The Walcott and Miller Show
West Indies v Australia, fifth Test, 1955
From a West Indies perspective, this was Clyde Walcott‘s Test. He scored two centuries in a match for the second time in the series – a feat never before accomplished. While solid in defence, he drove, pulled and cut his way to 155 in the first innings and 110 in the second. His efforts, however, were dwarfed by a rampaging Australia. Their first (and only) innings featured five centurions – a record – including a double for Neil Harvey, which set up Australia’s highest ever Test total, 758 for 8 declared. More impactful than even Walcott was Keith Miller, who supplemented a century of his own with eight wickets in the match as the tourists marched to an emphatic innings victory.
Garry goes big
West Indies v Pakistan, third Test, 1958
Three years later, it was the home side who enjoyed a massive innings win after registering their highest Test total. This time the limelight belonged almost exclusively to 21-year-old Garry Sobers. Batting at No. 3, Sobers hit 38 fours on his way to an unbeaten 365, the highest individual Test score at the time. This sent the crowd into such raptures that they swarmed onto the pitch in celebration, damaging it and leading to the loss of the last 55 minutes of the fourth day. West Indies declared overnight on 790 for 3. Sobers’ monumental knock aside, Conrad Hunte scored a career-best 260 during a 446-run second-wicket stand, and Eric Atkinson collected a haul of eight wickets.
Viv flays ’em
West Indies v India, first Test, 1983
A last-session thriller. A West Indies side in their pomp had to overcome both a fighting India and the elements to squeak to a four-wicket win in the nick of time. Both teams put up middling first-innings totals with only three runs separating them, and India had moved to 81 for 3 in the second dig when rain washed out day four. With India still batting, on 168 for 6, at tea on day five, the match looked dead. Then Andy Roberts took three wickets in the first over after the resumption, and another soon after, to bring the Indian innings to an abrupt end. Chasing 172 in 26 overs, West Indies raced towards the target, with Viv Richards smashing 61 off 36. When he was out, they still required 16 off two and a half overs, but Jeff Dujon got them home with four balls to spare.
A humbling at home
West Indies v England, first Test, 1990
As shock results go, this was right up there (rated 9.0 on Rob Steen’s authoritative shockometer). After rolling the hosts over for 164, Graham Gooch’s side amassed a 200-run lead, largely on the back of Allan Lamb‘s feisty century. West Indies did only slightly better in their second innings, leaving England a modest fourth-innings chase, which they completed for the loss of one wicket. West Indies’ first loss to England in 16 years, and their first loss at Sabina Park in 35 years, could scarcely have been more crushing. For England, the famous win was an auspicious start to the careers of Nasser Hussain and Alec Stewart (who were, however, both dismissed for 13 in the first innings).
Lara gets going
West Indies v Australia, second Test, 1999
After the Waugh brothers had shored up Australia’s first innings to help the tourists post 256, West Indies slipped to 34 for 4, and had Pedro Collins retire hurt soon thereafter. Then Brian Lara switched to demon mode. In the company of Jimmy Adams, he made a sublime 213 that many hailed as among his best Test innings. His masterful onslaught carried his side to 431 and seemed to stun Australia into submission. Their limp second innings was only just enough to force West Indies to bat again. That was a formality; a target of 3 was knocked off in as many balls to seal a victory that had been set up by one of the all-time great innings.