Fifth Test Match

England v West Indies

Norman Preston

Toss: West Indies. Test debuts: G.Miller.

The previous time England went down by a similar margin in a home series was in 1948 against Bradman's Australia side. West Indies, moreover, recorded their fifth victory in the last eight Tests in England, and many by wide margins.

This contest produced many splendid personal performances. Holding achieved two bowling records for West Indies by taking eight first innings wickets for 92 and with six for 57 on the fifth day his full analysis was fourteen for 149 - a great triumph for one of the world's fastest bowlers of all time.

After Lloyd had won the toss for the fourth time in the five Tests, Richards gave yet another glorious display with the bat. Making 291 out of 519, he hit thirty-eight fours in a stay of eight minutes short of eight hours.

For England, Amiss made a memorable return to the Test Match scene. He looked the only class batsman in the side as he held the England first innings together by scoring 203 out of 342 before being seventh to leave, bowled behind his legs. He played nobly for five hours, twenty minutes and struck twenty-eight fours.

While West Indies retained the eleven which won the previous Test at Headingley, England showed three changes. Amiss was preferred to Hayes, and with Snow and Ward unfit Selvey returned and Miller received his first cap after Edmonds had withdrawn from the original selection because of a sore spinning finger. Miller had an excellent match as an off-spinner and stylish bat.

Willis struck early for England when he removed Greenidge leg-before, but Richards soon took charge and with Fredericks and Rowe providing sound assistance West Indies reached 373 for three by the end of the first day. Greig caused a surprise when, after Willis had dismissed Greenidge with the last ball of his second over, he put on Underwood.

A superb right hand catch by Balderstone who dived to his right at cover dismissed Fredericks and at six o'clock Knott stumped Rowe for his 220th victim in Tests against other countries and beat Godfrey Evans's record.

Richards, 200 overnight, continued his majestic exhibition and he and Lloyd put on 141 in the 32 overs England sent down on the second day before lunch, Richards getting 83 to Lloyd's 48. So, Richards passed Sir Frank Worrell's 261 at Trent Bridge in 1950, the previous best for West Indies in England. One imagined that he would challenge Sir Garry Sobers' 365, the highest for all Tests, but having driven Greig high towards the Vauxhall End he went to repeat the stroke next ball only to touch it into his stumps.

During this period Greig bowled his off spin with much skill and he accounted for Lloyd at 547, but the runs still flowed until shortly before half past five, Lloyd declared, setting England the task of making 488 to prevent the follow on. West Indies total of 687 was their highest in England, beating their 552 at Lord's three years earlier.

With the pitch slow and dusty, West Indies' decision to rely on the pacemen to the exclusion of any recognised spinner caused a good deal of comment, but Holding's speed through the air provided the answer, particular as his side had so many runs on the board.

Amiss and Woolmer safely negotiated the 12 overs they faced at the end of the second day when some classic strokes by Amiss (22) helped the score to 34 without loss. Next morning, Holding began his devastating work by getting Woolmer leg before to a ball that kept low.

Then Steele defended steadily while putting on 100 with Amiss before also being plainly leg-before. As Holding promptly removed Balderstone, England were in sore straights, but Willey resolutely kept up his end in a stand of 128 and all the while Amiss imbued confidence by the way he faced the bouncers, taking two quick steps back with a very open stance.

Greig raised hopes of a long stay with two grand cover drives off Holding, but trying again he was bowled off his pads. A disgraceful scene followed. A huge section of the crowd, mainly West Indians, swept over the ground and trampled on the pitch with the departure of the England captain. The umpires led the players off the field at about 6.10 p.m. When peace was restored Amiss and Underwood played out the last seven minutes, England's total at the week-end being 304 for five with Amiss 178.

Amiss again played well on Monday morning, but Underwood soon became another Holding victim. There was spirited late resistance by Knott and Miller, but West Indies finished the half way stage with a lead of 252.

With Daniel injured and Holding needing a rest, Lloyd preferred to bat again and leave England to face the last innings. This time, the two West Indies openers enjoyed themselves at the England bowlers' expense and in two hours, twenty minutes took their unbroken partnership to 182, Greenidge hitting twelve fours and Fredericks nine.

So Lloyd left England six hours, twenty minutes to get the runs or save the match and although Woolmer and Amiss hit freely on the fourth evening for 43, the first hour of the fifth day left England without a ghost of a chance. Half the wickets crashed for 78 and although Knott made his second fifty and Miller was again in form the West Indies sailed home with eighty minutes to spare.

The total attendance for the match was 70,000 with receipts £58,395. The full attendance for the series came to 383,000 and the gross receipts £465,000.

© John Wisden & Co