England v West Indies 1997-2012
If you're going to bat on a cabbage patch, you don't want to be facing Curtley and Courtney. Unfortunately, that's what happened to England at Sabina Park, Kingston, when the first Test had to be abandoned on the first day owing to a dangerous pitch. The Test stood, and the tour was extended to six official matches, West Indies' first six-Test home series. Three close games left them 1-1 with two matches to play, but West Indies pulled away with a crunching 242-run win in the penultimate Test. Then came the most convincing victory of the lot, West Indies winning the last Test at Antigua by an innings and 52 runs to take the honours. Still, the scoreline was a touch deceptive - the sides were evenly matched with West Indies not the force they were, and England on the rise.
Tests: West Indies 3 England 1 Drawn 1
ODIs: West Indies 4 England 1
A new millennium, a new era for the West Indies/England tussles. After 27 years of dominance, West Indies succumbed to England - and a new period of England ascendancy emerged. Quite a turnaround from the previous year when England were booed by their pitiful performance at home in the World Cup. The heroic Curtly and Courtney left the Test stage, and left behind a shambles, made all the more painful as West Indies had arrived hopeful, after beating Zimbabwe and Pakistan at home, and without Lara. Prospects were good when they won the first Test convincingly. But it was the last time, to date, West Indies beat England in a Test. The turning point was in the second Test when they contrived to lose after a first-innings lead of 133, being rolled for 54 - their lowest total against England and a low point indeed. England seized the day and the series, searing on to two more emphatic victories.
Tests: England 3 West Indies 1
ODIs: West Indies 1, England 3, Zimbabwe 3
England had the temerity to enter West Indies' backyard and win the first three matches; their most successful tour there. A draw in the fourth and final Test which included Brian Lara's world-record 400 wasn't enough to spare the home side's blushes and he himself said his innings "was nothing to rant or rave about." Pacy pitches favoured England's quicks who ran through West Indies first up at Kingston, Steve Harmison taking 7 for 12 to wrap up the second innings. Simon Jones and Matthew Hoggard both played a role, too, and England's dominance - "a well-marshalled invading force," said Wisden - was complete.
Tests: West Indies 0 England 3 Drawn 1
ODIS: West Indies 2 England 2 Abandoned 2
England continued to sweep West Indies away, this time on home soil, where they took the series 4-0. "Vaughan's team were beginning to expect to win even when the going was toughest", remarked Wisden in admiration. West Indies had talented youngsters who could not prosper - and their inexperienced pace trio were flayed by England. Problems beset them even before the tour: Sir Viv Richards, the chairman of selectors, also took a TV role and often criticised them - justly, but of no help to their psyche. During the series, Gus Logie's lack of authority as a coach did nothing to help the cause and England took full advantage.
Tests: England 4 West Indies 0
ODIs: England 3 West Indies 2 No result 2
A comfortable series win began England's era under Peter Moores as they took advantage of early-season conditions to trounce a poor West Indies. The only real resistance came from Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who made 446 runs at 148.66, and helped the tourists secure a draw at Lord's and made Old Trafford into a contest. Sandwiched in between was West Indies' heaviest ever defeat, an innings-and-283-run thrashing at Headingley, where Ryan Sidebottom marked his recalled after a gap of six years with eight wickets. Sidebottom starred again at Chester-le-Street, where Paul Collingwood also made a home-ground hundred, and the gap between the two sides was a gulf. However, in the one-day game it was different as West Indies came from one down to take the series as Paul Collingwood's reign began with defeat.
Tests: England 3 West Indies 0
ODIs England 1 West Indies 2
This was West Indies' most significant Test series result since their 2-2 draw against Australia in 1999 as they regained the Wisden Trophy. It was a series dominated as much by off-field issues as the action in the middle. England arriving in the wake of the Kevin Pietersen-Peter Moores double sacking, and one Test abandoned after 10 balls, but the home side confirmed their steady improvement and secured the prize by clinging on with eight wickets down during a gripping final day in Trinidad. However, the performance that ultimately decided the contest arrived on the fourth day at Sabina Park when Jerome Taylor, with 5 for 11, and the tall left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn destroyed England for 51. After the debacle at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium the hastily rearranged Test at the ARG proved a resounding success with Fidel Edwards and Daren Powell blocking out the final 10 overs in fading light. Barbados provided a run-fest as West Indies replied to England's 600 with the small matter of 749, a large portion of that coming from the bat of Ramnaresh Sarwan who continued his momentous series with a career-best 291. Then it came down to Trinidad, which for four days crawled along with bat dominating again and West Indies happy to play for the draw, before Pietersen's final-day century gave England a glimmer. James Anderson and Graeme Swann led the England bowling effort but time ran out and Andrew Strauss began his full-time captaincy reign with defeat. The visitors regained some pride with a heist of the one-day series as Andrew Flintoff returned from another injury to take a hat-trick in the final game.
Tests: West Indies 1 England 0
ODIs: West Indies 2 England 3
West Indies were a belated replacement for Zimbabwe in 2009 and they played like it. The board needed the money - more than $2m - but players and spectators were less grateful for the witheringly cold English spring that greeted them. The outcome was all too predictable: England won the first Test at Lord's by ten wickets within three days and then, after the sides had travelled north to even colder weather in Chester-le-Street, meted out another drubbing, this time by an innings and 83 runs. Add a pre-Test defeat by 10 wickets against England Lions and a 2-0 defeat in the ODIs (the first at Headingley was abandoned, partly because of a drainage system that had not had time to bed in) and there was little cheer for the tourists. No Test series in England had ever begun as early as May 6, the crowds were small and Chris Gayle, who had to interrupt his stint at IPL, looked particularly aggrieved. He turned up 48 hours before the first Test, complained about the cold, suggested he would soon resign from the captaincy and, to cap it all, said he would not mind if Test cricket did not exist. Many pundits argued that he got what he deserved during a tour that signalled his tense relationship with the West Indies board and growing enthusiasm for the Twenty20 circuit. England's new regime - captain Andrew Strauss and Andy Flower, his appointment as director of cricket confirmed - were left to claim a painless victory. Ravi Bopara followed a hundred in Barbados barely two months earlier with further hundreds in both Tests and Graham Onions took five wickets on his Test debut at Lord's. In the ODIs, even Bristol sunshine failed to lift West Indies' performance and when they lost again at Edgbaston, the reputation of Caribbean cricket had barely been lower.
Tests: England 2 West Indies 0
ODIs: England 2 West Indies 0
Nobody held out many hopes for the two Twenty20 internationals played in the last week of September at the fag end of a long English season. They were recognised for what they were: a necessary gesture to broadcasters who expected a replacement in their schedules for the Stanford Super Series which collapsed after the arrest on fraud charges of the Texan financier Sir Allen Stanford. Even the ECB's reasoning that Stuart Broad, a young Twenty20 captain, would benefit from more leadership experience ahead of World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka a year's hence was undermined when Broad withdrew with a shoulder injury, handing over to his Nottinghamshire team-mate Graeme Swann. He captained with characteristic verge and imagination. England cruised the first match by ten wickets with nearly five overs to spare, but Swann was left lamenting "a horror show" when England collapsed to 88 all out, their lowest Twenty20 total to allow the West Indies to square the series. It was a shame there was no decider. Ravi Bopara was the star of the first game. He had only one wicket in 13 Twenty20 internationals, but deceptive changes of pace brought him 4 for 10, England's best T20 figures. Two nights later, England lost three wickets to the St Lucian left-arm spinner Gary Mathurin and had four run-outs. "God works in mysterious ways," Mathurin said as the season finally closed.
Twenty20: England 1 West Indies 1
West Indies' arrival in England for their third tour in six years provided passages of great entertainment, but for all that it was watched by some with a heavy heart. Their squad for a three-Test series was depleted by the financial lure of IPL and even though the likes of Chris Gayle and Darren Bravo arrived belatedly for the limited-overs matches, it could not prevent a winless record on tour. The stand-off between Gayle and the West Indies board hardly assisted the efforts by the coach Ottis Gibson to regain a team spirit that would be the precursor of any long-term improvement in West Indies' fortunes. They pushed England unexpectedly close in the opening Test at Lord's, conceding a first-innings lead of 155 but losing by only five wickets, thanks first to a sterling alliance between Shivnarine Chanderpaul, whose adhesive qualities were well known to England crowds, and Marlon Samuels, whose reputation soared as the tour progressed, and latterly due to some searing fast bowling by Kemar Roach which destroyed England's top order second time around. The second Test at Trent Bridge brought general delight in the shape of a buccaneering maiden Test hundred from the captain Darren Sammy, whose good nature in the face of adversity had endeared him to English crowds. The drawn, rain-ruined final Test at Edgbaston offered up a rumbustious 95 from Tino Best, the highest score at that point by a Test No. 11, and a last-wicket partnership of 143 - only eight short of the Test record - with Denesh Ramdin. Samuels finished the Test series with 386 runs at 96.50 and played well enough to invite wonder that he had not made more of his talent in the 12 years since his Test debut. Andrew Strauss cemented his captaincy with two Test hundreds, but his England side had looked flawed in victory. In the ODIs, England won 2-0 - Headingley was abandoned because of rain - although victory at The Oval was cast into insignificance by the mourning for the tragic death the previous day of the Surrey and England Lions batsman, Tom Maynard. Alex Hales, a crisp front-foot driver, set a new high for England in T20 cricket with 99 in front of his home crowd at Trent Bridge.
Tests: England 2 West Indies 0
ODIs: England 2 West Indies 0
Only T20 won by England