Fifth Cornhill Test

ENGLAND v WEST INDIES 1984

P.G.

Toss: West Indies. Test debuts: England - J.P.Agnew, R.M.Ellison.

England responded as best they could to a call from their captain, Gower, for one last, big effort, but they were powerless to prevent West Indies from completing a 5-0 victory in the series. It was the first whitewash - or, as one prominent Kennington banner proclaimed, blackwash - in a five-Test series in England and the fifth in his history of the game.

England introduced two new bowlers in Agnew of Leicestershire and Ellison of Kent, and after Lloyd, having shaken off a virus infection to play his last Test in England, had won the toss and elected to bat, it looked as though the England selectors might just have stumbled on a winning formula. Agnew's line and length were affected by first-match nerves, but, with the ball moving about, Allott and Ellison bowled well in support of the mercurial Botham, who took five wickets in a Test innings for the 23rd time.

There were those who had felt that Botham should be left out of the England side in view of the fact that he had declared himself unavailable for the forthcoming tour of India, but the selectors were not ready to contemplate picking a team without him and he responded to his detractors in characteristic manner. He captured the crucial wickets of Greenidge, Richards and Dujon, thereby becoming only the third Englishman, after Willis and Trueman, to have taken 300 wickets in Tests, as West Indies subsided to 70 for six. But then Lloyd, showing that he had lost none of the character that had sustained his side so often over the years, batted with great resolution for three hours twenty minutes, scoring an undefeated 60 and conjuring 120 runs from the last four wickets.

A total of 190 was still West Indies' lowest of the series, but any English euphoria was short-lived. By the end of the first day they had already lost Broad, and next morning they were devastated by Marshall, who took five for 35 in an almost brutal display of fast bowling that many considered to have been barely within the bounds of the law relating to short-pitched deliveries.

Fowler was soon forced to retire hurt with a bruised forearm, and although he returned later, to make the highest score of 31, the innings was damaged beyond repair. Pocock, who had gone in as night-watchman and was not spared the short-pitched bowling, held on gallantly for 46 minutes; but Gower and Tavaré, playing his first match of the series, perished in quick succession to Holding. Any hope England had of taking a first-innings lead disappeared when Marshall removed Lamb and Botham in the space of five balls.

England were all out for 162, 28 runs behind, yet they were still in with a chance when Agnew, claiming Greenidge and Richards as his first illustrious victims in Test cricket, and Ellison reduced West Indies to 69 for three. Throughout the summer, however, Lloyd's side had dug into their reserves of talent whenever their supremacy had been threatened, and this time it was Haynes who mocked England's efforts. He had scored only 100 runs in the four previous Tests, but he batted now for more than seven hours to put his side in an impregnable position. Lloyd himself played another captain's innings in a stabilising fourth-wicket partnership of 63, and, with Haynes, Dujon made a dashing 49 out of 82 in eighteen overs for the fifth wicket.

So England were left needing to score 375 to win or to bat for more than ten hours to save the match - neither of which seemed remotely within their capabilities. Broad, resisting for almost three hours, and Tavaré, who was his old, obdurate self for three hours twenty minutes, put a brave face on their predicament, but England's moment of truth arrived when Holding, having been somewhat overshadowed by Marshall and Garner, suddenly felt the urge to bowl off his full run for the first time in more than a year. In seventeen balls, he dismissed Broad, Gower and Lamb at a personal cost of 5 runs and that was virtually that.

There was still Botham to preserve a flicker of optimism for the final day, which England began at 151 for five, but although he struck four defiant boundaries to reach 54, the last five wickets went down for 51 runs in an hour. Haynes was named Man of the Match and Greenidge, with 572 runs, including two double-centuries, was Player of the Series. The total attendance was 58,857 with receipts amounting to £369,159.

© John Wisden & Co
 
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