Second Test Match


At Melbourne, December 29, 30, 31, January 1. West Indies won by ten wickets. In winning with a day to spare, they emphatically overcame their jinx at the Melbourne Cricket Ground where they had lost every one of their previous seven Tests. They took a grip on the match from the start, bowling Australia out for 156 and replying with 103 for one off eighteen overs by the close on the first day. The scoreboard was an accurate indicator of the balance; although only one Australian batsman in the first innings and two in the second scored more than 25, eight of the first nine West Indians passed that figure.

Electing to bat, Australia lost only one wicket before lunch. This was a result mainly of wayward West Indian bowling and it was left to Garner, belatedly introduced into the attack, to show what could be done on a pitch offering generous and unpredictable bounce. He trapped Test débutant Wiener lbw, had Border caught in the slips and induced Chappell to hook unsuccessfully. Holding and Croft shared the final six wickets - four of them caught in the slips - and Australia, having passed 100 with three wickets down, were all out for 156 less than half an hour after tea.

West Indies made a spectacular reply, Greenidge taking 8 off Lillee's first over and Haynes 16 off Hogg's first. Yet it was Richards who provided most of the fireworks, coming in after Haynes had been caught at slip. In fifty minutes he raced to 45 not out off 36 balls, with a memorable 6 off Hogg and five 4s. Australia did well on the second day to contain the West Indian batsmen, despite the loss of Hogg who retired with an injured back after bowling only two overs. Lillee, mostly at reduced pace, and the left-arm Dymock shared one end while Higgs bowled his leg-spin for 29 consecutive overs without being dominated.

Rain caused the loss of almost an hour in mid-afternoon and West Indies ended play at 336 for seven with a firm, but not irreversible, hold on the match. Without achieving the heights of the previous afternoon, Richards reached 96 before offering a lazy drive to a ball from Dymock well up to him and was caught at extra-cover. Five more wickets fell, leaving Roberts and Garner to resume on the third day. They carried their eighth-wicket partnership to a valuable 70 and Roberts reached his first Test half-century. As they had done in the first Test, Australia began their second innings with a sizeable deficit: 241 this time, with more than two and a half days remaining. Laird led the fight with the same courage and dedication he had shown at Brisbane, battling against the agony of a badly bruised left hand sustained when hit by Holding in the seventh over of the innings. He continued bravely on the fourth day when Australia resumed at 167 for three. Yet, despite pain-killing injections administered on the field, it was obviously asking too much of him to resist bowling of the pace which West Indies had at their disposal and he was caught in the gully, after four hours and twenty minutes of defiance. Hughes then carried the Australian standard as wickets fell and after his departure Dymock and Hogg saved Australia from the indignity of an innings defeat. West Indies needed only 22 to take a lead in the series and these Greenidge and Haynes had made well before tea on the fourth day. Richards was named as Man of the Match.

© John Wisden & Co