After doing little of note in his first three Tests, Everton Weekes launched a fierce attack on England in the fourth in Jamaica – one that not only helped his side to a series-clinching win but also kick-started one of the most glorious Test careers in the game’s history.
England’s 1947/48 tour of the West Indies saw the genesis of one of the finest middle-orders the game has ever seen. The first Test in Barbados saw both Weekes and Clyde Walcott make their international debuts, with Frank Worrell making his bow in the next game at Trinidad. These three men, collectively known as the ‘three Ws’, would go on to score 12,113 Test runs and be knighted for their services to the game.
At the start of his career, however, Weekes initially struggled against an England attack containing the likes of Jim Laker, Gubby Allen and Harold Butler, and after the first three Tests of the series, his highest score was a paltry 36. Initially omitted from the starting XI for the final Test, Weekes only kept his place when the legendary George Headley had to drop out due to injury. The Jamaican crowd, who had wanted John Holt to play in Weekes’ stead, roundly booed the 23-year-old Bajan throughout England’s first innings of 227.
Weekes’ response to the taunts of the crowd was emphatic, his sublime 141 guiding his side to an imposing 490 all out. It was the first great example of the lightning-fast back-foot strokes that would later become his trademark. Small of stature but blessed with quick feet and surprising power, he struck 15 boundaries; the majority of them coming via murderous cut and pull strokes.
England could only muster 336 runs from their second innings, and a 10-wicket victory was sealed when the West Indian openers John Goddard and Jeffery Stollmeyer chased down their target of 74 inside 11 overs.
Weekes would later reach three figures four times in the first three Tests of the West Indies tour of India, becoming the first (and only) man to score five centuries in consecutive Test innings, and would finish his career having scored 4,455 Test runs at an average of 58.61 and with a top score of 207.
First published in 2008