Second Cornhill Test



England were either level or on top until the last four hours of the match. West Indies then strolled nonchalantly to victory, making the fifth highest score to win a Test. Only Bradman and Hammond have made higher scores in a Lord's Test than Greenidge's 214 not out in West Indies' second innings. Yet despite their overwhelming defeat, England managed several skilful and brave performances. Gower, however, might not have relished the occasion. It was his second defeat as captain at headquarters and he became the first England captain since Yardley in 1948 to declare in the second innings and lose. Lloyd, his opposite number, reached 7,000 Test runs. Greenidge and Botham each passed 4,000.

Broad, a new cap, replaced the injured Lloyd and Gatting came back, when Moxon withdrew, to take over from Randall. For West Indies, Small deputised for the injured Holding. On a first day shortened by 95 minutes by bad light and rain, Broad resisted inducements outside the off stump, preferring to exploit his thumping leg-side shots. At one stage he collected five boundaries in eleven balls. He and Fowler had achieved a rare century opening stand against West Indies when Broad was caught down the leg side. Gower, on the first evening, and Lamb and Gatting on the second morning became the first three of a record twelve lbw victims in the match, equalling the number in Dunedin in 1979-80.

Fowler mustered all his technical ability and much fortitude in an admirable hundred, which lasted 369 minutes (259 balls) and contained thirteen 4s. A few blows from Botham and Downton's defence were all that was left. Miller was run out in spectacular fashion when Baptiste uprooted the middle stump at the Nursery End with an 80-yard throw from the long-leg boundary in front of the Warner Stand.

Botham then bowled very well to unseat the first three West Indies batsmen. He was equally bouncy and effective on the third morning, a real reminder of his old self. At the end of the second day, however, some inaccuracies had allowed Richards and Lloyd to stabilise the innings, so that it was generally expected that Richards would crown a sunny Saturday with a century; but, after a fascinating duel, he was lbw to a ball from Botham that did a lot. Umpire Meyer later stated that he may have made a mistake, and that he had considered recalling Richards. The consensus was that such post-mortems should not involve directly the players and umpires. The wicket inspired Botham to bowl unchanged and productively for the remainder of the innings. Lloyd was hard put to add 7 runs in 59 balls on the Saturday and West Indies welcomed Baptiste's robust 44. Donald Topley, a groundstaff boy, came within inches of cricketing immortality during the afternoon when, fielding as a substitute, he caught Marshall brilliantly on the deep square-leg boundary, one-handed but with one foot over the rope.

England looked unlikely to capitalise on their handy lead when Fowler, Broad and Gower were quickly dismissed, but Lamb and Gatting joined in a stand full of fine strokes. It ended when Gatting, for the second time in the game, was subject to a sad aberration in padding up to a ball coming down the hill. After a rainy fourth morning, Lamb and Botham added 128 in 165 minutes, with the West Indian field-placing and bowling becoming unusually defensive. When Botham was dismissed, however, the innings inevitably lost its way, the more so when Lamb, with his eye well in, went off for bad light. There were 53 minutes left when he did so and England led by 328 with three wickets left. The runs that might have been scored that evening were not made on the last morning, Lamb being out straightaway, and West Indies were in by 11.30, chasing 342 to win in five and a half hours.

The swing and movement that had been there all match seemed to have vanished, England's change bowlers looking second-rate and nobody but Willis bowling the right line or setting the right field to the powerful and phlegmatic Greenidge. Although England finally blocked his square cut, the midwicket and long-on boundaries saw plenty of Greenidge's 29 4s. It was Greenidge's day, the innings of his life, and his ruthless batting probably made the bowling look worse that it was. He was dropped by an inattentive Botham, the sole slip, off Willis, when he was 110, but by then a West Indies win was certain. Gomes was missed as soon as he arrived, but these were the only real hints that the two great batsmen padded up, Richards and Lloyd, might be required. Gomes, as at Birmingham, provided the perfect partner to a batsman in control. Their unbroken stand of 287 was a second-wicket record for West Indies against England, overtaking Rowe and Kallicharran's 249 at Bridgetown in 1973-74, and West Indies won with 11.5 of the last twenty overs to spare. Botham's tireless bowling in West Indies' first innings enabled him to share the Man of the Match award with Greenidge, the first time such an award had been split. Over the five days 91,353 spectators paid a record £507,774.

© John Wisden & Co