Cricket History

First Tied Test Match

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Test cricket was apparently in decline in the late 1950s, when it was becoming routine or predictable. The 1960/61 Test series between Australia and the West Indies was a turning point in cricket's history, and the turning point in this series was the tied Test at the "Gabba" in Brisbane, Australia. It was the first tied Test in the history of Test cricket and revitalised the interest in Tests and sparked a fierce rivalry between West Indies and Australia.

Richie Benaud and Frank Worrell were the opposing captains for this historic match. The West Indians batted first, with Barbadians Conrad Hunte and Cammie Smith opening the batting. Alan Davidson, opening the bowling for the Aussies, struck first when he removed Smith for seven. His esteemed partner, Conrad Hunte, departed with the score on 42. After Rohan Kanhai was back in the pavilion at 65/3, Garry Sobers and Frank Worrell had a 174-run stand for the fourth wicket. Sobers (132) was out with the score at 239. Four runs later, Alan Davidson had Worrell caught at the wicket for 62.

The West Indies had solid contributions from the middle and lower-order batsmen. Joe Solomon (65), Gerry Alexander (60) and fast bowler Wes Hall (50) boosted the first innings total to 453 all out from 283/6. In reply, the Aussies had a fine series of starts from their top-order batsmen. Colin McDonald (57) and Bob Simpson (92) had an 84-run partnership for the first wicket before McDonald was out to a Garry Sobers delivery.

Norm O'Neill (181) compiled a towering century to put the home side on course for a first-innings lead. O'Neill starred in a vital century partnership with Ken Mackay (44) [103-run partnership]. Alan Davidson (45) and O'Neill had an 88-run stand before Wes Hall dismissed Davidson. Australia collapsed from 484/6 to 505 all out, with top-scorer O'Neill being the last man out.

Facing a 52-run deficit, the West Indies lost Cammie Smith (6) with the score on 13. Conrad Hunte (39) and Rohan Kanhai (54) erased the first-innings deficit, taking the score to 88 before Hunte departed. Sobers (14) went cheaply, and Kanhai departed with the score on 127; West Indies were 127/4. Worrell and Solomon had a fine 83-run stand before the Aussies struck a double blow, removing Worrell (65) and Lashley (0) – both with the score on 210. Solomon rallied with the lower order before he was the ninth batsman out; West Indies were 253/9. A vital last-wicket partnership between Wes Hall and Alf Valentine took the Windies to 284 all out, leaving Australia 233 to win. Alan Davidson was the chief destroyer for the Aussies, with 6/87.

The West Indies put Australia on the back foot immediately, dismissing Simpson (0), Harvey (5), O'Neill (26), McDonald (16) and Favell (7) to leave the home side reeling at 57/5. Mackay (28) and Davidson took the score to 92 before Sonny Ramadhin spun out Mackay. Davidson (80) and captain Richie Benaud resurrected the Aussie innings with a 134-run partnership that firmly wrested the initiative from the West Indies. With the score at 226, the West Indian ran out Alan Davidson; Australia needed seven to win.

Wes Hall bowled had Richie Benaud caught at the wicket for 52; Australia was 228/8. With five needed and two wickets standings, Wally Grout (2) and Ian Meckiff (2) were the victims of nervous running as the West Indians ran both batsmen out with the score on 232 – one run short of victory. The Windies shared the spoils of this Test with the Aussies, in a remarkable match with several twists and turns.

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