August 13, 1976 – Twenty-four year old Vivian Richards made his highest test score ever.
August 12 – 17, 1976 the West Indies completed their defeat of the Tony Greig led England Cricket team, in response to his rallying cry to his team “make them grovel”. Specifically he said “I like to think that people are building these West Indians up, because I’m not really sure they’re as good as everyone thinks they are. I think people tend to forget it wasn’t that long ago they were beaten 5–1 by the Australians and only just managed to keep their heads above water against the Indians just a short time ago as well. Sure, they’ve got a couple of fast bowlers, but really I don’t think we’re going to run into anything more sensational than Thomson and Lillee and so really I’m not all that worried about them. You must remember that the West Indians, these guys, if they get on top are magnificent cricketers. But if they’re down, they grovel, and I intend, with the help of Closey and a few others, to make them grovel”
It was the final test at Kennington Oval. Captain Clive Lloyd won the toss and elected to bat. All sources on record recalls Michael Holding as stating “I remember Viv batted with a Stuart Surridge Jumbo bat in those days. It was huge. He had a good partnership with Lawrence Rowe who made a brilliant 80-odd but because of Viv nobody remembers Lawrence’s innings. Viv just blasted it. He was batting brilliantly the whole summer and it carried on at The Oval.”
In his autobiography Sir Vivian: The Definitive Autobiography published in 2000, Sir Viv Richards declared ‘that this was the greatest motivational speech Greig could have done for firing the West Indian side up’.
By the end of the first day, August 12th, Viv was 200 not out. He still holds the record for the most runs by a number 3 batsman in one day.
August 13th Viv went on to 291 before falling to English Captain Tony Greig. His 291 runs came in 386 balls, over 472 minutes (7 hours & 52 mins). The innings included 34 fours with a strike rate of 75.38.
Umpire Dickie Bird recalls Sir Viv’s 1976 innings as one of the best he has ever witness.
Micheal Holding also had a most memorable performance during this test match. Having taken 8 wickets in England’s 1st innings, he went on to take 6 wickets for 57 runs for a windies best-ever test match bowling figures of 14 wickets for 149 runs. Holding earned the nickname ‘Whispering Death’ in this test match from Umpire Dickie Bird. He stated “Holdings range of shots was magnificent all around the wicket”.
West Indies won the match by 231 runs. Scores of the 781st test match – Windies 687/8 and 182/0 declared, England 423 and 203 all out. Windies won the series 3 – 0.
Sir Viv scored 829 runs during the 5-match series at an average of 118.42. His 291 was his second double test century for that series.