Friday Flashback: AB puts Windies in a spin.
This Friday Flashback we look back at 1989 and the Fourth Frank Worrell Test Match of 1988/89 in Sydney, and a momentous victory for the Australian Cricket team. Fourteen years since they last claimed the trophy signifying dominance between them and the West Indies, the Aussies had won just three of 24 Tests between the two teams.
Having already conceded this particular series after heavy defeats in the first three matches, Allan Border loomed as the likely star if the Australians were to turn the tables on the tourists. Even for those prepared to give the tourists some chance on the back of a match winning return from the skipper, that he would do so with the ball rather than the bat would have come as an almighty surprise.
Spin to win.
The 33-year-old captain was no stranger to lone hand performances against the World Champions, with some of his best performances with the bat coming in matches against the West Indies. Australia Day or not though, a career haul of 16 wickets from his 100 Tests to this point gave no indication of the carnage his gentle tweakers would have on this contest. Even if Australia’s intention to spin the Windies out was made abundantly clear by the inclusion of Trevor Hohns for his first test to partner Peter Taylor in a twin spin attack.
When openers Desmond Haynes and Gordon Greenidge moved the score to 90, after captain Viv Richards won the toss and elected to bat, it looked as if the home team were in for another long day in the field. Especially when, after the fall of Greenidge to a false shot against Taylor, Richie Richardson effortlessly combined with Haynes for a half-century second wicket stand. Despite the seeming ease at which the West Indies had moved to 144, the match was set to turn as a result of an ill-advised hoick from Richardson attempting to take Border downtown.
One becomes two becomes three.
With Richardson’s back foot, cross batted effort careful pocketed by Taylor at mid-off, Border had his first wicket and quickly doubled his account when Carl Hooper top edged one to a diving Geoff Marsh at cover. When he got one to drift towards leg before turn sharply towards off, catching Viv Richards’ edge and arm before coming to rest in the eager hands of David Boon, Border had quickly put his team on top in the contest.
Without a further run being added, Haynes and Gus Logie would lose their wickets to see the Windies slump to 6-174. It was another Boon catch that removed Haynes who had made a well crafted 75 before becoming Trevor Hohns maiden Test wicket. Logie had become Border’s fourth scalp of the innings after prodding hard at a ball and dragging it back onto his stumps. In the blink of an eye the West Indies had lost 5/30.
Champs dig in.
Jeff Dujon and Roger Harper did what their middle order couldn’t and built a mini-partnership of 25 before Border removed both with the help of catches from Merv Hughes, and Taylor once more. In doing so he claimed his first ever First Class fivefer and left the tourists reeling at 8-213. He would claim a seventh before Taylor brought an end to his one man wrecking party, and the West Indies innings for 224, by removing Curtly Ambrose.
Having bowled themselves into a dominant position, Australia began Day Two with the intention of driving home the advantage. Things didn’t start well though with both openers, Geoff Marsh and debutant Mark Taylor, falling cheaply. The early double loss left David Boon and Dean Jones to begin a rebuild of the innings with a 69-run partnership. When the Victorian perished with the score at 3-114, despite their hard work, the match was left perilously poised.
The Skipper steadies the ship.
It was a moment tailor made for the Aussie skipper, who joined our favourite moustachioed Tasmanian at the crease upon the dismissal of Jones. In a 170-run stand the pair took the home team from a position of peril to a hard fought lead with plenty of wickets in the bank. Facing a bowling attack that included Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh and Malcolm Marshall, the pair were made to earn every run reflected in their respective strike rates.
When Boon was finally dismissed for 149, he had a strike rate of 35. When Border followed him to the pavilion for 75, after combining with Steve Waugh for a 70-run-partnership, his strike was just 22! Despite the example of grit and determination shown by their skipper, the Aussie tail was only able to add a further 50 runs around Waugh who remained not out on 55 at the close of the innings. It was enough though for the home team to claim a 177 run first innings lead.
Border seals the deal.
The Aussie skipper’s unlikely bowling heroics continued in the second innings with the Windies once again falling under the spell of his otherwise innocuous left-armers. He would add another four wickets to his match tally including that of Desmond Haynes who provided lone resistance on the way to 143. With the Australians requiring just 79 for victory, any further involvement from Border seemed unlikely. Somewhat fittingly though, a top order collapse meant the exclamation mark on Border’s man of the match performance came with him striking the winning runs.
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