Specials – Milestone Tests for the West Indies

The West Indies completed their 550th Test match recently, going down to New Zealand by an innings and 12 runs at the Basin Reserve in Wellington. On that note, here is a look back at how they have fared in their milestone Tests over the years.

50th Test – lost to England by nine wickets, Georgetown, 1953-54

This was the third Test of a five-match series. England, down by 2-0, rode on captain Len Hutton’s 169 to post 435 – he added 150 for the third wicket with Denis Compton (64). Brian Statham (4/64) reduced the West Indies to 16/3 in reply, and despite Everton Weekes’ 94, the hosts followed on 184 in arrears. The second innings was a similar tale, with only John Holt (64) passing fifty, leaving England with a target of 75.

100th Test – beat Australia by 179 runs, Kingston, 1964-65

The West Indies slumped from 149/3 to 149/6 in this series opener, before debutant Tony White (57*) steered the total to 239. Laurie Mayne, also on debut, returned 4/43. Wes Hall then grabbed 5/60 to hand the West Indies a lead of 22. Conrad Hunte (81), Basil Butcher (71) and Joe Solomon (76) all starred in the second innings, setting a steep target of 396 for Australia. Hall duly collected 4/45 to complete his bag of ten.

150th Test – drew with England, Georgetown, 1973-74

With England looking to neutralise the hosts’ 1-0 lead in this fourth of five Tests, centuries from Dennis Amiss (118) and Tony Greig (121) gave them hope by ensuring a total of 448 across the first two days. However, rain played spoilsport, and only a total of 86.5 overs were possible on the next three days, including a washout of the fourth day. The West Indies were placed at 198/4, with Roy Fredericks scoring 98.   

200th Test – drew with England, Headingley, 1980

A rain-affected draw in this fifth and final Test gave the West Indies a 1-0 triumph. Play commenced on the second day, with the pace quartet of Michael Holding, Colin Croft, Joel Garner and Malcolm Marshall skittling England for 143. The West Indies responded with 245, after which England declared at 227/6 – the fourth day was entirely lost. This was the last of 62 Tests for West Indian gloveman Deryck Murray.

250th Test – drew with New Zealand, Wellington, 1986-87

Garner (5/51) led the way as New Zealand were bowled out for 228, even as John Wright made 75. The opening pair of Gordon Greenidge (78) and Desmond Haynes (121) put on 150, before New Zealand clawed back to limit the visitors’ lead to 117. Wright (138) and Martin Crowe (119) dug deep in the second innings, adding 241 for the third wicket to save the match. This was Holding’s 60th and final Test appearance.

The West Indies played their 550th Test against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in Wellington

300th Test – drew with Sri Lanka, Moratuwa, 1993-94

Yet another rain-hit draw on the list, this time in the Emerald Isle. In what was the only Test on the tour and the last men’s international at the Tyronne Fernando Stadium, Sri Lanka were bowled out for 190, with the pace duo of Curtly Ambrose and Winston Benjamin sharing seven wickets. In response, the Sri Lankan spinners snared all ten wickets, restricting the West Indies to 204 (Carl Hooper scoring 62)

350th Test – beat Australia by ten wickets, Kingston, 1998-99

The first Test at Port of Spain had seen the West Indies crumble for 51 en route to a 312-run drubbing. A week later, they turned the tables remarkably. Captain Steve Waugh and his twin Mark scored 100 and 67 respectively, but found little support as Courtney Walsh took 4/55 to keep the total to 256. Australia soon took control, with a new-ball burst from Glenn McGrath (5/93) reducing the West Indies to a dire 34/4.

Jimmy Adams (94) joined fellow left-hander and captain Brian Lara at 56/4 early on the second day (nightwatchman Pedro Collins had to retire hurt), and the pair went on to add an incredible 322 for the fifth wicket. With his captaincy on the line, Lara hit a memorable 213 to propel his team to a lead of 175. The second innings belonged to debutant off-spinner Nehemiah Perry, whose 5/70 condemned Australia to 177.  

400th Test – drew with Zimbabwe, Harare, 2003-04

Tatenda Taibu (83), captain Heath Streak (127*) and Andy Blignaut (91) carried Zimbabwe from 154/5 to 507/9 (Fidel Edwards 5/133). The West Indian reply of 335 revolved around Wavell Hinds (79) and Daren Ganga (73), with Ray Price taking 6/73 (10/161 in the match). The visitors needed 373, and were on the brink at 204/9 with 12 overs left. However, Ridley Jacobs (60*) and Edwards held on to secure a tense draw.

450th Test – drew with New Zealand, Napier, 2008-09

A fifth-wicket stand of 163 between Shivnarine Chanderpaul (126*) and Brendan Nash (74) guided the West Indies to 307 (Iain O’Brien 6/75). Edwards netted 7/87, but New Zealand led by 64 due to a patient 136 from Tim McIntosh. The West Indies were at a shaky 106/4 in the second dig, when captain Chris Gayle (197) and Nash (65) put on 124, boosting the total to 375. Chasing 312, New Zealand were 220/5 at the close.

500th Test – beat Bangladesh by 296 runs, Gros Islet, 2014

The West Indies marked their 500th Test with a win that gave them the series 2-0. Openers Kraigg Brathwaite (66) and debutant Leon Johnson (63) put on 143, before Chanderpaul (84*) dragged the total to 380. A lead of 219 was ensured thanks to Kemar Roach (5/42). Chanderpaul (100*) and Jermaine Blackwood (66*) enabled a declaration at 269/4, after which Sulieman Benn (5/72) finished the proceedings.

550th Test – lost to New Zealand by an innings and 12 runs, Wellington, 2020-21

New Zealand recovered from 78/3 to amass 460, with Henry Nicholls (174) and Neil Wagner (66*) adding 95 for the ninth wicket. Tim Southee (5/32) and Kyle Jamieson (5/34) combined to bundle the Windies out for 131, with only Blackwood (69) showing fight. John Campbell (68), captain Jason Holder (61) and debutant Joshua Da Dilva (57) scored second-innings fifties, but it was not enough to avert an innings defeat.

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