England are in the Caribbean, and are set to take on the West Indies in this winter’s Test series, with the first game taking place in Barbados on Wednesday.
There may be six places between the sides in the Test rankings, but don’t be surprised to see the hosts put up a fight on home soil.
Ahead of the series, we’ve taken a trip down memory lane and picked out the ten most memorable matches between England the West Indies.
England bowled out for 46
In 1994, a match at Port of Spain saw England bowled out for 46. The dismal batting display saw the visitors lose by 147 runs – truly snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. England didn’t last 20 overs, with ‘Extras’ being their second highest scorer!
The farce at Sabina Park
The first encounter of the 1998 series in the West Indies saw a rare Test match abandonment. A wholly unsuitable pitch meant some balls skipped through at ankle height, with others on the same length, kicking up at the batsmen’s chins. Understandably, the umpires called the game off on the first morning as it was simply to dangerous to play on.
Hope and Brathwaite stun England at Headingley
In 2017, the West Indies rallied to stun England in Leeds. The tourists needed 322 runs in their final innings to win, and a pair of terrific performances from Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope took them to their goal. 95 from Brathwaite, and 118 from Hope (his second century of the match) resulted in a five wicket West Indies win.
The two day Test
Back to Headingley, and in 2000 England delivered one of the most comprehensive victories in cricketing history. Having bowled out the Windies for 172 on the first day, Nasser Hussain’s side put on a fairly innocuous 272 in reply. Darren Gough and Andy Caddick came to play in the Windies’ innings, however. Five for Caddick, four for Gough, and the visitors had been dismissed for 61. Over in two days. A walloping, as they call it in the business.
Cork hauls England over the line
Back to 2000, and the second Test at Lord’s looked to be going England’s way. Set 188 to win, it looked to be a formality with the hosts sat on 119-2. Losing five wickets for 30 runs however, can change things. It took all-rounder Dominic Cork to fire his team to victory with a hilariously out of place 33 – four fours, and a six. Dom Cork cares not for your ‘game awareness’.
Harmison takes 7 for 12
How’s that for figures! The fast-bowler tore through the West Indies lineup at Kingston in 2004, on his way to chopping them down for just 47. ‘Harmy’ took seven wickets for the expense of just 12 runs. At any level of cricket, that is simply outstanding! It is still regarded as one of the best bowling spells by any England player in Test history.
Lara scores 400
Later on the tour, however, Brian Lara would exact a spectacular revenge. Scoring 400 runs, the number three faced 582 balls, hit 43 fours, and broke nearly all records in sight. England managed to force a draw in this one, with a forgotten innings of 140 to save the game, helped mainly by the fact that Lara batted for hours, taking time out of the game.
West Indies secure 'Blackwash'
In 1984, the visiting West Indies side became the first and only side to clean up an English team on Englush soil in what became known as ‘the Blackwash’. The Windies were at the peak of their powers in the mid-80s, with the likes of Michael Holding, Courtney Walsh, Malcolm Marshall, Viv Richards, and Clive Lloyd comfortably beating their hosts 5-0.
Sobers delivers 1966 masterclass
In the summer of 1966, much attention in England was perhaps understandably cast elsewhere… but West Indies captain Gary Sobers had a superb series, scoring three centuries and taking two five wicket hauls as his team captured the Wisden Trophy by a score of 3-1. It was tricky to pick one of his outings , so I’ve given him the nod for the whole tour.
Broad takes seven at Lord's
Stuart Broad managed one of the more impressive bowling performances of his career at Lord’s in 2012, when taking seven against a weakened West Indies team. England would go on to win the match by five wickets, aided by an Andrew Strauss century.