Toss: West Indies. Test debuts: West Indies - S.T.Clarke, A.E.Greenidge, D.A.Murray, N.Phillip, S.Shivnarine, A.B.Williams; Australia - T.J.Laughlin.
Events leading up to this match were so controversial and the atmosphere so emotionally charged that it was to their credit that the two teams, more particularly West Indies, managed to produce such a keen, closely-fought contest.
The public, whatever their feelings on the matter that led to the resignation from the captaincy of Lloyd, a native Guyanese, responded magnificently, and fears of trouble at the ground proved ill-founded.
Lloyd's decision was triggered by the omission of Haynes, Austin, and Murray from the team that won the first and second Tests. All three were contracted to World Series Cricket. The selectors explained that they had been omitted to give new players a chance; this with the tour of India and Sri Lanka later in the year in view and as they could get no assurance from the WSC players that they would be available then. Subsequently, all WSC West Indians joined Lloyd in registering their lack of confidence in the selectors.
Such action meant that West Indies had hastily to assemble a new team. Kallicharran was named captain, and with him only Parry had played in the earlier Tests.
Six of those now under him were making their Test débuts, and it was clear when West Indies were bowled out for 205 on the first day that they were psychologically unprepared for the event. Only two innings saved them from an even worse fate: one of 56 by Alvin Greenidge, who took the place of his unrelated namesake as opener, and one of 53 by the all-rounder Shivnarine, rather a surprise choice in the eleven. Everyone else faltered as Thomson and Clark shared eight wickets between them.
Even though they fielded an entirely new staff of fast bowlers, West Indies struck back when Australia replied. Phillip, bowling at lively pace, removed Darling and Ogilvie cheaply before the end of the first day, and Clarke and Holder followed by having Cosier, Serjeant, and Wood early on the second morning.
Australia, going to lunch at 146 for six, appeared to have wasted the advantage gained for them by the bowlers on the opening day. It was at this stage that the lack of penetration in the West Indian attack was revealed and Simpson, Rixon, and Yardley put Australia ahead by 81.
Simpson batted for three hours for his highest score of the series while Rixon, whose previous four innings brought him only 17, now batted enterprisingly for 54 before he fell to a brilliant catch at second slip.
The new West Indians mounted a spirited recovery in their second innings to record the highest total of the series and leave Australia with a demanding winning target. Two centuries of contrasting styles, one by Williams and one by Gomes, formed the basis of the effort but there were also important contributions from Parry, Shivnarine, and Holder.
Ironically, both Williams and Gomes were in the original team, chosen to replace Haynes and Austin. Williams kept on playing his shots in spite of several narrow escapes, particularly against Thomson, and became only the tenth West Indian to score a century in his first Test. Having done that, he hooked the next ball he faced and was caught at fine leg.
He hit nineteen of the 118 deliveries he faced to the boundary and batted only two and three quarter hours. Parry, sent in as nightwatchman on the second afternoon, lent him admirable support in a stand of 77 for the third wicket.
When Williams departed, the left-handed Gomes replaced him and proceeded to build the West Indies total in a more sedate but no less assured manner. Kallicharran and Shillingford, the two most experienced batsmen, both fell cheaply, but Shivnarine joined Gomes to thwart Australia's hopes of a complete breakthrough.
In fact, he outlasted Gomes who, like Williams before him, was out next ball after completing his 100 (three hours twenty-five minutes, eleven 4s). The pair added 70 for the seventh wicket, and then Shivnarine and Holder put on a further 62 for the ninth.
Australia began their second innings needing more runs than either side had ever scored against the other in the fourth innings of a Test. And when Clarke despatched Darling, Ogilvie, and Simpson inside the first forty minutes, they seemed beaten.
However, Wood and Serjeant, the two Western Australians, responded to the crisis with great determination, defying everything West Indies could put against them to add 251 in four and a half hours for the fourth wicket. Both passed their first Test centuries, but they and Cosier fell in the final session of the day to leave the match evenly balanced for the final day.
Serjeant, whose 124 included one 6 and eighteen 4s, top-edged a hook to be brilliantly caught at deep backward square leg; Wood, never in any bother, was finally run out for 126 (one 6 and eight 4s).
Australia needed another 69 on the final day with four wickets remaining. A close fight was expected, but West Indies lacked conviction in their approach and Australia lost only one further wicket in winning.