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Match reports

ENGLAND v. WEST INDIES

This Test took two days to get properly moving, but the cricket was always keen and the last three days found the teams locked in a tremendous struggle for supremacy

15-Apr-1970
This Test took two days to get properly moving, but the cricket was always keen and the last three days found the teams locked in a tremendous struggle for supremacy. The sun shone gloriously all the time and altogether 100,500 people attended, the receipts of £67,700 falling only £5,000 short of the world record in the corresponding match of 1968. Batsmen generally held sway, except when England broke down at the beginning of their first innings. The match brought distinction to John Hampshire, who became the first Englishman to hit a century on his Test debut at Lord's. Back in 1893, H. Graham did likewise for Australia. As Illingworth and Boycott also reached three figures, we had three Yorkshiremen making centuries in the same Test.
On Monday, when 19,000 people were present, The Queen, accompanied by Prince Philip and Prince Charles, met the officials and players of both teams who were presented to her in front of the pavilion after lunch. The Royal party stayed for two hours watching the cricket with the committee and players.
Not for the first time, the England selectors decided to enter the match with an unbalanced attack -- of all people they left out Underwood, hoping that the pitch would prove ideal for fast and medium paced bowling, but the first session revealed that a series of bouncers held no terrors for the West Indies and afterwards a fuller length earned more respect and kept down the runs.
West Indies showed three changes compared with Old Trafford; they brought in Camacho, Findlay and Shilingford for Carew, Hendriks and Foster. A total of 246 for four on the first day was not so slow as it seemed, for England sent down only 99 overs. Early, Snow was twice warned by Buller for running down the pitch, whereupon he moved back his mark and avoided further trouble.
West Indies began soundly, Fredericks hooking to good purpose, and their opening stand of 106 assured a substantial total unless they lost their heads. Fredericks, first to leave, struck the ball against his pads for Hampshire to make a smart catch at leg slip. It was the highest first-wicket partnership by West Indies in England, compiled in two and a half hours; Camacho stayed seventy-five more minutes and meanwhile Davis settled down to a sound display, but Butcher went cheaply. The West Indies looked to Sobers to make the most of their promising start. Sobers soon established his authority in a stand of 50, but there was a misunderstanding over taking a leg-bye when the ball bounded forward off Sobers' legs and Boycott from square-leg ran to the wicket, whipping off the bails with the West Indies' captain half-way down the pitch.
The next day Davis made such slow progress that he batted six and a quarter hours for his 103 and could show only six boundaries, though he had the satisfaction of scoring his maiden Test hundred. The real value of his concentrated effort was seen when the first five England wickets were shared by Sobers, Holder and Shepherd for merely 61 runs. At the close on Friday England were 46 for four and Sobers, who had bowled at his quickest, had this analysis: 11-8-9-2.
On Saturday came the transformation. The gates were closed with 27,000 spectators inside the ground. Sharpe soon played on and then followed a wonderful stand by Hampshire and Knott that wrested the initiative from the opposition. It seemed strange that until that day Hampshire, in eight years of first-class cricket, had hit only ten hundreds. He had shown no decent form even this season and only got his place in the absence of Cowdrey, Barrington, Milburn, Graveney and Dexter -- all of whom played against Australia the previous year. Now Hampshire produced the courage and ability to match the occasion which most Yorkshiremen knew that he possessed. For once his concentration did not falter. He excelled in forcing the ball off his legs and driving straight and to the off-side off his back foot. Knott, short and perky, was quick on his feet to get to the pitch of the ball and both men were sure in defence.
To the West Indies' delight Shillingford claimed his first Test wicket by yorking Knott when the stand had put on 128, but England were still 191 behind. By now Sobers was lame and after tea Gibbs took over the captaincy. It was only the second time Sobers had required a substitute in his 75 Tests. Twice Hampshire, who hit fifteen 4's, was struck on the left arm by bouncers from Holder, but he went on nobly to his hundred before Shepherd dismissed him leg-before. Hampshire saw the score rise from 37 for four to 249 for seven during a stay of four hours, ten minutes and he hit fifteen 4's.
Knight and Brown failed but with Illingworth adept in gaining the strike and Snow defending manfully they saw the total to 321 for nine by the close. Illingworth claimed 69 out of 72 in this unbroken stand and needing only three to complete his hundred he made no mistake on Monday morning. In his previous 31 Tests Illingworth's highest score had been 50. His was a grand innings, full of bold strokes and notable for forward play. It lasted three and a half hours and contained twelve 4's.
So West Indies led by no more than 36. Fredericks played another fine innings for his third successive Test sixty but the sweep cost several wickets. Lloyd, in dazzling mood, struck d'Oliveira twice for 6 and also hit eight 4's while scoring 70 in one hundred minutes. Sobers had Camacho as runner and on Tuesday morning the touring team added 48 while losing three more wickets before Sobers declared.
It was a sporting challenge; England wanted 332 in five hours, and 20 overs, if necessary, had to be bowled after the fourth hour. Sobers caused some surprise by bowling 29 overs considering his absence from the field and his batting with a runner, but apparently Illingworth did not object. It seemed that England went into their final task determined not to lose. Boycott occupied two and a half hours for his first 50 and Parfitt two hours for 39, while Sobers was banking on spin bowling on a still perfect pitch. The West Indies reeled off their overs at 21 an hour. Gibbs was their saviour, for he delivered 40 successive overs from the pavilion end for 87 runs.
Sharpe changed England's tune and with Boycott accelerating they put on 126 in ninety minutes, but England had left their bid for victory too late. The downfall of Boycott (sixteen 4's) and Sharpe in the space of a few minutes meant that 61 runs were needed from the last 10 overs and in the end England fell 37 runs short of their objective.