Watch: Three long-hops, a shocker and a drag-on – Allan Border takes fortuitous seven-for to rout Viv Richards’ West Indies on Australia Day
Watch: Allan Border ran through the West Indies with figures of 7-46 on the first day of the Sydney Test match of the 1988/89 Frank Worrell Trophy.
Border took only 39 wickets from 156 Tests – a wicket every four matches – at an average of 50.56. In Test cricket, he was an occasional bowler. Yet, on the first day of a Test match, he routed the West Indies – one of the strongest teams of all time – with a spell from which the tourists never recovered.
West Indies had already gone up 3-0 with two Tests to go in the series. Here, too, they seemed on track for another when Gordon Greenidge (56) and Desmond Haynes (75) added 90. They were comfortably placed on 144-1 when Border came to bowl his left-arm spin at Richie Richardson.
Border had never taken a five-wicket haul in first-class cricket until then. Here, he got Richardson, Carl Hooper, Viv Richards, Gus Logie, Jeff Dujon, Roger Harper, and Malcolm Marshall – none of them a tail-ender. From 144-1, the West Indies crashed to 224.
The quality on display was questionable. Three of Border’s wickets, including his first two, were off long-hops. Viv Richards seemed to be the victim of a questionable piece of umpiring, the ball bouncing off his pad onto his arm before being caught. There was a drag-on, a sweep straight to the man in the deep, and another injudicious stroke to bring the last wicket.
Border’s 7-46 are the best figures for an Australian spinner against the West Indies since 1955, but he was not done yet. He then made 75, helping David Boon (149) put on 170 for the third wicket to help Australia secure a 177-run lead.
Then he took 4-50 (Haynes, Marshall, Harper, Curtly Ambrose) to help Australia bowl out the tourists for 256. Since the Wars, only Merv Hughes (13-217 less than two months before Border) has better match figures than Border’s 11-96 for Australia against the West Indies.
Australia won by seven wickets, with Border making an unbeaten 16.
Two years later, Border took 5-68 against the West Indies in Bourda. From 31 Test matches against them, he claimed 19 wickets at 24.31 – better than the bowling average of Ray Lindwall (27.34) and Keith Miller (25.97), Dennis Lillee (27.74) and Jeff Thomson (29.30), Shane Warne (29.95) and Stuart MacGill (34.08), Craig McDermott (28.86) and Mitchell Johnson (27.80) against the same opposition.