First Test Match

Australia v West Indies 1968-69

Toss: West Indies.

The winning of the toss on a pitch which broke up as the game progressed gave the West Indies a decisive advantage. This was pressed home by Sobers and Gibb, who used the wicket better than their Australian counterparts, the match ending in four days. After the early loss of Camacho to Gleeson on the first morning, Carew and Kanhai guided the West Indies into a strong position with a second-wicket stand of 165. Only Gleeson caused either batsmen any trouble. The stand ended when Carew went for a quick single to mid-off and was thrown out by Lawry. Kanhai holed out next ball to long on and then Connolly with the second new ball tore the innings apart, dismissing Butcher, Sobers and Lloyd at a cost of three runs.

Australia were also given a fine start after losing Redpath in the first over of the innings, for Lawry and Chappell added 217 for the second wicket. Then in desperation Sobers threw the ball to Lloyd who remarkably removed both batsmen in half an hour. Chappell hit seventeen 4's, batting over four hours; Lawry hit twelve 4's in four and three-quarter hours at the wicket. By now there were signs that the ball was turning and Gibbs and Holford soon finished the innings, the last five wickets falling for only 29 runs in fifty-five minutes on the third morning.

Gleeson soon had the West Indies in trouble in their second innings, taking four of the first six wickets to fall and at 178 for six the tourists whereby no means safe. Then Lloyd, who had made a very uncertain start, began to time the ball. Lloyd reached 129 in three and a half hours, hitting eighteen 4's and one 6. Australia were eventually left to score 366 in ten and a half hours, but by now the pitch was taking a lot of spin and only Chappell and Sheahan resisted Sobers (who finished with six for 73) and Gibbs for long, the match ending five minutes before the end of the fourth day.

© John Wisden & Co