Fourth Test Match


For two and a half days this Test followed the identical course of the previous two before erupting to the most dramatically exciting finish. After winning the toss on a very easy paced pitch the West Indies batsmen threw their wickets away one after the other with a series of careless strokes. Even a magnificent innings by Sobers, who made 110 in two hours, twelve minutes with two 6's and fourteen 4's could not take them past 300. Sobers batted almost disdainfully and did as he wanted with the Australian attack, but this innings would have been more valuable to his side if he had come in at, say, the fall of the second wicket. For this match the West Indies had brought in Griffith and Holford for Edwards and Hall; Australia kept to their winning side.

On the second and third days Australia almost inevitably built up a huge total. Stackpole, Lawry, Chappell and Sheahan all made attractive fifties while Walters reached an efficient 110 and Australia were 257 ahead. It was now that the West Indies batsmen collectively seemed to find the determination which had been so badly lacking since Brisbane. Kanhai, Carew, who succeeded in hitting Gleeson (one for 176) out of the attack in a super innings of 90, Nurse, whose 40 was about the best innings of the match, Sobers, Lloyd and Butcher (118) all played well. But even now careless strokes cost most of them their wickets when they were well set and twenty-five minutes before tea on the fourth day the West Indies, at 492 for eight, were only 235 ahead with nearly a day and a half remaining.

Hendriks now joined Holford and in a ninth-wicket stand of 122 in two hours, twenty minutes they took the West Indies past 600 and almost certainly to safety. Australia's target on the last day was 360 in five and three-quarter hours. They were given such a splendid start by Lawry, Stackpole, Chappell and Walters that when the last hour began, in which 15 overs had to be bowled, Australia were 298 for three needing 62 from 120 balls. Then Chappell was lbw to Griffith and in the next fifteen minutes, Walters, Freeman and Jarman were run out by a mixture of good fielding and bad calling by Sheahan, who had a hand in all three. McKenzie then swept Gibbs to square leg and Gleeson was lbw to Griffith leaving Sheahan and Connolly, the last pair, to face 26 balls. Sobers took the new ball against Connolly, but swung it wildly down the leg side while Sheahan played two maidens from Gibbs with Australia 21 short of victory.

© John Wisden & Co