First Test

Australia v West Indies 1960-61

Toss: West Indies. Test debuts: Wset Indies - P.D.Lashley, C.W.Smith.

Quite apart from gaining a niche in cricket history as the first Test to end in a tie this match will always be remembered with enthusiasm because of its excellent cricket. It was played in a most sporting spirit, with the climax coming in a tremendously exciting finish as three wickets fell in the final over.

Australia, set to score 233 runs at a rate of 45 an hour for victory, crumbled before the fiery, sustained pace of Hall, and lost five wickets for 57. The sixth fell at 92. Then the drama began to build up as Davidson, the Australian allrounder who enjoyed a magnificent match, was joined by Benaud, in a stand which added 134. They were still together half an hour before time, with 27 neede, when Hall took the new ball - a crucial stage.

In the event, however, the West Indies fieldsmen, often at fault during the match, rose to the occasion so that three of the last four batsmen to fall were run out in the desperate race against time. The first run-out came when Benaud called for a sharp single, but Solomon hit the stumps from mid-wicket to dismiss Davidson. Grout came in and took a single off Sobers, so that when the last momentous over from Hall began, six runs were needed with three wickets left.

The first ball hit Grout on the thigh and a leg-bye resulted; from the second Benuad gave a catch at the wicket as he swung mightily. Meckiff played the third back to the bowler, but when the fourth went through to the wicket-keeper, the batsmen scampered a run. Hall missing a chance to run out Meckiff as the wicketkeeper threw the ball to him. Grout hit the fifth ball high into the air, Hall attempted to take the catch himself, but the ball bounced out, and another run had been gained. Meckiff hit the sixth ball high and to leg, but Hunte cut off the boundary as the batsmen turned for a third run which would have given Australia victory. Hunte threw in superbly, low and fast, and Grout was run out by a foot. So Kline came into face the last two balls with the scores level. He played the seventh ball of the over towards square leg and Meckiff, backing up well, raced down the wicket, only to be out when Solomon again threw down the wicket with only the width of his stump as his target. So ended a match in which both sides had striven throughout for victory with no thought of safety first.

West Indies attacked the bowling from the start of the match only to lose three men for 65 before Sobers, who hit a masterly century in just over two hours, including fifteen 4s, and Worrell mastered the bowling. Solomon, Alexander and Hall added valuable contributions to an innings which yielded 4.5 runs an over, despite much excellent pace bowling by Davidson. Australia succeeded in establishing a lead of 52, largely through the determination of Simpson and O'Neill, who made his highest Test score without reaching his very best form.

Indeed, West Indies missed several chances at vital time. More fine bowling by Davidson caused West Indies to battle hard for runs in their second innings, and they owed much to some high class batting from Worrell for their respectable total, swelled usefully on the final morning by a last-wicket stand of 31 between Hall and Valentine.

© John Wisden & Co