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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Windies, England Fail Most Major Test of '96

LONDON -- By the end of 1996, it was difficult to tell which cricket team was sliding faster -- the West Indies or England.


For the first time since 1969, the West Indians lost the first two tests of a series and seemed headed for a heavy loss to Australia while England suffered its first loss to Mashonaland.


Mashonaland?


After sending a full-strength team to Zimbabwe, England lost to the regional Mashonaland team by seven wickets in a four-day game the Zimbabweans won with a day to spare. The test against the full Zimbabwean team, the weakest of the nine test playing nations, finished in a draw.


The draw laid its claim to history, being the first test to have both sides finish with the same score -- 610.


The West Indies endured a year of internal acrimony in which Richie Richardson was dropped as captain in favor of paceman Courtney Walsh.


Under Richardson, the once mighty West Indies were beaten by the part-time players of Kenya during the World Cup in February. Kenya, which had to qualify and was making its debut, bowled out the cricket superstars for 93 to win by 73 runs at Pune, India.


A 10-wicket victory over New Zealand in Barbados gave hope that the year might improve for the Caribbean islanders but the visit to Australia, for a series dubbed "The Decider'' showed there was still a lot wrong with the team.


Australian wicket keeper Ian Healy hit an unbeaten 161 at Brisbane off a full-strength West Indies attack. Then a spectacular West Indies collapse from 249 for three to 277 all out handed victory to Australia which won by 123 runs and took the second at Sydney by 124.