A brief history

Australia v West Indies

Martin Williamson and Will Luke

February 16, 2008

Text size: A | A

All-time statistics


George Headley's 105 took West Indies to their first win over Australia © AFP
Enlarge
 

1930-31 in Australia
In spite of their inexperience and the renown of Don Bradman, the West Indians were far from apprehensive on their first tour Down Under. They had three formidable fast bowlers and a great batsman in George Headley. They hoped for fast pitches, improvement from their lesser known players, and that their fallible slip-catching, one of the failings of their 1928 tour of England, had been repaired. But they were in for a disappointment. The fast pitches they had been expecting were not forthcoming and the legspin of Clarrie Grimmett proved the decisive factor in the first Test. West Indies were caught on a wet pitch at Sydney in the second Test and beaten by an innings. A second-wicket stand of 229 and an innings of 223 by Bradman started them on the road to another innings defeat at Brisbane, though Headley made 102 not out in a total of 193. At Melbourne, Bradman made 152 after Bert Ironmonger (7 for 23) and Grimmett had bowled West Indies out for 99 and they lost by an innings again. At the end of this gloomy first tour there was, however, one ray of light. In the last Test, at Sydney, West Indies found a faster pitch that was affected by rain more than once. They batted first, scoring 350 for 6 through 123 not out by F. R. Martin and 105 by Headley. Grant was able to declare twice when it suited him, and with his fast bowlers enjoying a damp, lively pitch, West Indies won their first victory over Australia by 30 runs.
Australia 4 West Indies 1

1951-52 in Australia
West Indian cricket had made big advances since their first tour and Australia were still strong, retaining the bulk of the great 1948 side, but Bradman had retired. However, the result was another massive disappointment, and the damage was done by the Australian fast bowlers, Ray Lindwall, Keith Miller, and Bill Johnston. Sonny Ramadhin was not a force on Australian pitches, though the left-arm spinner Alf Valentine took 24 Test wickets at 28. The downfall of the three `Ws' was complete, for Frank Worrell averaged only 33, Everton Weekes 24, and Clyde Walcott 14. Their performance was typical of the general inability of John Goddard's side to adapt themselves. Australia won the first Test only by three wickets, but Lindsay Hassett and Miller made hundreds in the second, which was won by seven wickets. By now the West Indian batsmen were in trouble against the pace of Lindwall and Miller, but their luck changed temporarily over Christmas at Adelaide. The third Test there began on a wet pitch, and Gerry Gomez, Worrell (6 for 38), and Goddard bowled Australia out for 82. Before the end of the first day West Indies had in turn been bowled out for 105 and Australia had lost two second innings wickets. On the third day, Christmas Day, West Indies needed 233 to win, and with Australia not holding their chances, they won by six wickets. Australia clinched the rubber with a thrilling win by one wicket at Melbourne. No innings total exceeded 300, and Australia needed 260 to win in the last innings on a pitch taking some spin. A brilliant innings of 102 by Hassett, the Australian captain, took Australia a long way towards victory, and though the the odds always seemed to be slightly on West Indies, a last-wicket stand of 38 between Doug Ring and Bill Johnston, who took advantage of questionable field-placing, won the match. After their narrow escape, Australia won the last Test easily.
Australia 4 West Indies 1

1954-55 in West Indies
Australia's first visit to the Caribbean was made immediately after they had lost a home series against Len Hutton's England team. The tour came usually late in the West Indian season, from March to June, and the Australians were highly popular. They also made a lot of runs, Neil Harvey and Keith Miller making three Test hundreds each. For West Indies Clyde Walcott made no less than five, including one in each innings of the second and fifth Tests. But the spin of Richie Benaud and Ian Johnson, plus the fast bowling of Lindwall and Miller, was too much for the other West Indian batsmen. Australia easily won the first, third and fifth Tests and had the better of two draws in between. Injury prevented Jeff Stollmeyer from captaining West Indies for more than two Tests, a serious loss, though his deputy Dennis Atkinson shared in a remarkable world record for the seventh wicket, adding 347 with C. Depeiza (122) at Bridgetown in the fourth Test. They batted more than a day together, and Atkinson scored 219.
West Indies 0 Australia 3 Drawn 2


Richie Benaud led Australia to a 2-1 victories in one of the greatest ever series © The Cricketer International
Enlarge
 

1960-61 in Australia
This was one of the greatest series ever, although it got off to a quiet start . Australia, under Richie Benaud, were on the crest of a wave and West Indies were climbing back after the failure of 1957 in England. Frank Worrell had taken over the captaincy from Gerry Alexander. Defeats in two tour matches meant few believed West Indies would fare well, but at Brisbane they started with 453 - Garry Sobers 132 - but Norman O'Neill scored 181 and Australia led by 52 on the first innings. Alan Davidson, then in his prime as an all-rounder, bowled well in West Indies' second innings, and Australia eventually needed 233 to win at 45 an hour. When they were 92-6, they looked beaten but a rousing partnership developed between Davidson (80) and Benaud (52). When it had added 134 and only 7 runs were needed, the match seemed over. Wes Hall slowed up the advance by taking the new ball when 27 were needed in 30 minutes, and with this in mind Benaud was encouraged to call for a quick single. Davidson became the first of three batsmen run out--by a throw from Joe Solomon at midwicket. As it proved, there was time for only man, came in with the scores level and two balls to go. He hit the first towards square-leg and Ian Meckiff, who had been backing up fast, seemed certain to get home. But Solomon again threw down the wicket, this time with only one stump in view, and the match went into history as the first tied Test. This set the tone for all that followed. Public interest had been won to an unparalleled degree, and most of the cricket did not disappoint the big crowds. West Indies, not at their best in the second Test, also had the worse of the wicket, and Australia won by seven wickets. At Sydney, after Sobers had played a brilliant innings of 168 on the first day, Lance Gibbs took the first three of his eight wickets in the match and West Indies won a substantial first-innings lead. This was soon extended, thanks to wicketkeeper Gerry Alexander's 108. Gibbs, Valentine, and Sobers bowled Australia out in the last innings on a pitch taking spin and West Indies won by 222 runs. At Adelaide, West Indies seemed certain to go 2-1 up Rohan Kanhai scoring two hundreds in the match, and when Australia batted Lance Gibbs took a hat-trick. Worrell left Australia to make 460 in 61 hours and at 31 for 3 their chances seemed slim. By tea they were slimmer still, and the ninth wicket fell with 110 minutes left. But with runs of no importance, Ken Mackay and Kline played out time and Australia earned a draw. It all came down to the last Test at Melbourne. On the first day, Benaud put West Indies in, and when, on the second day, Bobby Simpson and Colin McDonald made 146 before a world record crowd of over 90,000 all appeared to be going to Australian plans. But Gibbs and Sobers worked through the batting to restore a balance fascinatingly maintained almost throughout the match, until Australia, needing 258, got home by two wickets and won.
Australia 2 West Indies 1, Tie 1 Drawn 1

1964-65 in West Indies
The series was a disappointment. West Indies were clearly the better side, winning two of the first three Tests. But the series was marred by Australian criticism of the dubious bowling action of Charlie Griffith. In the fourth Test in Barbados, Australia made 650 for 6, Bill Lawry (210) and Bobby Simpson (201) beginning the match with a stand of 382 that did not end until well into the second day. But they could not win, and it was in different conditions that they won at Port of Spain by 10 wickets with three days to spare. Though West Indies batted first, Australia adapted themselves better by far to a pitch of eccentric bounce.
West Indies 2 Australia 1 Drawn 2

1968-69 in Australia
This tour was eagerly anticipated, but West Indies were on the wane and Hall and Griffith were over the hill. West Indies began by winning the first Test on a pitch that deteriorated, but thereafter the batting of Lawry (667 runs), Ian Chappell (548), and Doug Walters (699) was too powerful. Australia won comfortable victories in the second and third Tests and came close to successfully chase 360 in five hours in the fourth. When they were 304 for 3 they seemed likely to do it but four run-outs upset them and they eventually survived with their last pair at the crease. They easily won the last Test.
Australia 3 West Indies 1 Drawn 1


Dennis Lillee dismisses Gordon Greenidge © The Cricketer International
Enlarge
 

1972-73 in West Indies
It hardly seemed possible for Australia to win a series in the West Indies without any contribution from Dennis Lillee and Bob Massie who had developed into such a formidable combination against England a few months earlier, and without the services of Ashley Mallett, their offspinner, who was unavailable for the tour. In spite of all this Ian Chappell's side won impressively, beating the West Indies in the third and fourth Test matches at Port of Spain and Georgetown respectively. Australia won as much as anything because of the strength and the nature of their temperament which both collectively and individually refuses to accept defeat until it has become a fact. On the other hand it was the temperamental deficiencies of the West Indies players which contributed more to their defeat than any technical inadequacies.
West Indies 2 Australia 0 Drawn 3

1975-76 in Australia
When Australia's intended tour to South Africa was cancelled, the West Indies Board of Control agreed to send a side to Australia to play six Test Matches, two years before their next scheduled visit. With Jeff Thomson and Dennis Lillee on one side and Andy Roberts and several other fast bowlers on the other, it was obviously going to be a trial of strength between the two best international sides of the time. When, in June 1975, the West Indies beat Australia by 17 runs at Lord's in the Prudential Cup Final, the anticipation of this series was heightened considerably. As it happened, in spite of the best possible start, for Australia and the West Indies each won one of the first two Tests, it turned out to be a sad anti-climax, Australia winning 5-1. Man for man the West Indies side in Australia was at least as talented as Australia's. The difference lay in their response to pressure and in their respective abilities to work out what was required of them if they were to win an extremely exacting series. Australia won easily because they were better led, they were tougher opponents when the pressure was on, they were admirably single-minded about the job of winning and their cricket was far more disciplined.
Tests: Australia 5 West Indies 1
ODIs: Australia 1 West Indies 0

1977-78 in West Indies
Australia's fourth tour of the West Indies was depressingly dominated more by events off the field than on them. The inauguration of Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket, which had created such chaos throughout the cricket world, had considerable influence over the series. The Australian board adamantly refused to select any of the Packer players, with the result that they sent a young and inexperienced party under the captaincy of the veteran Bobby Simpson, recalled from retirement to lead his country in the earlier series against India. The West Indies board, on the other hand, decided they would choose players contracted to WSC on the grounds that they had never refused to play for their country and had now made themselves available. With the two teams thus constituted, West Indies proved far superior in the first two Tests, which they won by large margins inside three days. By the end of the second Test, however, it was clear that relations between the board and the Packer players were becoming strained. Thye situation reached a head and the WICB dropped all the WSC players and selected a new side, led by Alvin Kallicharran, with the result the rest of the series was far more even.
Tests: West Indies 3 Australia 1 Drawn 1
ODIs: West Indies 1 Australia 1

1979-80 in Australia
West Indies achieved an historic and satisfying triumph over Australia in their three-match series that formed part of an unusual and revolutionary season for that country in 1979-80. In five previous tours of Australia, West Indies had always been the losers, defeat often so great as to amount to humiliation. This time they were not to be denied, converting their clear superiority over Australia into massive victories in the last two Tests after the first had been drawn. The result was especially pleasing as this team included nine of those who had endured the 5-1 drubbing four years earlier, captain Lloyd and vice-captain Deryck Murray among them. However, they were well prepared, all but six of the party having been members of the World Series Cricket West Indies squad which had played in Australia over the two previous seasons.
Australia 0 West Indies 2 Drawn 1
ODIs: Australia 3 West Indies 1

1981-82 in Australia
There was evidence during their tour of Australia that the powers of Clive Lloyd's West Indian side had begun to decline. Although they won the triangular Benson and Hedges limited-overs competition with something to spare, they were less convincing in the series of three Test matches against Australia, which they drew one-all. The success of Lloyd's side over the last few years has centred round their great fast bowling strength. They have continually been able to field sides containing four fast bowlers, Roberts, Holding, Croft and Garner, with Marshall and sometimes Clarke in reserve. Yet in Australia, on several occasions, they were no longer so effective, failing to finish off an innings when the first three or four wickets had fallen cheaply. Advancing years may be one of the reasons for this. Another, almost certainly, is that the side has been spoiled by its own remarkable success. In Australia the players no longer had, perhaps, the same biting urge to succeed. There was evidence of this in the batting as well as the bowling. Richards, for such an exceptional player, did not have an outstanding tour. Often he would come in and start trying to hit the ball to all parts of the ground without bothering to play himself in. Greenidge, handicapped for much of the time by a knee injury, was another who did not go on to make big scores, and Haynes was a disappointment.
Tests: Australia 1 West Indies 1 Drawn 1
ODIs: Australia 3 West Indies 6

1983-84 in West Indies
Australia's fifth tour of the West Indies, their first since 1978 when their team was much weakened by the absence of players contracted to World Series Cricket, was a disastrous one. They were comprehensively beaten in the last three Tests, after just managing to hold out for draws in the first two, and lost the one day internationals 3-1. They also lost friends through a number of unsavoury incidents. An outstanding West Indies team started the series immediately after returning from highly successful visits to India and Australia. Against a team described by their captain, Kim Hughes, at the end of the tour as "the strongest, most professional and most disciplined" he has played against, Australia needed to be at full strength. As it was, they were outplayed in every department of the game, sometimes embarrassingly so. West Indies went through the five Tests without losing a single second-innings wicket, and only the loss of significant amounts of play to the weather denied them victories in the first two Tests. Only once were they dismissed for fewer than 300, they passed 500 once and 450 twice; and five of their batsmen had centuries, two by one of the younger players, Ritchie Richardson.
Tests: West Indies 3 Australia 0 Drawn 2
ODIs: West Indies 3 Australia 1

1984-85 in Australia
Although this was the fourth time that the West Indians had toured Australia in six seasons since the disbanding of World Series Cricket, it was the first full Test series in Australia since 1975-76 when West Indies were hammered 5-1. It was, therefore, cause for considerable satisfaction for Clive Lloyd and those players who had survived the débâcle nine seasons earlier - his vice-captain, Vivian Richards, Gordon Greenidge and Michael Holding - that the roles were reversed this time. Lloyd, in the farewell series of an illustrious career, could enjoy fully the sweeping triumph of his powerful team which won the first three Tests by wide margins, would almost certainly have won the fourth but for a delayed declaration, and had its record tarnished only by defeat in the last. It was Australia who now endured the traumatic effects of a heavy defeat, their captain, Kim Hughes, resigning after two Tests under the pressure of constant criticism, and their selectors using no fewer than 19 players in the series.
Tests: Australia 1 West Indies 3 Drawn 1
ODIs: Australia 1 West Indies 7

1988-89 in Australia
So effectively, at times irresistibly, did Vivian Richards's West Indian side play in the first three Test matches in Australia that by the New Year they had already retained the Frank Worrell Trophy. For the Second and Third Tests, at Perth and Melbourne, they found conditions ideally suited to their four-pronged fast attack. Confident of giving a good account of themselves when the First Test match started, Australia soon found the bowling of Malcolm Marshall, Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose and Patrick Patterson more than they had bargained for. By the end of the Third Test they had not only lost the series; their batsmen, by then, were in a state of nervous disorder. Almost three weeks of one-day cricket followed, during which the regulations protected Australia's batsmen from the surfeit of punishingly short bowling which had so disconcerted them. But for rain in the last of the one-day finals in Sydney (for which Australia and West Indies qualified ahead of the third side, Pakistan), Australia would very likely have won the World Series Cup.
Tests: Australia 1 West Indies 3 Drawn 1
ODIs: Australia 3 West Indies 4

1990-91 in West Indies
Australia's sixth tour of the West Indies began with exalted expectations of an epic contest between arguably the two strongest teams in the game. That in the event such hopes were unrealised was due to several factors. First of all, unseasonal rain - combined in Jamaica with inefficient covering of the square - reduced the First and Third Tests by at least a day and a half each, leaving them as the only two draws of the series. And secondly, in reasserting their long-held paramouncy in Test cricket, West Indies won the Second and Fourth Tests by irrefutable margins, so deciding the rubber before the final match in Antigua, where Australia gained belated consolation with their first Test victory in the Caribbean since April 1978. However, West Indies' victory in the Second Test was somewhat devalued by the bizarre and incorrect run-out decision against the Australian batsman, Dean Jones, following a no-ball.
Tests: West Indies 2 Australia 1 Drawn 1
ODI: WEst Indies 1 Australia 4

1992-93 in Australia
A fledgling West Indian team, under a captain in his first full series, showed great resilience in winning the new Frank Worell Trophy - the original had disappeared - and adding yet another World Series Cup to their collection. When Australia won the Second Test at Melbourne comfortably by 139 runs, having only just been denied victory in the First, and then amassed over 500 in their first innings of the Third at Sydney before removing the openers for 31, West Indies faced a stern test of character. An extraordinary double-century by the left-hander Brian Lara, assessed by many reputable judges as one of the finest innings of the modern era, revived them. Lara's 277, the fourth-highest Test score by a West Indian, and his third-wicket partnership of 293 with Richardson led to a total of 606, undermined Australia's confidence and proved the turning point in the series. After securing a draw in Sydney, West Indies won every match: the final two Tests to take the series 2-1 and four consecutive World Series Cup games, including the two finals against Australia. A heart-stopping victory by one run, Test cricket's narrowest margin, in an unusually low-scoring match at Adelaide levelled the series. And as they had done in each of their three previous Tests in Perth, they overwhelmed their opponents on a characteristically fast and bouncy pitch.
Tests: Australia 1 West Indies 2 Drawn 2
ODIs: Australia 2 West Indies 4

1994-95 in West Indies
On May 3, 1995, the great wall crashed at last. After 15 years and 29 series, world cricket's longest-lasting dynasty was overthrown by the relentless, underestimated Australians - the most distinguished run of triumphant success gone with the Windies. The last time West Indies lost a series was in March 1980, when Clive Lloyd's tourists lost to Geoff Howarth's New Zealanders. Since then, they had won 20 and drawn nine (including two one-off Tests). Against Australia, the West Indians had won seven and drawn one since their defeat in 1975-76. It was 1972-73 when the last visiting team, Ian Chappell's Australians, had won a series in the Caribbean. Mark Taylor led Australia to victory by 2-1, despite losing all four tosses. They had other problems: two leading pace bowlers, Craig McDermott and Damien Fleming, missed the series after injuries; only two batsmen - the Waugh twins - averaged over 26; the Australians had been thumped 4-1 in the one-day games; and during the first Test, Australian coach Bob Simpson developed a blood clot in his left leg and was admitted to hospital.
Tests: West Indies 1 Australia 2 Drawn 2
ODIs: West Indies 4 Australia 1

1996-97 in Australia
As Mark Taylor hoisted the Frank Worrell Trophy again after an overwhelming if inconsequential defeat for Australia in the last Test, the best that could be said of the defending champions was also the least expected of them on their own shores: they won. Many heavy blows had been landed and absorbed by both sides. Taylor himself had such a wretched batting series that his place in the team was in the balance, though his captaincy remained as widely admired as ever. His handling of Michael Bevan, so unorthodox of personality and delivery, when the series was still delicately poised in the fourth Test probably won it for Australia. He became the first Australian captain to win two series against West Indies, though - given the country's cricketing priorities - some of the shine was lost by the team's failure in the one-day competition.
Tests: Australia 3 West Indies 2
ODIs: Australia 2 West Indies 2

1998-99 in West Indies
Any series for the Frank Worrell Trophy is something to savour, but in advance it was impossible to foresee quite how fascinating this one would be. In the months preceding the series, West Indies had been humiliated 5-0 in South Africa, while Australia could have defeated England 5-0 but for a tropical storm in Brisbane and arrogant complacency in Melbourne. Rather than a contest for a prize many Australians now treasure as much as the Ashes, this seemed a mismatch with potentially serious consequences for the game. But these series have developed such importance and proud traditions over three decades that both teams played with an intensity which exhausted all who competed and observed. A squared rubber was a fitting result, although Australia's new captain, Steve Waugh, felt that a tie would have been the most appropriate outcome in Barbados, and that would have given Australia the series. Other, less biased, analysts wondered aloud whether that Test, which West Indies won by one wicket, was the greatest ever played. Certainly, West Indian captain Brian Lara's single-handed orchestration of the match instantly became part of the rich lore of the game. Lara's extraordinary metamorphosis, as a man and leader, breathed new life into the series and, indeed, West Indies cricket. While the seriousness of the problems confronting the game throughout the Caribbean at the end of the 20th century could not be underestimated, Lara showed that, where there is life, there is hope.
Tests: West Indies 2 Australia 2
ODIs: West Indies 3 Australia 3 Tied 1

2000-01 in Australia
Before their landmark triumph in the Caribbean in 1994-95, Australia had beaten West Indies six times in 17 years in Test matches, mostly in dead rubbers. Now they beat them five times in six weeks to register the first clean sweep in series between these countries, though Greg Chappell's Australians won a six-Test series 5-1 in 1975-76, just before the long drought. It was cricket's most graphic example of the boot being on the other foot. Surprisingly, there was little smirking in Australia, and no gloating. The crowds came to celebrate the home team's comprehensive and irresistible brilliance. There was no sense of vengeance, just sadness and emptiness because, in truth, the series was so one-sided as to be dull. Australia won all 15 internationals - Test and one-day - during the summer, making it 30 out of 31 home internationals over two successive summers. These five Test wins were part of a run of 16 successive victories, far eclipsing West Indies' previous world record of 11.
Tests: Australia 5 West Indies 0
ODIs: Australia 6 West Indies 0

2002-03 in West Indies
To follow.
Tests: West Indies 1 Australia 3
ODIs: West Indies 3 Australia 4

Martin Williamson is executive editor of Cricinfo

RSS Feeds: Martin Williamson

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

TopTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
Martin WilliamsonClose
Martin Williamson Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.
News | Features Last 3 days
News | Features Last 3 days
Sponsored Links

Why not you? Read and learn how!