Third Test Match

WEST INDIES v. AUSTRALIA

At Port of Spain, March 23, 24, 25, 27, 28. Australia won by 46 runs. In one of the most exciting of contemporary Test matches Australia won on the last afternoon just when it had looked as if Kallicharran was going to lead the West Indies to an astonishing victory after they had been left to score 334 to win on a turning wicket. West Indies suffered the big handicap of losing Rowe when he pulled the ligaments in his ankle in the field on the first day and was unable to bat in either innings.

Fredericks gave the West Indies a good start in the final innings and after a wild and irresponsible stroke by Kanhai and some predictable agonies by Lloyd against spin, Kallicharran and Foster came together. By lunch on the last day they had taken the score to 268 for four and only 66 more were needed. With Ian Chappell keeping his slips up and attacking to the last, Kallicharran played a slightly casual back shot to Walker's first ball of the afternoon and was caught behind. Soon afterwards Foster pushed O'Keeffe gently into forward short leg's hands and that was that.

For this match the West Indies left out Greenidge, moving Foster up the order to open with Fredericks and bringing in Lloyd. Lloyd had a dual purpose, for the selectors had dropped Holder, leaving Lloyd to share the new ball with Boyce who had been retained after his good bowling in the previous Test. The Queen's Park Oval wicket always favours spin and this one was no exception and so using the new ball meant doing little more than removing the shine for the spinners. Inshan Ali, whose shoulder had recovered, came back into the side in place of Holder. Australia played the same eleven as in Barbados.

The shape of the game was established on the first morning after Ian Chappell had won the toss for the third consecutive time. Within thirty-five minutes of the start Gibbs was bowling to three short legs. Australia had begun badly, losing Stackpole to the third ball of the innings, but Ian Chappell and Redpath put on 107 for the second wicket before Chappell was out in the last over before lunch. This brought in Walters, who produced the best innings of the series. Reputedly it is a difficult wicket to play strokes on and yet in the two hours between lunch and tea Walters scored exactly 100, hitting sixteen 4's. By any standards it was a magnificent innings. His driving was quite glorious and he cut and pulled with power and certainty. In all he batted for two hours, twenty-eight minutes, hitting one 6 and sixteen 4's.

West Indies made a bad start, but Kallicharran scored an attractive fifty and Kanhai produced a more careworn half century. The Australian leg-spinners, Jenner and O'Keeffe, did not bowl particularly well and the side badly missed an off spinner. There was another important innings by Murray, who took West Indies to within 52 of Australia's score.

By the time Australia went in again the ball was turning a long way, but increasingly slowly. Redpath and Walters made useful runs and there was a glorious innings of 97 by Ian Chappell, who held the innings together at a time when it seemed that the West Indies spinners would win the match. His 97 took him three hours, fifty minutes, but it was not an entirely defensive innings, for he never wasted any chance of scoring runs. He was seventh out at 231 and then some strange bowling by Gibbs allowed the last three wickets to add 50, which was slightly more than the margin between the two sides at the end.

Against the main batsmen Gibbs had been pushing the ball through with his short legs up for the catch. Now he put his fielders back on the boundary and tried to buy the remaining wickets. Walker with his huge shoulders took advantage of this and swung his bat for 23 priceless runs and he and Hammond added 33 for the last wicket. If Gibbs had gone on pushing the ball through he might have given away the odd edged single, but he would surely have restricted the batsmen to very few runs. As it was the runs he gave away made the difference between the victory and defeat.

© John Wisden & Co