Fourth Test Match

Australia v West Indies

At Sydney, January 3, 4, 5, 7. Australia won by seven wickets. Once again the West Indies were let down by the temperamental failings of their main batsmen. After making 355 and taking four Australian wickets for 164 by the close on the second day it seemed that the West Indies were the only side that could win the match and yet they lost it with some ease before the end of the fourth day.

If ever a missed catch will go down in history as having lost a series it will be that which Boyce dropped off Greg Chappell at fourth slip off Roberts when he had made 11. He went on to make 182 not out.

The West Indies brought back Boyce for Greenidge and Julien was again asked to open the batting, while Holding, who had recovered, replaced Holder. Australia dropped McCosker and brought in Yallop from Victoria and when, just before the match, it was found that Lillee was not fit, Gilmour came into the side.

Greg Chappell again put the West Indies in and in the fifth over Julien was hit in the right hand by Thomson and had to retire with a broken thumb. Even on the first day the batsmen promised more than they produced. Fredericks, Rowe, Richards and Murray all settled in, but gave their wickets away with careless strokes as did Lloyd the next day when he was out for 51. Julien bravely came back late in the innings and, virtually batting one handed, made 39 more runs which at the time seemed very important.

Turner and Redpath gave Australia a reasonable start, adding 70. After Redpath was second out at 93, Ian Chappell appeared to the West Indies to be caught behind off the next ball, from Holding, and the bowler was so upset by the negative decision that it was a while before he was ready to bowl the next ball.

But he was rewarded soon afterwards with Chappell's wicket. The day ended with Lloyd appearing to relax the pressure on the Australian batsmen and, of course, Boyce dropped Greg Chappell. The next day Australia's captain batted magnificently. Cosier, Marsh and Gilmour all gave him good support.

The rate was fastest when the new ball was taken after lunch, 77 runs coming in the first nine overs with it and strangely Lloyd decided that Julien should use it at first with Roberts, although Holding was playing. Six bowling changes were made in this hour which seemed visibly to sap the confidence of the West Indies.

Australia gained a lead of 50 runs and on the third evening the West Indies lost the wickets of Fredericks, Kallicharran, who had opened in place of the injured Julien, and Richards, all to wild and unnecessary hooks. They ended the day at 33 for three and their lack of responsibility at times of crisis was never better illustrated.

Although Murray reached a brave fifty on the fourth morning they were bowled out in mid afternoon for 128, Thomson having taken six for 50 and again showing how he can make the ball lift nastily from only scarcely short of a length. It was incidental that Australia lost three wickets while scoring 79 to win.

© John Wisden & Co