Brian Halford looks ahead to the exciting Test next summer when West Indies will play their 11th Test match in Birmingham.
West Indies will play their 11th Test match in Birmingham next summer and the bar is set high after the previous ten delivered brilliant individual feats and great team performances – as well as plenty of history in the making.
When the Windies paid their first Test visit to Edgbaston, in 1957, it was a historic occasion as the first match ever to be broadcast live by the BBC.
“Don’t miss a ball, we broadcast them all,” the corporation proudly announced, and the seed that was to become the great Test Match Special was planted.
The BBC picked the perfect place to start as those first commentators in ’57 had a truly amazing match to describe. England trailed by 288 on first innings but hit back spectacularly with a world-record stand of 411 between Peter May (285 not out) and Colin Cowdrey (154).
West Indies, totally dominant for the first half of the match, were set 285 to win on the last day and ended up having to fight like tigers to avoid defeat. They finished on 72 for seven from 60 overs!
The Calypso Kings’ most recent visit, in 2017, continued the historic theme and added to Edgbaston’s longstanding tradition as a home of innovation. It was the inaugural day/night Test in England.
Alastair Cook thoroughly enjoyed batting against the pink ball, to the tune of 285 not out as England piled up 514 for eight. Pace legends James Anderson and Stuart Broad then shared ten wickets as England cruised to victory by an innings and 209 runs.
That crushing win extended England’s superb recent Test record against the Caribbean side in Birmingham. West Indies will arrive in the Second City next summer striving for the first Test win there in 20 years.
In 2000, the tourists came out on top thanks to match-figures of 40-19-58-8 from the great Courtney Walsh. But four years later it was England in control thanks to Freddie Flintoff and the Bears’ own Ashley Giles.
The Hollies Stand was in overdrive as Flintoff smashed an incredible 167 from 191 balls. Giles then spun his side to victory with nine wickets in the match.
Bears legend Giles will be back at Edgbaston next June, this time in his role as England’s managing director, to see if his team can carry on their hot streak against the ever-entertaining West Indies on his old home ground. It looks a pretty safe bet that history will be made somehow!