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Following their defeat at home by England, Australia fully rehabilitated themselves in the eyes of the cricket world when visiting the West Indies in 1955. Not only did they complete the tour without a reverse, but, in winning three of the Test matches and drawing two, they became the first overseas team to triumph in a series in the Caribbean. Furthermore they proved immensely popular wherever they played, so that their programme was carried through without any of the rancour and ugly incidents which marred the visit to the Islands of Hutton's M.C.C. Team a year earlier. For this, much credit belonged to the tact displayed by Ian Johnson, who proved a most able captain both on and off the field.
The batting failures against England naturally gave rise to misgivings before the start of the tour as to how the Australians would fare when facing the side with whom their conquerors could do no better than share the rubber in 1953-54. In the event, the run-getting formed the main strength of the side, as was amply demonstrated by the scoring of twelve centuries for Australia in the five Test matches. Admittedly the pitches were easy-paced and never did they face anyone of the calibre of Tyson or Statham, but against King and Dewdney, the best fast bowlers available, the batsmen successfully set to work to show themselves complete masters.
This was accomplished by purely orthodox means. Gone were the somewhat apprehensive cross-bat methods which so frequently led to disaster against England. In their place the batsmen demonstrated to their own satisfaction and for the benefit of cricketers in general the undoubted value of the straight bat. The left-handed Harvey hit three splendid hundreds, with 204 in the closing game the highest, and Miller also reached three figures on three occasions. McDonald, a reliable Number One, scored two centuries, shared in three opening partnerships exceeding 100 and, in helping Harvey to add 295 in the final match, set up a new third-wicket record for Australia.
Once again Lindwall and Miller, who between them took 40 wickets, formed the spearhead of the attack. Both bowled at a fine pace, using the occasional short-pitched ball judiciously, and in the fifth Test Miller enjoyed the dual distinction of taking eight wickets and hitting a century. Johnson, with off-breaks, at times was ineffective, but his seven wickets for 44 runs in the second innings paved the way to victory in the Third Test and put Australia thus early beyond all fear of defeat in the rubber. Benaud and Archer, both of whom scored maiden Test centuries, accomplished much valuable work as all-rounders.
The efficiency of Langley behind the wicket in the last four representative matches is worthy of special mention. He helped in the dismissal of twenty batsmen and in the eight innings in which he kept wicket conceded no more than 22 byes while 2,464 runs were scored. In the third and fifth games he equalled a world's Test record by getting rid of five men in an innings, and he equalled another when disposing of eight in a match when the last sweeping success at Kingston set the seal on the Australian supremacy
Not all the Test match honours went to the Australians. Indeed, the most prominent batsman on either side was undoubtedly Walcott. By fearless but discriminating batting, he performed feats achieved by no other player in history when both at Port of Spain and Kingston he hit a century in each innings of a match and altogether five in the series. Moreover his aggregate of 827 runs was the highest recorded in a rubber for West Indies. Too often Walcott bore the chief burden of an innings, for though Weekes improved from a moderate start, Worrell never reached the form expected of him. In the fourth Test at Bridgetown, Atkinson and Depeiza enabled their side to effect a remarkable recovery by adding 348, a world's record for the seventh wicket in first-class cricket. Each scored his First Test Match century.
Injuries to Stollmeyer could not have helped the West Indies. Stollmeyer, who captained the side against England in the previous season, hurt a finger while practising before the first Test and the inexperienced Atkinson took over the leadership. Stollmeyer returned to the captaincy for the next two Tests, but damaged a collar-bone while fielding in the third, so that Atkinson was again appointed for the fourth and final representative games.
Played 9, Won 5, Drawn 4
Played 5, Won 3, Drawn 2
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