|Player:||GA Gooch, AJ Stewart, MA Atherton, SJ Harmison, MJ Hoggard, AJ Strauss, IVA Richards, MA Holding, MD Marshall, BC Lara, CEL Ambrose, CH Gayle|
|Event:||England in West Indies 2008/09|
England in WI 1981: A Brutal Awakening
Less than a year after West Indies had won the 1980 summer series, England - captained by Ian Botham - were on their way to the Caribbean.
In the first Test, West Indies batted into the third day to score 426-9 declared - and then bowled England out twice for 178 and 169 to win by an innings. However, the second Test at Georgetown was then cancelled after the Guyanese government revoked the entry visa of England seamer Robin Jackman because of his cricketing links with apartheid South Africa. Jackman finally made his Test debut in the third game in Barbados, where the Windies won by 298 runs to take a 2-0 lead with two Tests remaining.
Viv Richards' 182 not out in the second innings had batted England out of the match, but one over on the second day is still seen by some as "the greatest over of them all". Pace bowler Michael Holding fired in a series of increasingly fast and unplayable deliveries at England opener Geoff Boycott, who struggled to preserve his wicket before the last ball shattered his stumps. However, it was overshadowed as that evening, former England batting legend Ken Barrington - now the team's assistant manager - collapsed and died of a heart attack at the team hotel.
The last two Tests were drawn - West Indies won the series 2-0.
England in WI 1986: Another 5-0 rout
Having inflicted a 5-0 "Blackwash" on England on their home soil in 1984, the West Indies side of the mid-1980s was the most feared in world cricket. England had regained the Ashes the following summer from an Australia side weakened by retirements and a "rebel" tour to apartheid South Africa - but still arrived in the Caribbean in January 1986 with some trepidation.
West Indies' pack of predatory fast bowlers was now headed by Malcolm Marshall, who had taken 24 wickets in the 1984 series, despite missing one Test with injury - and had even taken 7-53 in one Test with his left hand in plaster.
And Marshall was to leave an indelible mark on the 1986 tour before the Tests had begun - breaking rugged England batsman Mike Gatting's nose with a vicious bouncer in the first one-day international. To add insult to injury, the ball then dropped onto Gatting's stumps - and when it was returned to the bowler, a piece of bone was still embedded in it. Gatting flew home, although he bravely returned for the final Test.
But it was business as usual for the West Indies, as England were beaten by 10 wickets in the first Test in Jamaica (having handed debuts to batsman David Smith and seamer Greg Thomas) and by seven wickets in the second in Trinidad.
It did not get any better for England in the third Test in Barbados.
Richie Richardson did the damage by scoring 160 as the Windies were bowled out for 418 - and they did not even need to bat a second time. Despite a century stand by Graham Gooch and David Gower in their first innings, England were skittled for 189 and 199 as the hosts won by an innings.
The pace quartet of Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner, Michael Holding and new boy Patrick Patterson shared the wickets between them as Viv Richards' side clinched the series. They had also won the one-day series 3-1 by the time the fourth Test in Trinidad came around, West Indies had wrapped up another 10-wicket win.
England took the field for the fifth Test in Antigua with six specialist batsmen and all-rounder Ian Botham at seven, but still could not match the batting power of the Windies. Desmond Haynes and local hero Viv Richards scored centuries - a feat which had eluded all the England batsmen in the entire series - as the hosts won by 240 runs.
Marshall and Garner both took 27 wickets in a series which had ended as another 5-0 "Blackwash". The Windies would triumph 4-0 - with one drawn game - in the summer of 1988.
England in WI 1990: Change in guard but no change in fortune
Graham Gooch's 1990 tourists unexpectedly won the first Test in Jamaica by nine wickets. Experienced opener Gooch had been the last of the four captains England used in the summer of 1988, almost inheriting the job by default in succession to Mike Gatting, John Emburey and Chris Cowdrey.
Gooch was named as skipper for the tour of India that autumn, which was ultimately cancelled because several England players - including Gooch - had cricketing links with apartheid South Africa. David Gower was restored as captain for the 1989 Ashes series with Australia - but a 4-0 series defeat ended his second stint in charge. With Gatting leading a "rebel" tour to South Africa in 1989/90, Gooch was reappointed as captain of a youthful touring squad for the Caribbean.
Nasser Hussain and Alec Stewart made their Test debuts in the opening encounter - while Angus Fraser took 5-28 on the first day, and a century earned Allan Lamb the man-of-the-match award.
The second Test in Guyana was abandoned without a ball bowled because of rain - and the third, in Trinidad, also ended controversially. Buoyed by Jamaican-born fast bowler Devon Malcolm, who took match figures of 10-137, England's victory target was just 151.
Graham Gooch retired hurt with a fractured hand, but rain and some fairly blatant time-wasting in the field by acting West Indies skipper Desmond Haynes slowed the over-rate to nearly eight overs an hour, and the match was drawn.
With Gooch ruled out, Northamptonshire's Allan Lamb led England for the last two Tests - but with Viv Richards back to captain the home side, the West Indies triumphed in both Barbados and Antigua. There was also a new fast bowling hero on the Caribbean scene. Andy Roberts, Joel Garner and Michael Holding had all retired, while the great Malcolm Marshall was nearing the end of his Test career. But Antigua's Curtly Ambrose was man of the match in both those two victories, taking 16 wickets in those two games, including 8-45 in the second innings in Barbados. Together with Courtney Walsh, he would form the backbone of the Windies pace attack in the 1990s.
England in WI 1994: A new star takes his spotlight
All out for 46
As in 1990, a new broom had swept through the England side when they arrived in the Caribbean in 1994. Another home Ashes series defeat had seen Graham Gooch resign the captaincy, which was handed to 25-year-old Cambridge University graduate Mike Atherton. The touring party had an emphasis on youth - with Graham Thorpe, Matthew Maynard, Andy Caddick, Steve Watkin, Alan Igglesden and Ian Salisbury all having played fewer than five Tests.
The West Indian domination, so familiar to English supporters from the 1980s, continued as they won the first Test in Jamaica by eight wickets. Atherton made a characteristically battling 144 in the second Test in Guyana, but Brian Lara (167) and Jimmy Adams (137) set up an innings victory and a 2-0 lead in the series. But more humiliation was to follow: set 194 to win the third Test in Trinidad, England were bowled out for just 46. Alec Stewart made 18; extras was the next highest scorer with seven. Curtly Ambrose took 6-24.
Stewart's twin tons
With the series already lost, England's travelling fans (a year before dubbing themselves "The Barmy Army") must have been fearing another 5-0 "Blackwash" when they arrived in Barbados - where the Windies had not lost since 1936 - for the fourth Test. But they were treated to a masterclass from Alec Stewart, who lit up the Kensington Oval with a century in each innings - making 118 and 143. Further heroics came from hard-working seamer Angus Fraser, who took 8-75 in the first innings, while Andy Caddick and spinner Phil Tufnell combined well to fire out the West Indies second time around.
Some pride - at least - was restored as England wrapped up a 208-run win.
Meanwhile, a rookie teenager named Shivnarine Chanderpaul carefully compiled half-centuries in each of his first four Test appearances.
But the most historic feat of the series was yet to come.
Lara on top of the world
The fifth Test of the 1994 series was drawn - earning the West Indies a 3-1 win - but the result itself was immaterial.
The game will always be remembered as Brian Lara's match - when the Trinidadian left-hander despatched England's bowlers to all four corners of the Antigua Recreation Ground on the way to scoring 375 - at the time, the highest individual score in Test history. The previous record - Sir Garry Sobers' 365 not out against Pakistan - had stood since February 1958, and fittingly, the Windies legend was at the ground to watch his record broken.
Coming in at 12-2, Lara enjoyed stands of 179 with Jimmy Adams, 183 with Keith Arthurton and 219 with Shivnarine Chanderpaul as his innings extended into the third day of the game. The Sobers record was broken when Lara hooked Chris Lewis (0-140 from 33 overs) for four, prompting a pitch invasion - but when play resumed, he did not last much longer before being caught behind off Andy Caddick.
Lara's innings comprised 538 balls in 766 minutes - he hit 45 fours but no sixes. Later that year, Lara signed for Warwickshire and scored 501 not out against Durham in the County Championship - which remains the highest individual score in first-class cricket.
England's reply remains largely forgotten, but Mike Atherton (135) and Robin Smith (175) put on 303 - England's highest third-wicket partnership against West Indies - as the game petered out into an inevitable draw.
England in WI 1998: The agony just continues
The Test that never was
England, still led by Mike Atherton, won the toss and batted first in the first Test of the 1998 tour in Jamaica against a West Indies side now led by Brian Lara. However, the brevity of England's innings - and indeed the match - was not caused by a collapse like in Trinidad in 1994. After England's batsmen had been hit seven times in the first 10 overs of play by some unpredictably bouncing deliveries, necessitating several visits from physio, play was halted with the score 17-3 while the treacherous Sabina Park pitch was examined. Then, after an hour and a half of discussions, involving the captains, umpires and match referee, the game was officially abandoned as a draw - the only time in history that a Test match has been called off because of an unsuitable pitch.
An additional Test was hastily added to the schedule, to be played in Trinidad - making it a six-Test series.
Honours even in Trinidad
The abandoned game in Jamaica meant that the sides played back-to-back Tests at the same venue - the Queen's Park Oval in Trinidad. Both games were low-scoring - and although England seamer Angus Fraser continued his good form in the Caribbean by collecting 8-53 in the first innings of the second Test, Carl Hooper hit 94 not out on the final morning as the West Indies successfully chased 282 to win. A century stand between Hooper and diminuitive wicketkeeper David Williams saw the home side triumph by seven wickets.
Four days later, England won the toss and elected to field first in the third Test - and Fraser and Andy Caddick took five wickets apiece as the Windies were skittled for 159. However, Curtly Ambrose (5-25) ran through England for 144, but when the home side batted again it was Fraser and Dean Headley who did the damage. By the close of day three, England were 52-0 chasing 225 to win. Atherton (49) and Alec Stewart (83) were coasting when they put on 129 for the first wicket, but a batting collapse saw Mark Butcher squeeze England home by three wickets after compiling a painstaking 24 not out from 103 balls.
The series was tied at 1-1 with three Tests remaining.
Ambrose and Walsh prevail
If the third Test raised English hopes of a come-from-behind series victory, West Indies resumed their iron grip on the series in Guyana. England fielded two spinners and just two front-line seam bowlers - while the Windies gave a rare Test outing to leg-break bowler Dinanath Ramnarine. But it was business as usual for new-ball pair Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh, who rolled England over in four days - the tourists were bowled out for 137 chasing 380 to win in the fourth innings.
In the fifth Test in Barbados, Graham Thorpe (103) and Mark Ramprakash (154) made first-innings centuries for England but the match was drawn, leaving the West Indies 2-1 up with one Test remaining. But the home side proved the stronger in the final Test in Antigua, completing an innings victory - with Ambrose and Walsh once again to the fore.
Mike Atherton resigned as England captain following the series, and was replaced by Alec Stewart.
England in WI 2004: The wheel turns for England
The increasingly busy international cricket calendar meant that it was another six years before England toured the Caribbean again. But by then, the wheel had turned for both teams, with their traditional roles reversed: the once-dominant Windies were now an inconsistent side largely reliant on Brian Lara's brilliance with the bat. Meanwhile, England under captain Michael Vaughan and coach Duncan Fletcher had formed a tight, cohesive unit with a battery of dangerous fast bowlers of their own.
The Harmison and Hoggard show
Far from England being humbled by West Indies' fast bowlers, it was now England's turn. On the first day of the first Test in Jamaica, Devon Smith's maiden Test century, aided by Ryan Hinds' 84, helped West Indies to a respectable total of 311. Half-centuries by Nasser Hussain and Mark Butcher gave England a 28-run first-innings lead - but then it was time for Harmison to turn the match. Durham paceman Steve Harmison - at the top of his form, and later that year to be ranked as the number one bowler in Test cricket - ripped through the Windies' second innings, taking 7-12 as they were bowled out for 47 - one higher than England's 1994 total in Trinidad.
England wrapped up a 10-wicket win before lunch on day four.
Harmison resumed hostilities in the second Test in Trinidad, taking 6-61 in the first innings while fellow quick Simon Jones grabbed 5-57 in the second to set up a seven-wicket victory. The third Test in Barbados belonged to Matthew Hoggard, although Andrew Flintoff - the fourth member of England's pace quartet - took 5-58 in the first innings, while Graham Thorpe made a century. Hoggard's hat-trick helped England wrap up victory within three days, clinching their first Test series win in the Caribbean since 1968.
Lara reclaims his record
With the 2004 series lost, Brian Lara - in his second spell as West Indies captain - had one thing on his mind during the final Test at the Antigua Recreation Ground: reclaim his record. Having scored 375 against England at the same ground in 1994, Lara had held the record for an individual Test innings for the best part of a decade before Australia opener Matthew Hayden had plundered 380 from a weak Zimbabwe attack in 2003.
Having won the toss and elected to bat first, Daren Ganga's early departure saw Lara arrive at the crease - and he was 83 not out at the end of day one. He batted through day two, reaching 313 by the close, passed Hayden's figure before lunch on day three and finally declared when he reached 400 shortly after the interval with the Windies 751-5.
By then, England had sent down 202 overs; and with Steve Harmison removed from the attack by the umpires after a third warning for running on the wicket, even part-time bowlers Michael Vaughan and Marcus Trescothick bowled 31 overs between them. England had to follow on after they were bowled out for 285, but made 422-5 in the second innings as the match was drawn.
But pity England's Graham Thorpe - the only man who had to field through the entirety of both of Lara's marathons in 1994 and 2004.
England in WI 2009: Strauss v Gayle
England have been back to the Caribbean twice since 2004 - but with little success on either occasion. A poor performance at the 2007 World Cup hastened the departure of coach Duncan Fletcher, while the $20m winner-takes-all Twenty20 game in Antigua in 2008 finished in a humilating 10-wicket defeat. Since returning from India in December, both coach Peter Moores and captain Kevin Pietersen have departed - leaving Andrew Strauss as the new skipper.
Although both are left-handed openers, Strauss and new West Indies captain Chris Gayle are contrasting cricketers. Strauss, the "safe pair of hands" is more of a careful accumulator of runs than a thrilling risk-taker. Gayle, from Jamaica, is one of the most explosive hitters in the game.