Background - 1960/61 tied Test

Australian Cricket Board

October 18, 2000

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This Test, the first ever tied Test, has a unique and special place in the history of the game.

Played at the 'Gabba in Brisbane on December 9 - 14, 1960, it was a match that see-sawed in the early stages and looked destined for a draw.

The West Indies had batted first and Garfield Sobers was the pathfinder with one of the finest innings in Australia for years as he plundered 132 on the opening day. The West Indies issued a challenge by scoring 453 in 445 minutes, only to see Australia reply with 505 in 577 minutes, despite being peppered with thunderbolts from speedster Wes Hall.

Australia's answer to Sobers was Norm O'Neill and in a valuable innings he made 181 before being last man out, going for a big hit. Bob Simpson, who just missed a century with 92, also contributed strongly to Australia's first innings lead of 52.

The West Indies were unable to repeat the blazing batting of the first innings, mainly due to a magnificent bowling effort by Alan Davidson, who captured 6/87 to make his tally for the match 11/222 and finished with a total of 284.

Australia had hoped to dismiss the West Indies before stumps on the second last day, but were held up by tailenders Wes Hall and Alf Valentine who kept the bowlers at bay again the following morning as they cut 38 valuable minutes from Australia's batting time.

Australia needed 233 runs to win, but Hall, who had warmed himself up with his batting triumph, had other ideas.

In an action-packed start, the dynamic fast bowler sought to blast his team to victory, and he nearly succeeded. Australian wickets crashed as the score crept to 2/7, then 4/49 and 6/92. The turning point in the game came as Benaud, with his jaw jutting out determinedly, strode in to join Davidson and they both started attacking the West Indies bowlers.

Davidson capped off his wonderful bowling effort with a magnificent 80 before he was run out by the amazingly accurate Joe Solomon, who hit the stumps in the first of two fantastically fatal returns.

Then came one of the most memorable last overs in Test history when Hall strained again to bowl his side to victory.

As he charged in like a wild bull off his long run from near the sight screen for the last over of the game, there were seven wickets down and just six runs needed. The tension was enormous.

The big speedster's first ball struck Wally Grout on the leg, it hurt, but he had no time to worry about it because Benaud called him to run for an audacious single. The second ball was short and reared high, and Benaud, 52, unwound an almighty pull shot in an attempt to hit the ball out of the ground. He got a faint edge to 'keeper Gerry Alexander and Australia were 8/288, still with five runs to get and six balls left to score from.

Ian Meckiff joined Grout. He blocked the third ball, made a big swipe at the fourth and missed, but Grout called him to run a quick single. Four runs were needed with four balls to go as Grout top-edged a hook shot in the air on the on-side. Four players converged on the ball, with Rohan Kanhai in a comfortable position to take the catch, but Hall had charged towards square leg from his follow - through and Kanhai dodged out of the way as Hall got his hands to the ball, but spilt it as the batsmen scampered for a single.

Hall's next ball was short and Meckiff unleashed a hook which sailed over mid-wicket, but as they attempted a third run Grout was run out by a sizzling return from near the boundary by Conrad Hunte. The scores were level.

Australia had one wicket left, one run to get and two balls in hand when Lindsay Kline joined Meckiff, and in a desperate mid-wicket conference they decided to run for anything.

Kline got his bat to Hall's seventh ball, playing it towards forward square leg with Joe Solomon patrolling the area. Meckiff would have made the winning run if Solomon had cracked under the pressure, but he pounced on the ball and unleashed another straight return from side-on to hit the stumps.

Australia were all out for 232, but amidst all the excitement at the time many of the players and spectators were confused about the result ... it was the first tie after 498 Test matches.

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© 2000 Australian Cricket Board

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