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Match reports

England v West Indies

The loss of the whole of Saturday, when the takings were £43,000 with the gates closed at 10.40 a.m

Norman Preston
15-Apr-1977
The loss of the whole of Saturday, when the takings were £43,000 with the gates closed at 10.40 a.m. with thousands locked outside, was a tragedy from all points of view, because on Friday evening there seemed a distinct chance of a positive result.
England had gained a first innings lead of 68 which they had increased to 95 without loss although Wood had retired hurt with a damaged hand. With both sides determined not to lose and West Indies bowling only twelve to fourteen overs an hour, progress was slow.
There was much excitement in the last hour of the match when West Indies set out on an almost impossible chase for runs. They lost wickets and the climax came with England on top and trying to achieve success with the ball, but all was in vain.
Compared with the first Test at Nottingham injuries caused Edrich and Richards to stand down, so that both sides lost a key batsman and each included a spinner, Pocock for England and Jumadeen for West Indies, who introduced their quickest bowler, Holding, who had recovered from a very slight touch of glandular fever.
On Greig winning the toss, England adopted safety first tactics with disastrous results, for during the six hours of the first day they gathered only 197 runs from the 80.4 overs West Indies delivered, for the loss of eight wickets. Only Brearley, Close and Woolmer made any impact while Roberts claimed five victims for 40 runs.
When Brearley and Close put on 84 in two hours, twenty minutes a reasonable total looked likely. Fortunately for England, Underwood and Old hit bravely on Friday morning, adding 52, and their effort inspired the whole side when they went into the field.
Snow not only produced some of his old fire with the ball, but he began by catching Fredericks at long leg and later Greenidge in the deep. He removed Gomes and Kallicharran cheaply so that three wickets were down for 40, but a fine stand of 99 by Greenidge and Lloyd gave West Indies a spell of supreme control that thrilled their supporters. Greenidge hooked Old for 6 and he also hit ten 4's.
Greig had introduced Underwood early in the proceedings -- the England captain had waited five hours at Trent Bridge before calling on him -- and the Kent slow to medium bowler rarely strayed off his immaculate length and line. Moreover, he varied his flight and acquired occasional turn. So he disposed of the most dangerous pair and then swept through the tail, taking five for 39.
England's fielding was superb and towards the end of the day strains of Rule Britannia came from the Tavern in marked contrast to the derisory noises of the previous day.
As the covers were not removed on Saturday the pitch remained unimpaired when the struggle was resumed on Monday -- the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh came in the afternoon but that day the cricket was bereft of regal splendour.
Pocock, Friday's night watchman, soon departed along with Brearley and with Wood uncertain to continue, consolidation was the prevalent mood as far as the batsmen were concerned. All the West Indies performed admirably and Steele and Close were content to pursue a steady course. Close had played Roberts extremely well until he mishit and Holder held a fine right handed catch as he jumped and twisted high in the air.
Roberts kept up his pace and aggression and when he finally removed Underwood he had the excellent match analysis of ten for 123.
West Indies faced a reasonable task: 323 runs to win in roughly five hours, but following their breakdown on Friday they made no attempt in the early stages of their innings to keep the score moving at a reasonable rate. Greenidge was strangely subdued and Fredericks, while full of confidence, delayed his assault.
Kallicharran stayed nearly two and a half hours for 34 and it was not until Lloyd arrived that the batsmen opened up. When twenty overs remained West Indies wanted 154 more runs. With Snow and Wood off the field England had two sprightly substitutes in the Middlesex pair, Barlow and Radley, and soon Greig had seven men on the boundary.
Fredericks fell in the thirteenth over to a catch at deep mid off, having batted four and three-quarter hours for 138, which contained one 6 and fourteen 4's. A faster ball from Greig in the following over disposed of Lloyd and as he walked back he signalled that he was satisfied, but now Greig insisted on playing it out.
Ten fielders crowded close to the bat. Underwood bowled Julien and Gomes, but only 13 balls were left when Holder joined Murray and England still wanted four more wickets. Only when this was impossible in the middle of the last over did Greig call it a day.
So ended a remarkable struggle which drew 99,944 people who paid record receipts of £156,000.