Sport

30th anniversary of Windies' 5-0 sweep of England

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL Observer senior writer

Monday, June 16, 2014    

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WEST Indian pride flourished at The Oval cricket ground in north London on August 14, 1984. The West Indies team had won the fifth Test against England, completing a historic sweep of the series.

It was the first time a visiting team accomplished such a feat in the history of Test cricket.

The 30th anniversary of the start of this remarkable feat is the subject of a documentary shown on the BBC.

Led by Guyana's Clive Lloyd, the Caribbean team won their third straight Test series in England. It was by far the most comprehensive and most satisfying.

It erased memories of the previous summer when they lost to India in the final of the World Cup at Lord's, a match they were widely expected to win.

Lloyd's all-conquering team had thrashed Australia 3-0 at home prior to the England tour. The vaunted four-prong pace attack spearheaded by Barbadian Malcolm Marshall was at its lethal best, while Lloyd was part of a powerful

batting line-up that saw Jamaican wicketkeeper/batsman Jeffrey Dujon 'walking' at number seven.

Dujon was on his first Test tour of England. In an interview with the Jamaica Observer, he said the 'blackwash' as it was called by Windies fans, was the highlight of his career.

"The team was very confident that we would win the series. Many of the team were playing county cricket and so knew the conditions well," Dujon said.

The fastbowling unit also included 30-year-old Jamaican Michael Holding, making his third Test tour of England; Marshall's compatriots Joel Garner and Milton Small; seamer Eldine Baptiste of Antigua; Winston Davis of St Vincent and the uncapped Jamaican Courtney Walsh.

Barbadian openers Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes; rising Antiguan star Richie Richardson; master batsman Vivian Richards; the patient Trinidadian lefthander Larry Gomes and Gus Logie comprised one of the great batting sides in cricket.

England were not as well-served, though they had the champion all-rounder Ian Botham, elegant left-handed batsman David Gower and pugnacious middle-order batsman Allan Lamb.

The West Indies ticked off easy victories in each Test, winning by an innings and 80 runs at Edgbaston; nine wickets at Lord's; eight wickets at Headingley; an innings and 64 runs at Old Trafford; and 172 runs in the final match at The Oval.

Clive 'Busy' Campbell, a diehard supporter of the West Indies, was in England that summer and watched all the Tests.

He remembers the West Indian community in England turning out in numbers to back the team.

"Some of them (fans) travelled every day from London to Headingley to watch the third Test. They said things like, 'You don't know what this means to us yuh nuh. It's the only thing that keeps us together'," Campbell told the Observer.

In a series of individual achievements, there were standouts. They included Greenidge (214 not out) and Gomes' (92 not out) unbeaten second wicket stand of 287 that carried the Windies to victory at Lord's.

Marshall, the scourge of the England batsmen throughout the series, took seven for 53 in England's second innings at Headingley. He bowled with a broken right thumb.

The West Indies defeated England 5-0 when they visited the Caribbean in 1986. In 1988, the scoreline was 4-0 in favour of the Windies on their next tour of England.

When they lost 1-2 to Australia at home in 1995, it was the West Indies' first series defeat in 15 years. Since losing 0-4 away to England in 2003-2004, the 'Brits' have dominated Test matches between the countries.

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