July 27, 1995 – When bright light forced early Tea in a Test match
The light wasn’t the only cause of interruption in the Manchester Test between England and West Indies in 1995.
Updated - Jul 27, 2018 4:44 pm
West Indies’ tour of England in 1995 witnessed a tough battle between the two sides starting from the 3-match ODI series and in the subsequent 6-match Test series. The home team bounced back in the ODI series to win in 2-1 after losing the first match. The Test series began with a 9-wicket win for the touring team at Leeds before England squared the series with a 72-run win at Lord’s. West Indies slipped into the lead once again as the hosts aggregated only 236 runs in the Birmingham Test which they lost by innings and 64 runs.
England needed to put up a good show to level the series in the 4th Test match that started on July 27th at Old Trafford in Manchester. Their bowlers came hard at the West Indians who elected to bat first. Angus Fraser and Dominic Cork took 4-wicket hauls to dismiss them for 216 in just 60.2 overs. About 15 minutes before the Tea interval on the first day, umpire Dickie Bird felt the light was too bright to continue play.
Umpire Bird consulted his fellow Cyril Mitchley and both the on-field officials decided to take an early Tea as the light was reflecting into the eyes of the batsmen and slip fielders. The actual reason for the bright sunshine was the greenhouses adjacent to the ground that was reflecting light on the ground. The officials had to cover the greenhouses with black sheets to ensure that there no more interruption in the game due to light.
However, they had to draw stumps early on the 2nd day due to bad light with five overs of play still remaining. The light wasn’t the only concern that created an interruption in the Test match as rain forced an early Tea on the 2nd day of the Test. To top it all streakers both male and female caused regular breaks during the Test. It was an eventful Test for the home team as they went to level the series with a six-wicket win.
They took a 221-run first inning lead having scored 437 with the help of Graeme Thrope’s 94 and Dominic Cork’s unbeaten 56 in the end. Brian Lara scored the first century of this Test series as he made 145 in 226 but his side crumbled to 314 as Cork claimed yet another 4-wicket haul. The hosts were reduced to 48/4 from 39/0 chasing 94 and Robin Smith was retired hurt. Jack Russell’s unbeaten 39-ball 31 saw England through to a win without any further damage.