BestXI: West Indies performances in England

By July 04, 2020
Gordon Greenidge Gordon Greenidge

The West Indies are about to play against England in England for the Wisden Trophy and we at SportsMax thought it may be interesting to look back at the best performances from the Caribbean side in that country.

The West Indies lead England in head to heads, 57-49, with 51 drawn games between the teams.

The teams began to play for the Wisden Trophy in 1963 and since then have won the series 14 times to England’s 10, though this year’s hosts have been dominant recently, save for last year when the West Indies wrested the trophy from them in a 2-1 win. There have been three drawn series since 1963.

But performing in England has always been tough and good performances there have always been counted at a premium, living in the memories of batsmen, bowlers and fans for a very very long time.

Here are the performances that stand out in my mind, tell me if you have others you remember. Comment on these performances on Facebook or Twitter, I wouldn’t mind the trip down memory lane.

 

Best XI West Indian performances in England

 

Allan Rae and Frank Worrell lay into England (The Oval 1950)

Centuries from Allan Rae and Frank Worrell helped the West Indies to win their first series against England in England.

The West Indies would end up winning the series 3-1 but that was set up from the first innings of the first Test where, electing to bat first, Rae bat for five hours to score 109, while Worrell, batting at number three, did the same to score 138.

The West Indies would go on to score 503, before limiting England to 344 and 103 to win by an innings and 56 runs.

 

Sobers goes on show, Charlie Griffiths works up a head of steam (Headingley (1963)

Sir Garfield Sobers scored 102 against England at Headingley as the West Indies won the fourth Test of their 1963 series against England, setting up a first-innings total of 397, which quickly turned into a 223-run lead thanks to Charlie Griffiths’ 6-36. The performances set up a 221-run victory and the series would end 3-1 in favour of the visitors.

 

Lance Gibbs turns Old Trafford on its head (Old Trafford, 1966)

In 1966 Lance Gibbs was the greatest spinner in the world and England crumbled at the feet of his twirling in the first Test of their series. Following on from Garfield Sobers’ 161 in a first innings at Old Trafford where the West Indies scored 484, Gibbs’ 5-37 left England flapping at 167 all out. The follow-on didn’t go any better for the hosts, with Gibbs bagging 5-69 from a marathon 41 overs of bowling. The West Indies would go on to win that 1966 series 3-1.

 

Lloyd, Boyce take over the Oval (The Oval, 1973)

Cllive Lloyd scored 132 in the first innings of the first Test at The Oval in 1973, but that was just part of the story of the way the West Indies dominated made their way to a 158-run victory and a 2-0 series win against England. Keith Boyce only played 21 Tests for the West Indies over the course of four years but in 1973 England had no answer to him. Lloyd’s Innings proved the catalyst fo the West Indies’ 415-run first innings byt then Boyce returned to bag 5-70 to restrict England to 257 and give the visitors a decided advantage. The West Indies would quickly score 255 before Boyce was back at it again, taking 6-77 on the way to dismissing England for 255.

 

VIV Richards shows complete dominance (Trent Bridge, 1976)

Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards is a name that really needs no introduction and England would feel the brunt of his brutality on many occasions. In 1976, the West Indies won a five-Test series in England 3-0, but Richards was dominant from ball one. Batting at his customary number three in the first Test of the series, Richards would help the West Indies to 494 runs in a first innings where he slammed 232. When England responded with 332 in their first innings, the West Indies needed to score quick runs so they could declare with enough time to bowl England out a second time. Richards obliged with 63 and even though the match ended in a draw, the performance of the Master Blaster.

 

Gordon Greenidge puts his name in the Lord’s book in emphatic style  (Lord’s 1984)

The second Test of a series against England at Lord’s had a number of brilliant performances from both teams. England’s Graeme Fowler had scored a fighting 106 in his side’s 286. The low total was brought about by Malcolm Marshall’s special bowling performance of 6-85. That bowling performance was superseded by Ian Botham’s 8-103 to help restrict the West Indies to 245. In the second innings, England declared on 300-9 thanks to Allan Lamb’s 110. Chasing 341 in the second innings, Gordon Greenidge eclipsed all those performances with a sparkling 214 not out, as the West Indies romped to 344-1 in just 66.1 overs. Larry Gomes got a front seat to the action, scoring 92. The West Indies would go on to win the series 5-0.

 

Malcolm Marshall leaves England a little short (Lord’s 1988)

From the lates 1970s until the mid-1990s the West Indies could depend on one part or another of their team to pull them out of tough situations. In the second Test of their 1988 Wisden Trophy series against England, they were up against it early with Gus Logie’s 81 helping the West Indies to just 209. But Malcolm Marshall proved that any total could be enough, destroying England with 6-32 and leaving the game well balanced and maybe giving the West Indies a slight advantage.

Gordon Greenidge’s 103 gave the West Indies a good lead headed into England’s second innings and despite Allan Lamb’s 113, Marshall’s brilliance meant they never got close. The West Indies won by 134 runs and Marshall took 4-60 to end with figures of 10-92.

 

The Ambrose and Walsh show take over Trent Bridge (Trent Bridge, 1991)

The West Indies conveyor belt of fastbowlers had begun to run dry by 1991 but they still had the services of Malcolm Marshall, Courtney Andrew Walsh and Curtly Ambrose. And while they would lose the Wisden Trophy to England that year, there was one Test at Trent Bridge where Ambrose and Walsh reminded the world of the great days of fastbowling and pointed to what would become the most successful opening bowling partnership in World cricket for the next 10 years. In the first innings, led by Graeme Gooch’s 68, England scored 300 all out, but it would have been a much higher total had it not been for 34 overs from Ambrose that yielded 5-74. The West Indies would go into the second innings with a healthy 97-run lead, thanks in large part to Viv Richards’ 80. When England bat again, Walsh made sure the West Indies would not have much to chase, bagging 4-64. In that England second innings, Ambrose had 3-61.

 

Richie Richardson plays anchor role (Edgbaston, 1991)

Richie Richardson had the reputation for being an aggressive batsman, who hooked and pulled his way out of trouble for the most part, but at Edgbaston, in 1991 a different type of batsman was called for. England had been dismissed for 188 courtesy of Malcolm Marshall, 4-33, and Curtly Ambrose, 3-64. But the West Indies were in trouble with the bat as well, with Chris Lewis running rampant for England with 6-111. Standing in the way though, Richardson, recognizing that wickets were falling all around him, faced 229 deliveries to score 104, his strike rate of 45.41, unusually low for his aggressive nature. The innings helped the West Indies to 292 and set up a seven-wicket win  

 

Lara’s 179, Hooper’s 127 keeps things even against England (Kennington Oval, 1995)

With the six-Test series tied at 2-2 headed into the final game, the West Indies, a team in decline by 1995, needed to make sure they did not lose.

England had scored 454 thanks to Graeme Hick’s 96 and despite Curtly Ambrose’s 5-96. Replying, the West Indies scored 692-8, building a lead of  238 to make sure the game could not be lost. The total is still the biggest without featuring a double-century from a batsman, but there was still much brilliance on show. Brian Lara for instance, scored a masterful 179 from just 206 deliveries, slamming 26 fours and a six. But Lara didn’t have to do it alone, with Carl Hooper scoring 127, skipper Richie Richardson, scoring 93, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, scoring 80, and Sherwin Campbell scoring 89. As a team, that was probably the last time the West Indies showed complete dominance with the bat in England.

 

Shai Hope becomes an immortal at Headingley (Headingley 2017)

Still a growing team, the West Indies unit that went to England in 2017 were expected to be thrashed and they were. While the defeat in the three-Test series was only 2-1, and the a result came down to the final Test, the truth is the teams were world’s apart. In that second Test though, the West Indies learned they could not only compete, but they could win in England. Ben Stokes had scored a century to prop up England’s first innings at 258, as Shannon Gabriel and Kemar Roach with four wickets apiece gave West Indies real hope. Then Kraigg Brathwaite with 134 and Shai Hope with 147, pushed the West Indies advantage, the innings ending at 427. England were up against it but batted well to score 490-8 and give the West Indies a serious total to chase. Again, Brathwaite and Hope were on show. Brathwaite fell for 95, agonizingly close to a second century in the match, but there was no stopping Hope, who was unbeaten at the end, scoring 118to lead the West Indies to 322-5 and a famous victory.

Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre is the Managing Editor at SportsMax.tv. He comes to the role with almost 20 years of experience as journalist. That experience includes all facets of media. He began as a sports Journalist in 2001, quickly moving into radio, where he was an editor before becoming a news editor and then an entertainment editor with one of the biggest media houses in the Caribbean.

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