April 14, 1985 – 5,000 plus cricket fans at the Antigua Recreation Grounds (ARG) witnessed Sir Viv Richards become the first batsman to score a Test Century at a strike rate of over 150 during the 1,045th International Test Match.
It was the 5th and final test match in the England versus West Indies Series, 5th Test April 11 – 15 1985. England was already down 4 and staring a blackwash in the face. Captain Richards, up to this match had not gone on to any domineering scores though under his leadership, powerhouse Windies dominated with bat, ball and in the outfield.
As had become the norm there was an electrifying party atmosphere in the stands as the Carnival Cricket, for which the ARG was internationally renown, embraced the prospect of a complete shutout of the English team. The match proceeded pretty much as expected. Legendary opener Desmond Haynes anchored a West Indies 1st innings total of 474 scoring 131 (283 balls) during his 7.5 hours stand at the crease. In reply England amassed 310 wilting to the pace attack of Marshall, Garner, Patterson and Holding. The West Indies remained in the hunt for a clean sweep and in the second innings set a record pace, 246/2 in 43 overs at a strike rate of 5.72. Desmond Haynes was again among the runs with 70 runs (96 balls).
However, it was the blistering pace of Viv Richards that set the stage for the victory. Against an internationally respected bowling attack that included his lifelong friend Ian Botham as well Graham Gooch, Neil Foster, Richard Ellison and John Emburey, Sir Viv plundered his way to 100 runs in 56 balls. When his innings closed as West Indies declared on 246/2, Richard’s tally was 110 from 58 balls to include 7 sixes and 7 fours, a strike rate of 189.65. This record stood for 28 years until it was equaled in 2014 by Mishah-ul-Haq, then eventually eclipsed by Brendon McCullum’s 54 ball century in 2016. Sir I. V. A. Richards fastest century still ranks as the 2nd fastest in terms of number of balls, and 7th fastest in time 81 mins.
Highlights of the innings
Photo Credit: cricketscorer.com