Third Cornhill Test

England v West Indies 1984

D.F.

West Indies won by eight wickets to take an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the series. Gower thus became the first England captain to lose the first three Tests of a home series since Warwick Armstrong's formidable Australians assumed a similar margin of supremacy in 1921. In many respects, the tenor of the West Indian victory mirrored their win at Lord's. England remained in contention for the majority of the match, only for Clive Lloyd's side to move into a higher gear and remorselessly pull away.

A courageous interjection from Marshall deepened England's summer of despair. West Indies' fastest bowler was advised not to play cricket for ten days after sustaining a double fracture of the left thumb on the first morning, while fielding a shot from Broad in the gully. But he returned, heavily plastered, to bat one-handed and partner Gomes to his hundred, and later he collected his best bowling figures in Test cricket to help West Indies win the match 70 minutes after lunch on the fourth day.

England rewarded Hampshire's Terry with his Test début, after he had scored five recent first-class hundreds, and left out Gatting. Miller and Foster were replaced by Cook and Allott in an attempt to strengthen Gower's bowling resources. West Indies omitted Small and gambled by bringing back Holding, who, troubled by a stress fracture, had not bowled since the first Test.

Gower chose to have first use of a pitch no less unreliable in bounce than many of its more recent Headingley predecessors, and on a cool, overcast morning, as the ball moved about awkwardly, England lost Fowler, Terry and Gower for 53. Then Broad departed at 82. But Lamb stout-heartedly proceeded to douse West Indies' fire, giving the innings vital substance and going on to complete his second hundred in consecutive Test innings, the first England batsman to do so against West Indies since K. F. Barrington in 1960. Lamb, however, was dismissed by Harper without addition on the second morning, and from 237 for six England had to settle for 270 all out, their decline being sped by Holding, who finished with four for 70 and became, when he dismissed Pringle, only the fourth West Indian to take 200 Test wickets after Gibbs, Sobers and Roberts.

This fairly modest total took on a more substantial stature when Allott, basing his strategy on the time-honoured qualities of line and length, took five for 42 to justify the selectors' decision to recall him after a two-year absence from Test cricket. That West Indies ended the second day at 239 for seven owed much to the unflappable Gomes, who assumed an air of permanence soon after his arrival at the crease. However, Holding damaged England's hopes of a lead with a furious array of strokes, particularly against Willis. He struck five 6s in his 59. Marshall's surprise appearance at the crease, with Gomes perched on 96, caused a wave of astonishment, but the gesture was a warmly appreciated by Gomes, who took the opportunity to reach his second hundred of the series, and before West Indies were all out for 302, a lead of 32, there was time for Marshall, swishing one-handed, to send the ball to the third-man boundary.

Apart from a doughty half-century from Fowler, England's second innings deteriorated to 135 for six, and by Saturday evening West Indies had the match won. Marshall collected three wickets and took the last four on Monday morning when he prudently reduced his pace to promote more swing. With England dismissed for 159, a century opening stand between Greenidge and Haynes smoothed the way to West Indies' sixth successive Test win, though England could have gained some consolation had they not squandered a string of comfortable chances in the closing moments. Gomes was nominated as Man of Match, which was watched by 52,100 spectators who paid £264,500.

© John Wisden & Co