In honour of: The last time West Indies won the first Test in England

By Ricardo Chambers July 15, 2020

What the West Indies achieved by winning the first test of the ongoing bio-secure series in England is a rare recent feat not done since 2000.

As we all know by now, the last Test series win by the West Indies in England came in 1988.

In the series that followed in 1991 and 1995, the Richie Richardson-led West Indies were highly competitive by drawing both those campaigns 2-all.

That competitiveness spilt over to the turn of the century as Jimmy Adams’ men won the first test of the 2000 series by a whopping innings and 93 runs at Edgbaston.

However, after that triumph, the West Indies went 18 matches without a win in the motherland.

Successive captains, Adams, Brian Lara, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Daren Ganga, Chris Gayle and Daren Sammy were metaphorically, and at times even literally battered and bruised.

It took Jason Holder and a group of unheralded men to end the carnage in what is now considered the “famous win at Headingley” in 2017.      

Those men are back in England, with a little more respect to their names having regained the Wisden trophy at home in early 2019 but they are still far from the feared force that last won a series in England or even the team that was ultimately spanked 3-1 in 2000.

That tour the team played brilliantly in the opening Test.

The side had just come off confidence-boosting home wins against Zimbabwe and Pakistan.

They also had the brilliance of Brian Lara, who missed those home series after taking a break from the game as he licked his wounds from a disastrous tour of New Zealand which forced him to resign as captain.

West Indies batted just once, making 397.

Lara’s welcomed return, at-least for this 10-year-old, produced an even 50.

Jimmy Adams, 98, and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 73, also produced fine knocks but it was the bowling of Courtney Walsh that proved pivotal to England’s downfall.

Walsh, by that time, the leading wicket-taker in Test cricket history, bagged match figures of 8 for 58 as England were rolled over for 179 and 125.

All was well with West Indies cricket again, hope filled the Caribbean and judging by that performance it seemed West Indies were likely to conquer the hosts in a manner reminiscent of the 1970s and ‘80s.

But we were surely mistaken as England dominated the remainder of the campaign and has since dominated at home.

Jason Holder’s men have already done more than many expected or even thought possible.

In 2017, they won their first Test in England since 2000, now they have won the first Test for the first time since 2000.

For now, the region is filled with joy and hope.

We honour the performance at Edgbaston in 2000 but even so, we hope the disaster that followed will not be repeated here but rather that Jason Holder’s men can go all the way and repeat the feat of Viv Richards’ team of 1988.

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