England finally snatched the victory from the jaws of defeat to gain the lead of 1-0 in the series against Pakistan. This is the first time since November 2018 that England won the first Test match of the series.
The 1988 triumph remains the West Indies’ most recent Test series success on English soil.
While honours were even in 1991 and 1995, the decline of the Caribbean outfit became evident with the advent of the 2000s. In the concluding part of this series on West Indian Test victories in England, I cover the last three decades.
Ambrose helps level the series – third Test, Trent Bridge, 1991
The first Test at Headingley had seen England win a Wisden Trophy match at home for the first time since 1969, before the second Test at Lord’s ended in a rain-hit draw. Captain Graham Gooch and Michael Atherton put on 108 for the opening wicket, but the West Indies bounced back through Curtly Ambrose’s return of 5-74. In response, the West Indies were 3-45 when captain Viv Richards walked out.
In the midst of his final Test series, Richards scored 80 and added 121 for the fifth wicket with Gus Logie (78). Malcolm Marshall (67) built on the gains, guiding the visitors to a lead of 97. Ambrose (3-61), Marshall and Courtney Walsh (4-61) then joined forces to bowl England out for 211, after which Desmond Haynes (57*) and Richie Richardson secured a nine-wicket win with a second-wicket stand of 113*.
Richardson ton puts the Windies ahead – fourth Test, Edgbaston, 1991
Marshall (4-33) and Ambrose (3-64) did the bulk of the damage as England were rolled over for 188 after Richards elected to field. Richardson (104) put the West Indies on top, and though the last six wickets fell for 35, a lead of 104 was ensured. In the second innings, it was the turn of Patrick Patterson (5-81) to take over – the pacer removed debutant Hugh Morris and Atherton with four runs on the board.
Ambrose netted Graeme Hick soon after to make the score 3-5. England managed to reach 255, but Carl Hooper (55*) and Richards (73*) shared a fourth-wicket stand of 133* to shepherd the chase of 151. England won the final Test at the Oval (which was the swansong of Richards, Marshall and Jeff Dujon) to square the series 2-2. Richardson (495 runs) and Ambrose (28 wickets) were the respective chart toppers.
England run into Bishop – first Test, Headingley, 1995
Richardson succeeded Richards as captain in 1991-92, and his first Test in charge in England resulted in a comprehensive win for the West Indies. His opposite number Atherton (81) was the only batsman to show fight, as Ian Bishop (5-32) and Kenny Benjamin (4-60) limited England to 199. The West Indies replied with 282, through half centuries from Sherwin Campbell (69), Brian Lara (53) and Jimmy Adams (58).
There was hardly any respite for England in the second innings either. This time it was the pair of Ambrose (3-44) and Walsh (4-60) who delivered the key blows. There was no real recovery from 4-82, and the West Indies were ultimately set a modest target of 124. Hooper (73*) and Lara (48*) combined for an unbroken second-wicket partnership of 118 at breakneck speed, which completed the chase in just 19 overs.
A three-day demolition – third Test, Edgbaston, 1995
The six-match series was poised at 1-1 prior to the start of this third Test. England struggled on a pitch of uneven bounce, and were all out for 147 after Atherton won the toss. Walsh and Bishop took three wickets each, while Ambrose and Benjamin chipped in with two apiece. The West Indies strengthened their position by taking a lead worth 153, with Campbell (79) and Richardson (69) being the chief run makers.
England’s second innings was even worse, as they failed to reach three figures this time. Resuming at 3-59 on the third day, the hosts, who were a batsman short owing to an injury to Alec Stewart, capitulated for a mere 89 in 30 overs in the face of Walsh (5-45) and Bishop (4-29). As was the case in 1991, the series eventually ended in a 2-2 draw. Lara amassed 765 runs at 85.00, while Bishop took 27 wickets at 24.03.
A productive outing for Walsh – first Test, Edgbaston, 2000
England’s bid to regain the Wisden Trophy suffered an early jolt, as the West Indies recorded a fourth consecutive Test win at Edgbaston. Though aged 37 and in the twilight of his illustrious career, the tireless Walsh snared 5-36 on the first day to condemn England to 179. Campbell (59) and Lara (50) anchored the top order, after which Shivnarine Chanderpaul (73) and captain Adams (98) provided solidity.
A breezy 48 from Franklyn Rose down the order further improved the total to 397. Walsh (3-22) and fellow paceman Reon King (3-28) made sure that England were bundled out for 125 in the second dig before the end of the third day. This was to be the West Indies’ high point in the five-Test series, as England bounced back to win 3-1, thus ending a wait of 27 years. Walsh gave his all, taking 34 wickets at just 12.82.
Hope’s twin centuries – second Test, Headingley, 2017
Coming into this the Test, the West Indies had a run of 15 defeats and three draws in their previous 18 Tests in England. Moreover, they were beaten by an innings and 209 runs in the first match at Edgbaston. Pacers Kemar Roach (4-71) and Shannon Gabriel (4-51) impressed, restricting England to 258, before Kraigg Brathwaite (134) and Shai Hope (147) put on 246 for the fourth wicket to steer the West Indies to 427.
England appeared to have gained the upper hand by declaring their second innings at 8-490, thereby setting a target of 322 late on the fourth day. But Brathwaite and Hope starred again, this time adding 144 for the third wicket. Though Brathwaite perished for 95, Hope remained not out on 118, seeing the West Indies through to a memorable five-wicket win. England won the decider at Lord’s to seal the rubber.