The West Indies went from strength to strength as the 1980s rolled on, and England bore the brunt of their firepower more than any other team. In the fourth of this five-part series, we look back at the period when the men in maroon caps reached their peak on English soil.
Greenidge slays England again – Fourth Test, Old Trafford, 1984
Gordon Greenidge notched his second double hundred of the series, as he bettered his Lord’s score with a determined 223 that took nine hours and 45 minutes. He rescued the West Indies from 70/4, adding 197 for the fifth wicket with wicketkeeper Jeff Dujon (101) and 170 for the sixth wicket with Winston Davis (77). By the time he was eighth out at 470, England were on the mat. The eventual total was exactly 500.
England started well through an opening stand of 90, but save for Allan Lamb (100*), none of the batsmen could score substantially, and the innings terminated at 280. Joel Garner picked up 4/51, while Eldine Baptiste contributed with 3/31. As England followed on, it was the off-spin of Roger Harper (6/57) that inflicted the most damage for a change, completing a West Indian win by an innings and 64 runs.
A historic blackwash – Fifth Test, The Oval, 1984
Though the West Indies were all out for 190 (captain Clive Lloyd top-scoring with 60*), they seized a first-innings lead of 28 thanks to Malcolm Marshall (5/35). With over three days still left at this point, Desmond Haynes proceeded to churn out a patient 125, which guided the score from 69/3 towards 346. Michael Holding, in what would be his last Test in England, bagged 5/43 as England slid to defeat by 172 runs.
This historic 5-0 ‘blackwash’ thus underlined the quality of the all-conquering West Indian side – never before had England been blanked in a home Test series. Greenidge finished with 572 runs at 81.71, and was deservedly named as the player of the series. Garner led the wickets table with 29 scalps at 18.62. For good measure, the West Indies achieved another 5-0 sweep in the return series at home in 1985-86.
Logie and Marshall make the difference – Second Test, Lord’s, 1988
The first Test at Trent Bridge was a rain-affected draw, after which it was business as usual for the West Indies, now with Vivian Richards at the helm. It was England who had the upper hand at the outset, as the visitors nosedived to 54/5. The much-needed revival came through a sixth-wicket stand of 130 between Gus Logie (81) and Dujon (53), before the last five wickets fell for only 25 to end the innings at 209.
Marshall was in his element, and handed the West Indies a lead of 44 with figures of 6/32. Greenidge (103) continued his liking for English bowling, while Logie (95*) and Dujon (52) starred again, this time adding 131 for the sixth wicket. These efforts helped the West Indies set a target of 442. Marshall (4/60) duly completed his ten-wicket haul as England were dismissed for 307, despite Lamb scoring a valiant 113.
Relentless Marshall at it again – Third Test, Old Trafford, 1988
England crumbled for 135 on the opening day, giving an indication of the direction in which the match was headed. Marshall warmed up by taking the first two wickets, before Courtney Walsh helped himself to 4/46. The West Indies had not exactly taken control when they were 187/5 in response, but Dujon (67) extended his good run with the bat, sharing in a sixth-wicket partnership of 97 with Harper (74).
Harper added a further 92 for the seventh wicket with Marshall, enabling a declaration at 384/9. Marshall removed Graham Gooch and Mike Gatting early, and England began the final day at 60/3, facing an uphill task to save the game. It did not last long, as Marshall, aided by Curtly Ambrose, destroyed the rest of the batting en route to a career-best 7/22. England capitulated from 73/3 to be shot out for just 93.
No end to the pace onslaught – Fourth Test, Headingley, 1988
The beleaguered hosts had a third captain in Chris Cowdrey, after Gatting in the first Test and John Emburey in the next two. They also made six more changes to the eleven that was drubbed at Old Trafford. It mattered little though, as the West Indies clinched the rubber convincingly. Ambrose (4/58), Marshall and Winston Benjamin combined to bundle England out for 201 after Richards elected to field.
Haynes, who had not played at Old Trafford due to injury, struck 54 to hold the top order together. England did well to have the score at 210/7, but Harper (56) rallied with the tail to carry the total to 275. Except for Gooch (50), no batsman stood up to the pace quartet in the second innings, which came to a close at 138. Haynes and Dujon (Greenidge sat the match out) sealed a ten-wicket win early on the fifth day.
The Caribbean reign goes on – Fifth Test, The Oval, 1988
The captaincy circus continued for England (who ended up trying 23 players in the series), with Gooch being in charge for the final Test. Their batting woes prolonged too, as Marshall, Ambrose and Harper took three wickets each to limit the total to 205. The West Indies wobbled to 57/4 in reply before folding for 183, giving England the rare satisfaction of obtaining a lead. The dependable Dujon top-scored with 64.
Benjamin (4/52) was the pick of the bowlers as England sought to nudge ahead, but Gooch (who scored 84 and finished the series with 459 runs) again lacked support. The West Indies had over two days to get 226 for victory, which was attained by eight wickets thanks to a stand of 131 between reunited openers Greenidge (77) and Haynes (77*). Marshall was the series’ standout bowler with 35 wickets at just 12.65.