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March 31, 1995: Cricket's Big Power Shift Begins

Steve Waugh. (Getty Images)

Steve Waugh. (Getty Images)

It was the beginning of the series which marked the shift in power from West Indies to Australia as the Caribbeans were beaten in a series for the first time in 15 years.

The West Indies were the unofficial heavyweights of world cricket going into the home series against Australia, having not lost a series for 15 long years. The Australians led by Mark Taylor were the underdogs and were pegged back even before the start of the much anticipated tussle, as their premier pace bowling duo of Craig Mcdermott and Damien Fleming were ruled out of the series due to injury.

Exactly 22 years to this day, the four-match series got underway in Barbados and Windies captain Richie Richardson won the toss and decided to bat first. Brendon Julian and a young Glenn McGrath ripped the heart out of West Indies’ batting. Brian Lara (65) and Carl Hooper (60) resisted but the a seven-wicket burst from the Julian-McGrath sank the Windies to a paltry first innings total of 195.

Australia responded with 346 in their first essay with gritty half-centuries from captain Mark Taylor (55), Steve Waugh (65) and Ian Healy (74*), taking a crucial 161-run lead.

McGrath then showcased first signs of his greatness as he removed the key man Lara early in the second innings. The lanky paceman would go on to pick up 5 wickets in the innings as the Windies were bowled out for 189. Australia went on to win the match by 10 wickets within three days

West Indies made a stunning comeback in the third Test and won the low scoring match by 9 wickets on a ‘green’ pitch at Trinidad.

But it was a special double century from Steve Waugh in the decider at Jamaica, supported by younger brother Mark Waugh (126) which tilted the scales in Australia’s favour as they went on to win the fourth Test by an innings and 53 runs to win the Frank Worrell Trophy on West Indian soil after a gap of 22 long years.

It also ended West Indies’ stranglehold over world cricketing order and the Caribbeans went into a downward spiral, from which they are yet to recover completely.

Australia on the other hand started their dominance of world cricket, which was undisputed for a decade and a half until a new breed of Indian cricketers changed cricket’s world order again.