No. 27

Athers falls to Ambrose

West Indies had a small total to defend. They also had Ambi

BC Pires

June 21, 2009

Text size: A | A

Curtly Ambrose traps Mike Atherton first ball for 0, West Indies v England, 3rd Test, Trinidad, March 29, 1994
Ambrose lets his war cry ring out at the Queen's Park Oval © Getty Images
Enlarge
Related Links

Port-of-Spain, 30 March 1994

West Indies were defending a paltry 193 runs with three sessions to play on the last day. England had a point to prove and their resolve appeared strong. In the press box, English cricket writer and erstwhile Somerset captain Peter Roebuck said, "This ought to be England's game". I nodded.

And then Richie Richardson handed Curtly Ambrose the ball. These were the days when West Indian crowds still understood and loved Test cricket, even preferred it to the one-day game, and the Oval went absolutely silent as the ground focused on Ambi's long, loping run-up. With every breath held, every pair of eyes checked to see if Ambrose's back foot fell behind the line, if the ball pitched between wicket and wicket, at what length - it was the last point of "good" before "full" - and we all watched the ball as it skidded, at an incredible pace, into the England captain's pad with a thud heard plainly before the cries went up, first from the fielders, appealing, and then from the crowd, cheering. The ball was so fast, so deadly, the crowd did not need the umpire's finger to begin celebrating raucously.

I turned to Roebuck and said, "I think I have to watch this in the ground." It's not considered polite to scream in the press box.

England were all out for 46, still one run fewer than West Indies' lowest score against them, and the seven extras Ambrose and Courtney Walsh allowed in 19.1 overs outscored every English batsman bar Alec Stewart.

Anyone present at that ground could tell you that the English defeat was secured not with the last ball but with the first. If that was not a magic moment, brother, the word "magic" may as well be stricken from the dictionary.

This article was first published in the print version of Cricinfo Magazine

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

FeedbackTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print

'The man who had a winning impact'

Modern Masters: Rahul Dravid and Sanjay Manjrekar discuss VVS Laxman's match-winning skills

    'If I were a fruit, I'd be an orange'

Jonny Bairstow talks red hair, team-mates to avoid while batting, and what to see in Yorkshire

Once a rat in blue, now the Kohinoor

The Cricket Monthly: Kamran Abbasi hates to love Virat Kohli
Download the app for: iPad | for Android tablet

    A touch of Bradman

Hundred in a session? Easy peasy for Doug Walters. Ashley Mallett on his old team-mate's way with a stroke

It's about anecdotes, not numbers

Jonathan Wilson: Runs and wickets matter little in games involving authors, seminarians and the like. It pays to keep your ears open

News | Features Last 7 days

Youngest double-centurions, and the oldest living Test players

Also, the closest ODI team match-ups, most catches in a T20, and expensive Test debut five-fors

From Constantine to Chanderpaul

As West Indies play their 500th Test, here's an interactive journey through their Test history

Soaring in the 1980s, slumping in the 2000s

In their pomp, West Indies had a 53-13 win-loss record; in their last 99, it is 16-53. That, in a nutshell, shows how steep the decline has been

The contenders to replace Ajmal

Following the bowling ban on Saeed Ajmal, ESPNcricinfo picks five bowlers Pakistan may replace him with for the time being

I got more than I expected - Shastri

ESPNcricinfo spoke to Ravi Shastri, India's new team director, after the conclusion of the tour of England, where MS Dhoni's team lost the Tests, won the ODIs and then lost the only Twenty20 international

News | Features Last 7 days