First Test

AUSTRALIA v WEST INDIES 1992-93

Toss: Australia. Test debut: D. R. Martyn.

An intensely fought contest ended with West Indies, who held a slight advantage over the first four days, desperately hanging on for a draw. Australian frustration at the refusal of several lbw appeals in the closing stages led the umpires to report Border and Hughes for dissent, for which the Australian captain, who did not attend the post-match hearing, was fined half his match fee, $A2,000, by match referee Raman Subba Row, and Hughes 10 per cent ($A400).

Australia, who unexpectedly omitted Dean Jones, failed to capitalise on ideal conditions when they batted first. Hooper, returning his best Test figures, dislodged Mark Waugh and Boon when both were at their most threatening. Border then shared successive half-century partnerships with the debutant Martyn, who eventually gave Ambrose his 150th Test wicket, and Matthews. But Border's run-out, attempting a sharp single, came as a crucial setback, and West Indies were batting just before lunch next day. They lost their top three for 58 before the left-handers Lara and Arthurton rebuilt the innings with a confident partnership of 112 that ended in controversy and confusion. Healy fumbled a leg side stumping off Matthews but then knocked the wayward ball back towards the stumps, Lara was still short of his ground and umpire Prue ruled him out. Television replays showed the wicket-keeper's glove, not the ball, had dislodged the bails, and Healy later said he had told the umpire as much.

Arthurton dominated the rest of the innings, passing his maiden Test century in his seventh Test just before lunch on the third day and reaching his highest first-class score before running out of partners. Batting seven and a half hours, he hit a straight six off Border and 16 fours, mostly through the off side. His only chance was at 72, a return catch to Steve Waugh, although a few runs later he was lucky not to be given out by Prue, caught behind off the same bowler.

A spectacular hailstorm that turned the outfield white in minutes halted play on the third afternoon and the West Indian innings ended soon afterwards. They had a useful lead of 78 but a missed catch in the second over of the fourth morning was to cost them dearly, Boon, then six, edged Ambrose to second slip where Hooper dropped a two-handed chance to his left. Boon, solid as ever, proceeded to his 14th Test century, his third against West Indies. He and Mark Waugh put on 110 at a run a minute before a miscued pull by Boon off Bishop was well caught at cover point. Australia were building a strong position when Ambrose, armed with the new ball, removed three wickets for three runs off 11 deliveries before the close. The match was fascinatingly poised: half an hour before lunch on the final day West Indies were left 231 to win a minimum of 63 overs.

By the interval Haynes, Simmons and Lara had been caught off the outside edge, with only three runs scored, and McDermott's third wicket, Arthurton bowled for nought off the inside edge, made it nine for four. Six of the nine runs had come from a hook by Richardson off Reid. And the captain continued the counter-attack to such effect that, with Hooper his steady partner, West Indies had recovered to 93 for four at tea, 138 short of their goal. Only when Hooper and Williams were dismissed in successive overs on the resumption did Richardson abandon thoughts of winning, but he remained defiant for another hour and 20 minutes before he was seventh out, caught down the leg side, with six overs remaining. Reid accounted for Ambrose but Bishop could not be moved. Neither could Walsh, who nervously survived seven balls before his partner calmly played out the final over from Hughes.

Man of the Match: D. C. Boon. Attendance: 31,749.

Close of play: First day, Australia 259-6 (G. R. J. Matthews 28*, I. A. Healy 2*), Second day, West Indies 195-4 (K. L. T. Arthurton 61*, C. L. Hooper 14*); Third day, Australia 21-0 (D. C. Boon 6*, M. A. Taylor 14*); Fourth day, Australia 266-6 (A. R. Border 6*, I. A. Healy 5*).

© John Wisden & Co