GALLE, Sri Lanka (CMC) – Sixteen years ago Tuesday marked an historic day in West Indies limited-over cricket history when the now legendary Sir Curtly Ambrose sent down the second most economical spell on the format’s history.
The beanpole seamer bowled 10 overs and took one wicket for five runs against Sri Lanka at the Sharjah International Stadium. The spell included the crucial wicket of Sanath Jayasuriya who was caught behind by Ridley Jacobs.
Only Phil Simmons’s amazing four wickets for three runs off 10 overs against Pakistan at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 1992, has been better.
Sir Curtly, now the West Indies team’s bowling consultant, recalled the performance as the Caribbean side prepared to do battle in the first Test against Sri Lanka which bowled off here Wednesday.
“From what I can remember it was extremely hot, as you know Sharjah is always very hot,” said Sir Curtly.
“I decided to bowl right through as I was in very good groove and it worked out. Brian Lara was the captain and he said ‘Ambi if you bowl through and go for about 15, that would build the pressure and force them to come after us in the back end’.”
Sir Curtly added: “So I decided to bowl my 10 overs straight and they couldn’t get me off the square. But it was very hard work in some very hot conditions. To concede just five runs was truly remarkable, but it took everything I had in me.”
West Indies restricted the Sri Lankans to 178 off 49.3 overs with two wickets going to fast bowler Nixon Mclean and the occasional medium pace of Sherwin Campbell.
The Windies went on to win the match with four balls to spare, scoring 181 for seven, with left-hander Jimmy Adams top-scoring with 74 not out.
Sir Curtly is the second leading wicket-taker in West Indies ODI history, with 225 wickets from 176 matches at 24 runs apiece.
He also took 405 wickets in 98 Test matches.