Fourth Test Match


West Indies just failed to complete their twelfth consecutive Test victory because of Lloyd's surprising caution in delaying his second innings declaration until quarter of an hour into the final day. This cost precious time that West Indies could have used as Australia desperately held out at the end of the match.

As was the case in each of the previous Tests, West Indies lost their first five wickets for under 200 but then rallied to a sizeable total after Border had put them in. McDermott, in his début Test, dismissed Richardson, Gomes and Dujon in the space of seven balls in his second spell, but after ten consecutive Test innings without a half-century Richards returned to form with a vengeance. Understandably careful on the opening day, at the end of which he was 82, he accelerated on the second to reach his third double-century in Tests before he was last out, caught at long-on. His main scoring strokes in six and a quarter hours were three 6s and 22 4s, and his partnership of 139 with Marshall pushed West Indies to a virtually invincible total.

Hilditch, returning to Test cricket after a break to five years, and Wessels launched a strong Australian reply with a second-wicket partnership of 123, but once Harper bowled Hilditch and Hughes failed again, the innings went into a disappointing though not unusual decline. Only a last-wicket stand of 43 between Bennett and Hogg prevented the follow-on. Once again Wessels fell in the 90s to Marshall, who took five wickets for the fourth consecutive innings.

Poor light ended play an hour early on the third day, and incisive bowling by Lawson and McDermott restrained West Indies' second innings until Dujon and Lloyd put on 86 prior to Lloyd's declaration, the former benefiting from two chances. Lawson was the subject of an official protest from the West Indians after an incident involving Greenidge and was fined $500 and bonded for $1,500 for his overall behavior on the field.

When Garner dismissed Wood, Wessels and Hughes (first ball) with the total at 17 well before lunch, West Indies appeared certain to win, but Hilditch, appreciating a slow, featureless pitch, dug in for a determined century (seven 4s, 339 minutes, 273 balls) and received crucial assistance from Border, Rixon and, finally, Bennett.

© John Wisden & Co