Third Test Match

AUSTRALIA v WEST INDIES 1984-85

At Adelaide, December 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. West Indies won by 191 runs, extending their sequence of consecutive Test victories to eleven. The match marked the centenary of Test cricket at the Adelaide Oval and was watched by 22 captains who had led their countries in Tests there. Unfortunately, the cricket did not measure up to the occasion, the tempo always being slow and the over-rate seldom rising above thirteen an hour in often oppressive heat; this in spite of the presence of spinners in both teams, Harper replacing the injured Holding for West Indies.

West Indies' first innings followed a familiar pattern after Lloyd had opted to bat. When Greenidge's hook was caught on the boundary by Hogg soon after tea on the opening day, denying him his first Test century in Australia, the total was an unconvincing 172 for five. Australia's catching lapses had already cost them dearly, Greenidge having been dropped at 16 and 36, and Dujon now escaped, first ball, to Wessels at second slip of Lawson. Next morning, Holland at long-leg missed Lloyd's mistimed hook off Lawson. Lloyd, then 44, added another 34 and the partnership was worth 150 before Lawson dismissed both in a final spell of four for 27 from eight overs.

Australia responded strongly to 91 for one at the end of the second day, but the loss of Wessels, who was forced to retire hurt just before stumps after being struck on the forearm by Walsh, upset the order, and next day wickets fell steadily, including Hughes's first ball to Garner. Only when Wessels returned and found an able partner in Lawson was there sufficient purpose in the batting, the pair adding 87. Two away from his century, Wessels (sixteen 4s, 164 balls, 248 minutes) dragged Marshall's third delivery with the second new ball back into his stumps.

Ahead by 72, West Indies lost three second-innings wickets for 45 before Gomes, in successive partnerships with Haynes, Richards and Dujon, placed them in a winning position. Gomes's ninth Test century, and sixth against Australia, was filled with fluent strokes and included ten 4s.

Australia's theoretical target was 365 on the last day, but the limit of their expectations was to hold out for a draw. They fell well short of even that objective, bowled out five minutes before tea. Wessels, who passed his 1,000 runs in Tests, was the only batsman to last for any significant time, batting two and a half hours with fourteen 4s before becoming one of off-spinner Harper's four wickets to a ball that turned and lifted.

© John Wisden & Co