Second Cornhill Test



A game, which began with three memorable innings, was submerged, as were seven Lord's Tests during the 1970s, in a waterlogged finish. The loss of more than eight hours on the last two days almost certainly saved England from going two down in the series. Richards, of course, operated on a higher plane than anyone else, and it is a measure of Gooch's skills that he was not far behind in stroke production; especially taking into account the difference in the ferocity of the respective attacks. Haynes, who beat the Lord's West Indies record of 168 not out set by his manager Clyde Walcott in 1950, showed high application, a phlegmatic temperament and a fair range of shots on the Saturday. But whereas Richards produces these innings almost at will, the two other century-makers surpassed anything they had achieved before for their countries.

West Indies adjusted their pace quartet and brought in Croft for Marshall. England, doubtless with some reluctance, dropped Gower, Gatting returned - he had last played for England in New Zealand in 1978 - and Underwood replaced Lever for his first home Test since his two years with Packer.

England's innings had a disjointed start with a break for bad light and the loss of Boycott. This made Gooch's display even more creditable. Tavaré stood secure while Gooch played with an authority and power seldom seen from an Englishman in the last fifteen years or so. His driving was especially fruitful, he was quick to position himself to hook the short ball, and he sailed nonchalantly past his century, showing no sign that he had waited 36 Test innings to reach the mark. He made his runs out of 165 and was out fifteen minutes before tea, having batted just over three and a half hours with one 6 and seventeen 4s. At tea the virtually passive Tavaré was a mere 27, England, naturally, could not sustain Gooch's pace or command and, with Garner and Holding now posing considerable problems with their speed and control, West Indies struck back hard in the last session. Tavaré and Woolmer had to be dug out - Tavaré after almost five hours - but Gatting and Botham played loose shots, and at the close England has slipped from 165 for one to a disappointing 232 for seven.

The new ball ensured that Knott and Willey could not organise a revival on the second morning. In forty minutes batting before lunch, Greenidge introduced England to the mauling they were to encounter over the next two days by carving Willis's first three balls for 4. These blows also illustrated how sharply England's fielding had descended in one year from the athletic to the laboured. England were delighted to dismiss Greenidge in the second over after lunch, but all elation evaporated as Richards, in his first Test at Lord's exploded into action. England seemed determined to give him few on-side scoring opportunities but, as with all the greatest batsmen, tactics and theories become irrelevant. Botham's populated off-side field was penetrated by five smooth boundaries. Richards eased past 50 and in one over from Underwood hit four 4s to all parts of the compass. Cricket appeared faintly Iudicrous when, immediately after this fusillade, play halted briefly for bad light, Richards' dazzling century took just one hundred and twenty-five minutes and he went on to bat two hundred minutes, hitting 100 runs in 4s, with one 6 off Willey. His dismissal, when it came, was decidedly freakish after all that preceded it: an innocuous ball scooped to substitute Dilley at square-leg.

On any other day Haynes' 92 not out would have bought wide attention, but he earned a full share of notice on Saturday when England's bowling continued to be weakened by the absence of Hendrick with thigh trouble. Night-watchman Croft departed cheaply, but Kallicharran helped Haynes add 51 in just over an hour. The new ball accounted for Bacchus before Lloyd, stroking the ball around in his old casual fashion, contributed 56 to a stand of 107 in 88 minutes. When Haynes left after batting nearly eight and a quarter hours, with one 6 and 27 4s, England's torment was prolonged a further hour.

Faced with forty minutes batting on the Saturday night and a deficit of 249, Gooch attacked the mountain belligerently, both then and in the half hour's play that was possible on Monday before the rain set in at mid-day. On the final day Boycott carried his overnight 13 to 49 and did enough to ensure that England would probably have forced a draw through their own efforts and without the two thunderstorms that saved them the trouble. Woolmer had joined Boycott at 12.30 p.m. and in their hour together they did more than just survive. Survival, regrettably, had been Tavaré's only aim.

Richards took the Man of the Match award. The attendance was 77,002; the receipts were £292,595.

© John Wisden & Co