21 and 176 v England, Barbados, 1929-30
A much-anticipated debut
after Headley's impressive showing
against LH Tennyson's touring side to Jamaica. The anticipation rose after he was not picked for West Indies' first-ever Test tour, to England. Now in the first Test of England's return tour, West Indies found themselves trailing by 98 runs in the first innings. Against an attack featuring legendary left-armers of both varieties, Bill Voce and Wilfred Rhodes, Headley scored 176 out of a second innings of 384, which was enough to stall England. In four attempts, this was the first time West Indies came out of a Test undefeated.
114 and 112 v England, Georgetown, 1929-30
After having assured West Indies' first draw, Headley played a major role in their first-ever win, in only his third Test
. Through a 192-run stand with Clifford Roach, who scored a double-century, Headley set up a big first innings. The bowlers did their job, but with his team struggling in the second innings, Headley became the first West Indian to score centuries in each innings of a Test, and bats England out. The result is a 289-run win.
10 and 223 v England, Jamaica, 1929-30
West Indies were level with England going into the last Test of the series, and it was agreed to have a timeless Test
. Andy Sandham became the first man to score a triple-century, as England piled up a massive 849 in the first innings and bowled West Indies out for 286. They chose to not enforce the follow-on, and set West Indies 836 to get. In the face of a near-impossible task, Headley scored 223 in only six-and-a-half hours, hitting 28 fours, taking West Indies to the end of the seventh day. Rain intervened for the next two days, and England were due to return for their home summer next day, letting West Indies finish the series on level terms.
105 and 30 v Australia, Sydney, 1930-31
West Indies' captain, Jackie Grant, made two shrewd declarations on a wet pitch to win the timeless Sydney Test
. And it was made possible by an aggressive Headley, who scored 105 in 146 minutes on the first morning, an innings that made him then the third-quickest to 1000 runs. Grant declared on the second afternoon, with the wet pitch having become difficult under the hot sun and 350 on the board. The move worked, securing them a 12-run lead, and they declared again with only 124 in the second innings, to win by 30 runs. Clarrie Grimmett, the great legspinner, called Headley the strongest on-side player he had bowled against.
44 v England, Barbados, 1934-35
A pitch reportedly unfit for play. Wally Hammond called his 43 and 29 not out in the same Test
the most difficult he had played. In such conditions, where West Indies' first innings of 102 was the highest of all four efforts, Headley scored 44 in two hours, working hard for every run on a wet pitch. Run out thanks to wicketkeeper Cyril Christiani, Headley and West Indies couldn't quite capitalise on the 21-run first-innings lead, reversing their order and losing six wickets in 19 second-innings overs, before declaring and going on to lose by four wickets.
270 not out v England, Jamaica, 1934-35
Back at his home ground, Sabina Park, Headley set up West Indies' first series win against England. In the final Test
, Headley set the pace on the first morning, coming in at 5 for 1. In scoring what was then the highest individual score for a West Indian, and also setting up their highest total, Headley gave a truly wonderful display. He proved himself master of all the strokes in an innings lasting nearly eight hours and a quarter. He figured in two notable partnerships, adding 202 for the third wicket with Derek Sealey and 147 for the seventh with Rolph Grant. Manny Martindale and Learie Connstantine took 13 wickets between them, and Headley didn't need to bat again.
106 and 107 v England, Lord's, 1939
Back to waging lone battles, but this one was a personal triumph, in that Headley became the first man to score two centuries in a Lord's Test
. He received little assistance on the first morning; the occasion demanded discretion, and in the interests of his side he refused to take the slightest risk. Few cricketers watched the ball so closely on to the bat, and most of his strokes were played very late off the back foot. Yet his drives and hooks were extremely powerful, and his strong wrists responsible for some dazzling cuts. Headley scored 106 out of 277, West Indies fell behind by 127, and Headley managed 107 out of 225 in a disappointing second innings.