England, Part 4

  The West Indies went from strength to strength as the 1980s rolled on, and England bore the brunt of their firepower more than any other team. In the fourth of this five-part series, we look back at the period when the men in maroon caps reached their peak on English soil.  

Greenidge slays England again – Fourth Test, Old Trafford, 1984

  Gordon Greenidge notched his second double hundred of the series, as he bettered his Lord’s score with a determined 223 that took nine hours and 45 minutes. He rescued the West Indies from 70/4, adding 197 for the fifth wicket with wicketkeeper Jeff Dujon (101) and 170 for the sixth wicket with Winston Davis (77). By the time he was eighth out at 470, England were on the mat. The eventual total was exactly 500.

  England started well through an opening stand of 90, but save for Allan Lamb (100*), none of the batsmen could score substantially, and the innings terminated at 280. Joel Garner picked up 4/51, while Eldine Baptiste contributed with 3/31. As England followed on, it was the off-spin of Roger Harper (6/57) that inflicted the most damage for a change, completing a West Indian win by an innings and 64 runs

A historic blackwash – Fifth Test, The Oval, 1984

  Though the West Indies were all out for 190 (captain Clive Lloyd top-scoring with 60*), they seized a first-innings lead of 28 thanks to Malcolm Marshall (5/35). With over three days still left at this point, Desmond Haynes proceeded to churn out a patient 125, which guided the score from 69/3 towards 346. Michael Holding, in what would be his last Test in England, bagged 5/43 as England slid to defeat by 172 runs.  

  This historic 5-0 ‘blackwash’ thus underlined the quality of the all-conquering West Indian side – never before had England been blanked in a home Test series.  Greenidge finished with 572 runs at 81.71, and was deservedly named as the player of the series. Garner led the wickets table with 29 scalps at 18.62. For good measure, the West Indies achieved another 5-0 sweep in the return series at home in 1985-86.



Logie and Marshall make the difference – Second Test, Lord’s, 1988

  The first Test at Trent Bridge was a rain-affected draw, after which it was business as usual for the West Indies, now with Vivian Richards at the helm. It was England who had the upper hand at the outset, as the visitors nosedived to 54/5. The much-needed revival came through a sixth-wicket stand of 130 between Gus Logie (81) and Dujon (53), before the last five wickets fell for only 25 to end the innings at 209. 

  Marshall was in his element, and handed the West Indies a lead of 44 with figures of 6/32. Greenidge (103) continued his liking for English bowling, while Logie (95*) and Dujon (52) starred again, this time adding 131 for the sixth wicket. These efforts helped the West Indies set a target of 442. Marshall (4/60) duly completed his ten-wicket haul as England were dismissed for 307, despite Lamb scoring a valiant 113. 

Relentless Marshall at it again – Third Test, Old Trafford, 1988

  England crumbled for 135 on the opening day, giving an indication of the direction in which the match was headed. Marshall warmed up by taking the first two wickets, before Courtney Walsh helped himself to 4/46. The West Indies had not exactly taken control when they were 187/5 in response, but Dujon (67) extended his good run with the bat, sharing in a sixth-wicket partnership of 97 with Harper (74).

  Harper added a further 92 for the seventh wicket with Marshall, enabling a declaration at 384/9. Marshall removed Graham Gooch and Mike Gatting early, and England began the final day at 60/3, facing an uphill task to save the game. It did not last long, as Marshall, aided by Curtly Ambrose, destroyed the rest of the batting en route to a career-best 7/22. England capitulated from 73/3 to be shot out for just 93.  



No end to the pace onslaught – Fourth Test, Headingley, 1988

  The beleaguered hosts had a third captain in Chris Cowdrey, after Gatting in the first Test and John Emburey in the next two. They also made six more changes to the eleven that was drubbed at Old Trafford. It mattered little though, as the West Indies clinched the rubber convincingly. Ambrose (4/58), Marshall and Winston Benjamin combined to bundle England out for 201 after Richards elected to field.    

  Haynes, who had not played at Old Trafford due to injury, struck 54 to hold the top order together. England did well to have the score at 210/7, but Harper (56) rallied with the tail to carry the total to 275. Except for Gooch (50), no batsman stood up to the pace quartet in the second innings, which came to a close at 138. Haynes and Dujon (Greenidge sat the match out) sealed a ten-wicket win early on the fifth day.  

The Caribbean reign goes on – Fifth Test, The Oval, 1988

  The captaincy circus continued for England (who ended up trying 23 players in the series), with Gooch being in charge for the final Test. Their batting woes prolonged too, as Marshall, Ambrose and Harper took three wickets each to limit the total to 205. The West Indies wobbled to 57/4 in reply before folding for 183, giving England the rare satisfaction of obtaining a lead. The dependable Dujon top-scored with 64.

  Benjamin (4/52) was the pick of the bowlers as England sought to nudge ahead, but Gooch (who scored 84 and finished the series with 459 runs) again lacked support. The West Indies had over two days to get 226 for victory, which was attained by eight wickets thanks to a stand of 131 between reunited openers Greenidge (77) and Haynes (77*). Marshall was the series’ standout bowler with 35 wickets at just 12.65.

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Specials – West Indian Test wins in England, Part 3

  In the third part of this series, we embark upon the period during which the West Indies firmly established themselves as the undisputed champions of Test cricket. 

Openers star in series-clincher – Fourth Test, Headingley, 1976

  The in-form Gordon Greenidge (115) and the swashbuckling southpaw Roy Fredericks put the English bowling attack to the sword, as the score galloped to 147/0 in 27 overs at lunch on the first day. Their electrifying partnership was broken at 192, when Fredericks was dismissed for 109 off just 124 balls. Vivian Richards (66) and Lawrence Rowe (50) kept up the tempo, and the score at stumps moved to 437/9.

  Replying to 450, England were 80/4 before captain Tony Greig and gloveman Alan Knott scored 116 each to limit the West Indian lead to 63. The visitors managed only 196 in the second innings, with Collis King scoring 58. Needing 260, England were reduced to 23/3 by Andy Roberts (3/41). Greig hit 76*, but Michael Holding (3/44) and Wayne Daniel (3/60) confirmed a series-sealing 55-run victory for the West Indies.  

The Richards and Holding show – Fifth Test, The Oval, 1976

  Having pocketed the series, the West Indies extended the margin to 3-0 with an assertive 231-run win in the final Test. The 24-year-old Richards, who had struck 232 in the first Test at Trent Bridge, smashed a career-best 291 in 386 balls with 38 fours. His innings, aided by fifties from Fredericks (71), Rowe (70), skipper Clive Lloyd (84) and King (63) carried the total to 687/8 – the highest for the West Indies in England.

  The pitch had little for the bowlers, but Holding collected 8/92 in a terrific display, even as Dennis Amiss (203) helped drag England to 435. Fredericks (86*) and Greenidge (85*) then rushed to 182/0, before Holding took 6/57 to give himself a memorable return of 14/149 – he and Roberts both ended the series with 28 wickets. On the batting front, Richards stockpiled 829 runs – a West Indian record – at 118.42. 



A see-sawing battle – First Test, Trent Bridge, 1980

  Roberts was the wrecker-in-chief with 5/72 after Ian Botham, in his first Test as captain, decided to bat first. England lost the last six wickets for only 59 to be bowled out for 263. The West Indies lost Desmond Haynes early, before Greenidge (53) and Richards (64) put together 88 for the second wicket. Wicketkeeper Deryck Murray also scored 64, which contributed towards a crucial lead of 45 for his team.

  England were placed at 174/2 in the second innings, but Joel Garner (4/30), Roberts (3/57) and Malcolm Marshall dismissed them for 252. When the final day began, the West Indies were 109/2 in their chase of 208. Haynes, in his first Test in England, dug in even as wickets fell around him. He was eighth out for 62, but had done enough to ensure a two-wicket win for the West Indies. The next four Tests were all drawn. 

Garner takes nine in innings win – First Test, Edgbaston, 1984

  The West Indies started off yet another series against England on a positive note, with this innings win setting the tone for the rest of the series. Their pace battery, spearheaded by Garner (4/53), was on song from the outset, reducing the score to 49/4. The innings wound up at 191, after which the West Indies lost Greenidge and Haynes with only 35 on the board. Richards joined Larry Gomes at this juncture.

  The pair extinguished English hopes with a third-wicket stand of 206, before Richards perished for 117. Gomes (143) added a further 124 for the fifth wicket with Lloyd (71), and as if this was not enough, Eldine Baptiste (87*) and Holding (69) crashed 150 for the ninth wicket to boost the total to 606. Not surprisingly, England came a cropper with the bat again, folding for 235 thanks to Garner’s haul of 5/55.   

Greenidge’s sensational assault – Second Test, Lord’s, 1984



  Despite an opening stand of 101, England were restricted to a middling 286 after being inserted, with Marshall (6/59) being the pick of the bowlers. The West Indian response was dented by Botham, who finished with 8/103. Though Richards made an attacking 72, he could not stop England from leading by 41. The hosts stumbled to 36/3 in the second innings, but recovered to declare at 300/9 early on the fifth day. 

  Facing a seemingly imposing target of 342, the West Indies rode on a breathtaking innings from Greenidge. The opener hammered 214*, which remains the only double hundred in a successful Test chase. He consumed just 242 balls in a little over five hours, and smashed 29 fours and two sixes. His unbroken second-wicket stand of 287 with Gomes (92*) secured a stunning nine-wicket win in just 66.1 overs. 

Gomes and Marshall ensure series win – Third Test, Headingley, 1984

  Not for the first time, the West Indian bowlers delivered as a unit, as England were bowled out for 270. Holding had figures of 4/70, while Roger Harper (3/47) chipped in with his off-spin to take three vital wickets. The West Indies edged a narrow lead of 32, which they owed to an unbeaten 104 from Gomes, whose eighth-wicket partnership of 82 with Holding (59) injected much-needed impetus in the innings.

  When England were 104/2 in the second innings, the match was on an even keel. However, Harper removed captain David Gower to open the floodgates. Marshall took over thereafter, going on to demolish the rest of the batting on his way to 7/53. England lost their last eight wickets for only 55, before Greenidge and Haynes put on 106 to pave the way for an emphatic eight-wicket victory that settled the series. 

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Specials – West Indian Test wins in England, Part 2

  Having revisited the West Indies’ successes on the 1950 and 1963 tours in the first of this five-part series, we move on further through the 1960s and into the 1970s in the second part.  

Sobers and Gibbs lead a rout – First Test, Old Trafford, 1966

  The West Indies began their defence of the Wisden Trophy with a crushing win under three days. Garfield Sobers succeeded Frank Worrell at the helm, and he led from the front with a stroke-filled 161. He shared in a fifth-wicket stand of 127 with his debutant cousin David Holford, which helped propel the total to a sturdy 484. Earlier, the top order was held together by Conrad Hunte’s assured innings of 135.

  As was the case in the 1963 Old Trafford Test, Lance Gibbs made the English batsmen dance to his tunes. The off-spinner started off with 5/37 in the first innings, ably aided by the leg-spin of Holford (3/34). Following on 317 in arrears, England found it a tall ask to avoid the innings defeat, and were dismissed for 277. Gibbs reached his haul of ten with 5/69, while Sobers did his bit by taking three wickets. 

Butcher bats big – Third Test, Trent Bridge, 1966

  Thanks to a match-saving stand of 274* between Sobers and Holford at Lord’s, the West Indies arrived at Trent Bridge with their lead intact. They lost wickets at regular intervals after deciding to bat, and had to be content with a total of 235. The top-scorer was Seymour Nurse with 93. Sobers and Wes Hall (each of whom took four scalps) reduced England to 13/3 in reply, but the hosts recovered to lead by 90.

  The second innings belonged to Basil Butcher, who turned the game around with a resolute 209*. Batting at number four, he shared in century stands with Rohan Kanhai (63), Nurse (53) and Sobers (94), lifting the total to 482/5. When the final day commenced, England were 30/0. However, led by Charlie Griffith (4/34) and Gibbs (3/83), the West Indian bowlers ensured that their team sealed victory by 139 runs



A captain’s special from Sobers – Fourth Test, Headingley, 1966

  The series was decided in favour of the West Indies with another innings win, the highlight of which was a powerful all-round display from Sobers. England did well to keep the visitors to 154/4 after losing the toss, but Nurse and Sobers put paid to their hopes by adding 265 for the fifth wicket. Sobers dominated the stand, as he rushed to 174 in just four hours. Nurse scored 137 before Sobers declared at 500/9.

  England fell to 49/4 in the face of Hall and Griffith, and then had to contend with the left-arm pace of Sobers (5/41). Though the total improved to 279, the writing was on the wall. Gibbs grabbed 6/39 in the second dig to condemn England to 205, while Sobers snared 3/39. The final scoreline read 3-1 following England’s consolatory win at The Oval. Sobers plundered 722 runs in the series, not to mention his 20 wickets. 

A bag of eleven for Boyce – First Test, The Oval, 1973

  England were the trophy holders, having prevailed in the 1969 edition – this was to be their last series win against the West Indies until 2000. Now led by Kanhai, the islanders slumped to 64/3 before the innings was resurrected through a fourth-wicket partnership of 208 between Clive Lloyd (132) and Alvin Kallicharran (80). Keith Boyce crunched a breezy 72 from number nine, which carried the total to 415.

  With his job with the bat done, Boyce proceeded to unnerve the English batsmen with his pace bowling. His maiden Test five-wicket haul (5/70) in the first innings handed the West Indies a lead of 158, after which Kallicharran struck 80 again to help set a target of 414. He bettered this with 6/77 in the second innings, paving the way for a 158-run win and an important lead in the three-match series for his side.   



England’s biggest defeat to the West Indies – Third Test, Lord’s, 1973

  Still ahead by 1-0 after a draw at Edgbaston, the West Indies regained the Wisden Trophy in emphatic fashion, registering their biggest victory against England. Kanhai’s drove the innings by scoring 157 and putting on 138 for the third wicket with Lloyd (63), before a buccaneering seventh-wicket association of 231 between Sobers (150*) and Bernard Julien (121) rocketed the total to a mountainous 652/8.

  Flattened by the onslaught, England wobbled to 29/3 against the new-ball pair of Vanburn Holder (4/56) and Boyce (4/50) before folding for 233. It was the same story after Kanhai enforced the follow-on; except for Keith Fletcher (86*), no batsman crossed 15. Boyce capped a productive series – he led the charts with 19 wickets – with 4/49, as the West Indies relished a sweet victory by an innings and 226 runs.       

Another record margin – Third Test, Old Trafford, 1976

  The baton of captaincy had passed on to Lloyd in 1974-75. With the five-match series locked at 0-0, the West Indians produced a ruthless performance that signalled their intention to rule the cricketing world. The start was far from ideal though, as the score read a dire 26/4 after Lloyd called correctly. But opener Gordon Greenidge stood tall with a sparkling 134, which was the fulcrum of a total of 211.

  Fiery fast bowling from Andy Roberts (3/22), Michael Holding (5/17) and Wayne Daniel bundled England out for just 71 – the last nine wickets fell for 35.  The West Indies solidified by piling up 411/5, with Greenidge (101) getting his second ton and Vivian Richards scoring 135. Chasing a target of 552, England were all out for 126 (Roberts taking 6/37), giving the West Indies their biggest Test win in terms of runs.

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Specials – West Indian Test wins in England, Part 1

  The much-awaited battle for the Wisden Trophy between England and the West Indies is underway with the first of three Tests at Southampton. Since their first tour back in 1928, the West Indies have played 86 Tests in England, winning 30 and losing 34. Through this five-part series, we look back at each of these 30 victories, which collectively form an integral part of the rich history of West Indian cricket. 

Those two little pals of mine – Second Test, Lord’s, 1950

  After seven defeats and three draws, the West Indies secured a historic maiden Test win in England. Having lost the first Test at Old Trafford by 202 runs, the visitors, led by John Goddard, rode on opener Allan Rae’s 106 to post a competitive 326. Thereafter, off-spinner Sonny Ramadhin and left-arm spinner Alf Valentine took charge  – both had debuted at Old Trafford, with Valentine collecting 11/204.

  The 21-year-old Ramadhin (5/66) and the 20-year-old Valentine (4/48) routed England for 151, after which wicketkeeper Clyde Walcott (168*) enabled a declaration of at 425/6. Left to chase 601, England could only manage 274, again courtesy of Ramadhin (6/86) and Valentine (3/79). Lord Beginner honoured the duo in his Victory Calypso‘With those little pals of mine, Ramadhin and Valentine.’

A Worrell masterclass – Third Test, Trent Bridge, 1950

  The West Indies edged ahead in the series with another commanding win, which revolved around an excellent innings from Frank Worrell. England were reduced to 25/4 by the new-ball pair of Hines Johnson and Worrell on the first morning, before the lower order improved the total to 223. The West Indies responded solidly, with Worrell coming in at 95/2 and sharing in a third-wicket stand of 143 with Rae (68). 

Victory Test Match

     Calypsonian Lord Beginner honoured Sonny Ramadhin and Alf Valentine, heroes of the win at Lord’s in 1950, in Victory Test Match (source – cvinyl.com)

  Worrell upped the ante in the course of adding a further 283 – a West Indian record for the fourth wicket in England – with fellow Bajan Everton Weekes (129), and became the first West Indian to score a Test double hundred in England. He ended up with 261 in 335 minutes, steering the West Indies to 558. England mustered 436 in their second innings (Ramadhin 5/135), but could not prevent defeat by ten wickets.

A seminal success secured – Fourth Test, The Oval, 1950

  Rae (109) and Worrell (138) rose to the occasion, laying the base for a big win with a second-wicket partnership of 172. Gerry Gomez (74) added to England’s woes through a stand of 109 for the sixth wicket with Worrell. These efforts guided the total to 503, to which England replied with 344. Len Hutton carried his bat for a fine  202*, but the rest of the batting wilted against Valentine (4/121) and Goddard (4/25).

  Valentine was relentless as England followed on, snaring 6/39 (Ramadhin chipped in with 3/38) to spur his side to victory by an innings and 56 runs and a 3-1 series triumph.  This was the first time that the West Indies had won three Tests in a row. Worrell was the series’ most productive batsman with a tally of 539 at 89.83, while Valentine and Ramadhin led the bowling charts with 33 and 26 scalps respectively. 

Gibbs reigns supreme – First Test, Old Trafford, 1963

  This was the first series to be played for the Wisden Trophy. Having failed to win a Test on the 1957 tour (England won the five-Test series 3-0), the West Indies signalled their intent from the outset six years later under the captaincy of Worrell. It was opener Conrad Hunte (182) who set the tone, adding 151 for the second wicket with Rohan Kanhai (90) and 120 for the fourth wicket with Garfield Sobers (64). 

  Worrell helped himself to 74* before declaring at 501/8. The English batting was then dented by the off-spin of Lance Gibbs (5/59) – the last five wickets fell for just 15 runs. Trailing by 296, England succumbed to Gibbs’ wiles again while following on, with the tall Guyanese taking 6/98 this time. The West Indies needed exactly one run, and a thumping ten-wicket win was duly sealed after lunch on the fourth day.   



A career-best for Griffith – Fourth Test, Headingley, 1963

  The second Test at Lord’s produced one of the dramatic draws of all time, before England pulled level with a 217-run win at Edgbaston. With two Tests to go, there was all to play for. Kanhai (92) and Sobers (102) rescued the West Indies from 71/3, putting on 143 for the fourth wicket. Joe Solomon (62) provided a further boost to the innings, which terminated at 397. England ran into Charlie Griffith thereafter.

  The Bajan speedster ripped through the hosts’ top order, leaving the score tottering at 34/5 on his way to a career-best return of 6/36. England dragged to 174 eventually, but the game had slipped away from them. Faced with a target of 453, they were bowled out for 231. Gibbs, who had taken three wickets in the first innings, added four more to his kitty, while Griffith and Sobers struck thrice each. 

The first Wisden Trophy holders – Fifth Test, The Oval, 1963

  Griffith continued to be the scourge of England, as he captured 6/71 to help limit England to 275. In reply, the West Indies squandered a strong position of 152/2 to be bowled out for 246, with Hunte scoring 80. With the match now akin to a second-innings shootout, the trio of Sobers, Griffith and Wes Hall (4/39) impressed as a unit to keep their team in the hunt. The target for the West Indies was a challenging 253. 

  However, Hunte (108*) and Kanhai (77) were among the runs once again, as they added 113 for the second wicket to pave the way for a series-clinching eight-wicket win – a fitting Test farewell for Worrell. The leading run-scorer of the series was Kanhai (497), with Hunte (471) not too far behind. Griffith finished with 32 wickets – two fewer than Fred Trueman’s tally – at 16.21 each, while Gibbs netted 26 victims. 

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Record Book – West Indian double-centurions in England

  Many a batsman from the Caribbean have enthralled English crowds with their flair and finesse. From George Headley and Garfield Sobers to Vivian Richards and Brian Lara, some great West Indian names have enjoyed batting in England. Four such batsmen have achieved the distinction of scoring a Test double ton in England, with two of them having done it twice. Here is a look back at those six instances.

261 by Frank Worrell, Third Test, Trent Bridge, 1950

  With the four-Test series at 1-1, Worrell’s innings was the fulcrum of a dominating West Indian win. After England were bowled out for 223, Worrell, batting at number four, put on 143 for the third wicket with Allan Rae and 283 for the fourth wicket with Everton Weekes (129).  He batted for 335 minutes, hitting 35 fours and two sixes. The West Indies piled up 558, and duly won by ten wickets in a chase of 103. 

Viv Richards

        The great Viv Richards amassed 892 runs in his first Test series in England in 1976, including 232 at Trent Bridge and 291 at The Oval (source – Reuters)

209* by Basil Butcher, Third Test, Trent Bridge, 1966

  Despite conceding a first-innings lead of 90, the West Indies emerged victorious by 139 runs to take a 2-0 lead in the five-Test series. The chief architect of this win was Butcher, who came in at 65/2 in the second innings and shared in century stands for the third, fourth and fifth wickets. He faced 416 balls and struck 22 fours during his 461-minute stay, which enabled captain Sobers ( who scored 94) to declare at 482/5. 

232 by Vivian Richards, First Test, Trent Bridge, 1976

  Trent Bridge continued to be the favoured ground for West Indian batsmen to notch big scores, as Richards joined the list in his first Test in England. The Antiguan took charge for 438 minutes, in the course of which he faced 313 balls and hit 31 fours and four sixes. He was fourth out at 408, after having put on 303 with Alvin Kallicharran (97). The West Indies finished at 494, but the match was drawn.

291 by Vivian Richards, Fifth Test, The Oval, 1976

  The West Indies had secured an unassailable 2-0 lead coming into this final Test, but Richards was not done yet – he would finish the series with 892 runs. He bettered his Trent Bridge effort with a career-best show – his 472-minute innings consumed just 386 balls and was studded with 38 fours. The final total swelled to 687/8, after which Michael Holding (14/149) ensured a 231-run win for the visitors.



214* by Gordon Greenidge, Second Test, Lord’s, 1984

  Buoyed by an innings win at Edgbaston, the West Indies rode on a breathtaking innings from Greenidge to make short work of a seemingly imposing target of 342. The Barbadian opener carted the English bowling all around Lord’s, facing just 242 balls in a little over five hours. He smashed 29 fours and two sixes, and his second-wicket stand of 287* with Larry Gomes (92*) completed the chase in just 66.1 overs. 

223 by Gordon Greenidge, Fourth Test, Old Trafford, 1984

  Greenidge scored his second double hundred of the series, which would result in a 5-0 clean sweep for the West Indies. This time he batted for nine hours and 45 minutes for his 425-ball knock, which included 30 fours. He steered the total from 70/4 towards 500, adding 197 for the fifth wicket with Jeff Dujon (101) and 170 for the sixth Winston Davis (77). The West Indies cruised home by an innings and 64 runs.  

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Record Book – Best Test match figures for the West Indies

  So far, there have been 16 instances of a West Indian bowler taking more than ten wickets in a match in Test cricket. In this post, we take a look back at the six best Test match returns by bowlers from the Caribbean.

14/149 by Michael Holding v England, The Oval, 1976

  Having secured an unassailable 2-0 lead, the West Indies continued their dominance with a 231-run win in the fifth and final Test. While Vivian Richards (291) shone with the bat, Holding produced an outstanding performance on a docile pitch. ‘Whispering Death’ captured 8/92 – the first Test eight-for by a West Indian fast bowler – in the first innings and followed it with 6/57 in England’s chase of 435.

13/55 by Courtney Walsh v New Zealand, Wellington, 1994-95

  New Zealand found themselves at the receiving end of a series-winning display from the visiting skipper. After his team had piled up 660/5, Walsh decimated the Kiwi batting en route to 7/37. Not content, he bagged 6/18 in the second dig to inflict a drubbing by an innings and 322 runs on the hosts. These remain the best match bowling figures by a Test captain, as also the best by any bowler in New Zealand.  

13/121 by Shannon Gabriel v Sri Lanka, Gros Islet, 2018

  Gabriel joined his pace-bowling predecessors Holding and Walsh in the select 13-wicket club for the West Indies with a lionhearted show in this drawn encounter. The talented Trinidadian snared 5/59 in the first innings to help limit Sri Lanka to 253, before collecting 8/62 – the third-best figures by a West Indian fast bowler – in the second innings to record the best match figures by a West Indian on home soil.   



12/121 by Andy Roberts v India, Madras, 1974-75 

  Roberts became the first West Indian to scalp 12 wickets in a Test match, but his incisive efforts were not enough to prevent an Indian victory. The Antiguan paceman began with 7/64, even as Gundappa Viswananath’s fine 97* steered India from 76/6 to 190. The West Indies edged a first-innings lead of two runs, but despite Roberts’ 5/57, faced a tough target of 255. India ultimately prevailed by 100 runs.

11/84 by Curtly Ambrose v England, Port of Spain, 1993-94

  Leading the five-match series 2-0, the West Indies ceded a first-innings lead of 76 in this third Test. Ambrose gave a precursor of what was to follow with figures of 5/60. Not for the first time, England bore the brunt of the Antiguan’s pace and bounce, as they were blown away for a paltry 46 in just 19.1 overs in their chase of 194. Bowling in tandem with Walsh, Ambrose grabbed 6/24 to seal a series win for the hosts.  

11/89 by Malcolm Marshall v India, Port of Spain, 1988-89

  Arguably the best West Indian bowler of all time, Marshall took 11 wickets in a Test for the second time, having first achieved the feat against New Zealand at his home ground of Bridgetown in 1984-85. Bowling second change in both innings, the great pace ace shook the Indian batting, first with 5/34 to give his team a lead of 164, and then with 6/55 to ensure a series-clinching 217-run win for the West Indies.