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Holding’s deadly spell 14 Wickets at the Oval

On 17th August 1976, the whispering death Michael Holding inspired West Indies to a 3-0 series win and his devastating match performance of 14 for 149 remained the best bowling performance.

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Last updated: 18.08.2019
Micheal Holding | Sports Social Blog

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On 17th August 1976, the whispering death Michael Holding inspired West Indies to a 3-0 series win and his devastating match performance of 14 for 149 remained the best bowling performance by a West Indian in a test match till date.


The series was a heated one because of the English captain Tony Greig’s pre-series boasting that he was intending to make the West Indian ‘Grovel’. This enraged the West Indian cricketers and fans alike and even some of the English players were not happy thinking about the consequences. The fact that Greig is originally a white South African also brought a racist undertone in the comment which he rejected vehemently.


By that time, West Indian captain Clive Lloyd had a team of few skillful and really fast bowlers in his squad and they made life difficult for all the English batsmen. After two drawn test matches at Trent Bridge and Lord’s they won the next two test matches at Old Trafford and Headingley and pocketed the series. The teams met at the Oval for the final test match of the series. In those days, Oval used to have a huge number of West Indian fans from the nearby South London area. They were a group of very vocal and committed fans of West Indies.

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West Indies batted first and batted for almost two days to put up 687/8 before declaring. Viv Richards scored 291 and there were the fifties from Roy Fredericks, Lawrence Row, Lloyd, and Collis King as Greig tried nine different bowlers.


England responded with 435 but could not save the follow on. Dennis Amiss scored a double century but did not get much support from the other end. Holding bowled brilliantly and got eight wickets in the first innings. Six of those wickets were bowled and the other two were LBWs as he did not require any help from the fielders. It was a wonderful display of fast bowling with perfect line and length. Greig was bowled by Holding off his pads.


Instead of implying the follow on, Llyod asked his batsmen to score quickly and the openers Fredericks and Greenidge added 182 runs in 32 overs before Llyod declared. During the onslaught, Greig went in front of a stand full of West Indian fans and groveled himself among loud cheer. But it was still not enough.


England were blown away on the last day for 203 runs and lost the match by 231 runs. Holding took six more wickets in the second innings. This time three were bowled, one LBW and two were caught by fielders. West Indies stamped their authority over the English cricket that went on for more than next 15 years.



Video: Micheal Holding 14 Wickets



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