First Test Match


At Kingston, Jamaica, March 1, 2, 3, 5, 6. Drawn. Toss: West Indies. An engrossing match, with exciting possibilities over the final two days, was spoiled by the loss of the fourth day and the first session of the fifth. The frustration at having such great expectations dashed was compounded by the reason - the inadequacy of the flat, tarpaulin covers and the incompetence of the ground authority which allowed the heavy rain on the rest day to leak on to a critical portion of the pitch at the northern end, and to turn the bowler's approach at the same end into a quagmire. The embarrassment of the Jamaica Cricket Association was matched by the fury of the local media, especially as it was the lack of proper equipment which had caused the abandonment of the fourth day of the Test against England a year earlier. When stumps were drawn on the third afternoon, West Indies had recovered three times from desperate situations to be 80 ahead with eight second-innings wickets standing.

Their initial problems had been caused by the speed, accuracy and hostility of McDermott, staunchly supported by Hughes, which left them 75 for six midway through the first day. At that point, one of their main batsmen, Logie, was having seven stitches inserted to a cut above his right eye, inflicted, in spite of the grille on his helmet, when he missed a hook against McDermott, who had earlier caused the retirement of Haynes, from a blow on the toe, and required Greenidge to receive on-field treatment for a knock on the shoulder blade. This subsequently prevented Greenidge from fielding. Having baited Richards into hooking a catch to long leg, McDermott was recalled after lunch to remove Greenidge, the returning Haynes, and Marshall; but Australia's advance was halted by a partnership of 69 between Dujon and Ambrose, which had the added value of allowing Logie to recover in time to resume his innings when Ambrose provided Waugh with his first Test wicket. Seemingly unperturbed by his injury, Logie moved from 9 to 77 with dazzling strokeplay, his innings, from just 110 balls, containing twelve fours. Dujon, who spent three and a half hours in making his highest score in his last 26 Test innings, was similarly essential to the West Indian recovery.

The pitch was at its best on the second day, and Marsh and Taylor spent the first half of it consolidating Australia's position with a stand of 139. When they were out within 20 runs of each other, and Border and Jones later departed in successive overs, the dogged Boon denied West Indies a complete breakthrough. Having put on 68 with Border, he added 101 with Waugh as Australia went ahead, but the loss of the last six wickets for 42 in fifteen overs, four to Patterson's telling accuracy, limited Australia's lead. The collapse left Boon unbeaten after 6 hours 25 minutes with his tenth Test century (nine fours), his resolve unshaken either by the wickets tumbling around him or a cut on the chin from a Patterson bouncer when he was 95.

Greenidge and Haynes, the latter in particular, responded to the deficit of 107 with a stroke-filled assault that took the Australians by surprise. The pair's fifteenth century partnership in Tests put West Indies ahead before McDermott applied the brakes with an outstanding spell of thirteen overs, in which he dismissed both within the space of 16 runs. Haynes had fourteen fours in his 84. The Australians were convinced that Richardson had the better of an appeal for a leg-side catch by Healy off Waugh just before the end of the third day, but this became irrelevant when the remainder of the match was reduced to scarcely more than a meaningless half day. Richardson did go on to record his sixth century against Australia- his eleventh overall in Tests - while Richards became West Indies' highest scorer in Test cricket, overtaking Sir Garfield Sobers's 8,032 when he was 32. Border went past 9,000 runs in Tests and Haynes 6,000, and McDermott took his 100th wicket in his 27th Test.

Men of the Match: D. C. Boon and A. L. Logie.

Close of play: First day, Australia 4-0 ( G. R. Marsh 0*, M. A. Taylor 2*); Second day, Australia 296-4 ( D. C. Boon 71*, M. E. Waugh 22*); Third day, West Indies 187-2 ( R. B. Richardson 33*, C. L. Hooper 11*); Fourth day, No play.

© John Wisden & Co