Fifth Cornhill Test

ENGLAND v WEST INDIES 1980

B.E.

At Leeds, August 7, 8, 9, 11, 12. Drawn. The weather ruined the Headingley Test for the third successive year, no play at all being possible on the first and fourth days. After two virtually unbroken days of rain on the Wednesday and Thursday had created a series of small lakes on the playing area, the umpires' decision to abandon play for the day on Thursday was put over the public address system at 10.30 a.m. It was a tribute to the ground staff that play started as early as 2.45 p.m. on Friday. Richards, leading West Indies in the absence of the injured Clive Lloyd, put England in; they had thus batted first in all five matches in the series.

In less than three and a half hours England were dismissed for 143, the lowest total of the series. Although Bairstow, preferred to Knott, hit a valiant 40 at number eight, and there was an aggressive but brief innings from Botham, the rest of England's batting was inadequate.

For West Indies, the twenty-four hours delay was a boon. It allowed Croft, out since the fourth Test with damaged thigh muscles, and Garner, who had strained his bowling shoulder, time to get back into action. So worried was West Indies manager Walcott at the state of his fast bowling that on the eve of the match he made vain attempts to bring in Wayne Daniel of Middlesex and Sylvester Clarke of Surrey. However, the only change from the eleven which played at The Oval was King for Lloyd.

On the third day, thick grey cloud hung sullenly over the ground from start to stumps, creating an atmosphere straight out of Wuthering Heights. The England attack, spearheaded by Dilley, strove hard to turn the conditions to advantage, but the West Indian batsmen fought for survival. Greenidge and Haynes gave their side a superb start with a partnership of 83, the best opening stand of the series by West Indies. Haynes's 42 earned him the Man of the Match award on the grounds that he made his runs when conditions were at their most difficult and especially strange to him. The last-wicket partnership of 38 between Holding and Croft was the second best of the innings.

As West Indies inched towards a total of 245, Rose had to retire with a pulled thigh muscle, suffered when turning suddenly on the wet and heavy outfield, and Botham chipped a bone at the base of his right hand, attempting a slip catch. Other than Dilley, with four for 79, no bowler impressed. When England batted a second time, Boycott and Gooch survived until bad light brought Saturday's play to a premature end.

The game still remained very much alive, but a miserable day on Monday brought another abandonment, at 2.00 p.m., and destroyed any hope England might still have had of winning the match and thus saving the series. Although a full day's play was possible on Tuesday, there could now be only two results - a West Indian victory or a draw. When England's fifth wicket fell before tea with only 72 runs separating the sides the former was still a possibility. But Rose, batting with Gooch as his runner, dispatched Croft for three boundaries in one over just before tea to ease the pressure. In the final session of the match Holding soon had Willey caught at the wicket, but Bairstow stayed with Rose and before long West Indies acknowledged that they would have to take the series by their two-wicket victory in the first Test at Trent Bridge.

Garner was able to bowl only one over in England's second innings before his shoulder failed him again, but his 26 wickets at 14.26 won him the Man of the Series award from John Arlott who was covering his last Headingley Test.

The official attendance was 32,860 and receipts for the match totalled £141,000, at least £30,000 below the expected minimum. Final takings for the five Tests thus failed by £7,000 to reach the £1 million mark but, with nearly seven full playing days out of 25 sacrificed to the unpredictable climate, total receipts of £993,000 reflect the remarkable degree of interest shown in this clash for the Wisden Trophy, which England last won in 1969.

© John Wisden & Co