Watch: Curtly Ambrose takes five wickets in five overs, destroys England to register career-best 8-45
Watch: At the Kensington Oval in 1990, Curtly Ambrose ran through the England batting line-up to register a career-best of 8-45 and level the Test series.
Four years after being swept away five-nil, England returned to the West Indies, and began with a nine-wicket win in Kingston, largely due to excellent bowling from Angus Fraser, Gladstone Small, and Devon Malcolm, along with Allan Lamb’s 132.
The second match, in Georgetown, was washed out, and England saved the Port of Spain Test to retain the lead ahead of Bridgetown.
Here, Carlisle Best (164) helped the West Indies reach 446, while Lamb’s 119 took England to 358. This time Desmond Haynes made 109, and Viv Richards “delayed his declaration well beyond most neutral estimates” (Wisden Almanack) to set England 356 in a day and an hour.
The day’s play ended 10 minutes early. By then, England had slumped to 15-3. After Ian Bishop took out Wayne Larkins, Ambrose had Rob Bailey caught behind down the leg (controversially, off the thigh pad) and, two balls later, trapped night-watch Small leg-before.
But England fought back the next morning. A win was ruled out, but Alec Stewart hung around for 80 balls and Lamb 35 before Robin Smith joined Jack Russell, promoted up the order.
At 166-5 with less than an hour to go, England looked set to save the Test match. By then, Russell had batted for over five hours.
Now came Ambrose. Russell could do little against a fast, short ball that kept unusually low before crashing on to the stumps. A young Nasser Hussain had no chance against a rapid, pinpoint yorker that got him lbw.
David Capel was caught at slip off a no-ball, then trapped in front. Phil DeFreitas went the same way and, after a while, Malcolm followed, leaving Smith stranded after three and a half hours of vigil. Ambrose claimed five wickets in five overs to decide the Test match “with perhaps half an hour of daylight to spare”.
West Indies claimed the series with an innings win in St John’s to retain the Wisden Trophy.