Writers on the best day, session or passage of play they've seen live

West Indies v South Africa, Only Test, Barbados, 1992

'Last day at Kensington Oval always belongs to us'

South Africa need 79 to win but can they get past Wambrose?

Telford Vice

January 24, 2010

Text size: A | A

Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh in the field, third Test, West Indies v Australia, Trinidad, 21 April 1995
The same unplayable bowler from both ends © Getty Images
Enlarge

If Curtly Ambrose or Courtney Walsh bowled a less than lethal ball between them in Bridgetown on the morning of April 23, 1992, it has skulked out of this reporter's memory.

South Africa went into the final day of their first Test in 22 years - not to mention their first Test against a team that was not lily white - needing 79 runs to win. Eight wickets stood, and old hands Kepler Wessels and Peter Kirsten were well set. Those eight wickets crashed for 22 runs as West Indies avoided spectacularly what would have been their first defeat at Kensington Oval since 1935.

"Tell your boys," an ancient denizen of the ground rasped at every white man he could find who was not Tony Cozier, "that the last day at Kensington Oval always belongs to us."

Ambrose and Walsh, of course, didn't need to be told. They pitched everything on off stump and let a pitch stricken by multiple-personality disorder do the rest. Each perfect delivery was followed by another perfect delivery. It was as if Richie Richardson had found a loophole in the laws that allowed him to unleash the same unplayable bowler from both ends. Fittingly, that Wambrose bloke ended up with 10 wickets.

The shot of the day was played by Dave Richardson. Ambushed by a ball that jolted vertically off a length, Richardson, unflappable lawyer that he is, manfully middled the missile into submission. But this was a forward defensive stroke like no other. Eighteen years on, the memory of Richardson's bat meeting the ball at least a foot above his head remains as clear as the Caribbean sky.

Telford Vice is a freelance cricket writer in South Africa

RSS Feeds: Telford Vice

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

FeedbackTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
Telford ViceClose
Telford Vice Telford Vice, crash-boom-out left-hand bat, sort-of legspinner, was never sure whether he was a cricket person. He thought he might be when he sidestepped a broken laptop and an utter dearth of experience to cover South Africa's first Test match in 22 years in Barbados in 1992. When he managed to complete Peter Kirsten's biography as well as retain what he calls his sanity, he pondered the question again. Similarly, when he made it through the 2007 World Cup - all of it, including the warm-up matches - his case for belonging to cricket's family felt stronger. But it was only when the World Twenty20 exploded gloriously into his life in 2007 that he knew he actually wanted to be a cricket person. Sort of ...

    Top dog of the underdogs

My Favourite Cricketer: Jack Russell brought a neatness to the keeper's art that was matched by his meticulous scruffiness in other regards. By Scott Oliver

    Rewarding times for Hashim Amla

Numbers Game: The rate at which he has accumulated ODI hundreds and MoM awards is among the fastest in history

'Ponting was an instinctive, aggressive player'

Modern Masters: Rahul Dravid and Sanjay Manjrekar discuss Ricky Ponting's technique

    MacLeod spells hope for Scotland

Allrounder Calum MacLeod's return from a faulty action is key to Scotland's World Cup hopes. By Tim Wigmore

Cricket's humanity resists specialisation

Jon Hotten: Major sports are driving their competitors towards homogenous physical ideals, but cricket seems to celebrate diversity

News | Features Last 7 days

Manic one-day chases, and daddy partnerships

Also, most brothers in a Test XI, and the fastest to 20 ODI centuries

Has international cricket begun to break up?

The gap between the haves and the have-nots is growing wider, and the disenchantment is forcing a devaluation of Test cricket among weaker teams

Well worth the wait

Zulfiqar Babar missed five seasons between his first two first-class matches, and was 34 when he finally made his Test debut, but he is quickly making up for all the lost time with his artful left-arm spin

Younis Khan and the art of scoring hundreds

Out of 70 batsmen who've scored 15 or more Test hundreds only five are from Pakistan, but Younis Khan's appetite for hundreds matches that of some of the top contemporary batsmen

Australia outdone in every way

Surviving into the final session of the last day cannot disguise the fact that Australia's continued inability to play spin contributed to an all-round thrashing

News | Features Last 7 days

    Has international cricket begun to break up? (83)

    The gap between the haves and the have-nots is growing wider, and the disenchantment is forcing a devaluation of Test cricket among weaker teams

    Lyon low after high of 2013 (51)

    The offspinner was Australia's highest wicket-taker in 2013, but his form has dipped sharply this year

    Australia outdone in every way (51)

    Surviving into the final session of the last day cannot disguise the fact that Australia's continued inability to play spin contributed to an all-round thrashing

    Well worth the wait (36)

    Zulfiqar Babar missed five seasons between his first two first-class matches, and was 34 when he finally made his Test debut, but he is quickly making up for all the lost time with his artful left-arm spin

    No Ajmal, no problem for Pakistan (33)

    When a team loses its best bowler, it is expected that the team's performance will suffer. As usual, Pakistan defied the expectations