Test Cricket Tours - Australia to West Indies 1954-55
Tour of West Indies
First Test-playing tour
of West Indies by Australia
Arrangements for an Australia-West Indies series were made in
September 1953.The West
Indies Board of Control had written pointing out that the Australians owed West Indies a visit in return for their tours of
1930-31 and 1951-52, which had not been reciprocated. The problem was
squeezing in a tour so soon after the Ashes series.
From the Australian point of view the Caribbean tour was a great success. Having conceded the
Ashes in 1953, and seen them comfortably retained by England in 1954-55, all the batsmen fully
rehabilitated themselves after the battering they took against England only
a few weeks before.Morris, Harvey,
Miller and others were prolific scorers. The average innings for the whole
tour was an incredible 44.76, although it must be admitted that the pitches
were benign and the West Indian bowling attack was nothing like as strong as England's.
Lindwall and Miller showed they were still a fearsome
pair of fast bowlers though Bill Johnston was less of a force before a
twisted right knee brought his career to an end.
Skipper Ian Johnson, gifted with a diplomatic manner,
made sure the side was popular wherever they went since it was inevitable
that the Australians would be compared with the MCC tourists from the year before.
30 December 1954 Jack Burge (the father of Peter Burge), an administrator and
state selector with Queensland,
was appointed manager from a short list of four.When he was unwell in mid-tour, Langley took over his
duties for a week.
Sir Donald Bradman (South Australia),Dudley Seddon (New
The team was named at the end of the fourth Test against England. Jim
Burke and Graeme Hole who had played in the Ashes series were discarded.
Tour Party Announced:3 February
Not selected :. The selectors were criticised for not taking a
chance on Pat Crawford or Bob Simpson who had done well in the Sheffield
The Australian Board of Control named Ian Johnson as captain on 7
February and Keith Miller next day, replacing Morris.
Time between selection and departure from Australia
(3 February - 12 March)
Departure was on 12 March
1955 from Mascot Airport, Sydney.
The team flew via Vancouver, Toronto
and Nassau, to Palisados
Airport, Kingston, on 15 March. They received an
enthusiastic welcome after - according
to Landsberg - a ninety-six hour journey.
Time spent in West Indies
(15 March - 23 June)
Ian Johnson (captain),Keith Miller (vice-captain),Arthur
It was considered likely that Neil Harvey would be
the third selector once Morris was demoted from vice-captain
None.Arthur Morris led the side when the new
vice-captain Keith Miller was unable to appear against Trinidad
because of a knee injury.A similar
knee injury, suffered by Bill Johnston on the first day of the final Test
match, was bad enough to end his Test career.
•Openers Morris and McDonald began the series
with a stand of 102 at Kingston
before Harvey (133) and Miller (147) shared a third wicket partnership of
224; and the heavy run-scoring continued from there.
•Harvey and Miller scored three centuries
each in the series, and there were seven others by team-mates.
•Lindwall’s 6-95 at Port
of Spain cut West Indies back
from their strongest batting position in the series.
•Ian Johnson took 7-44 in the second innings
of the Third Test to ensure Australia
was set a low target.
•After losing two quick wickets, five batsmen
scored centuries in the Australian first innings of the final Test at Kingston: McDonald
(127), Harvey (204), Miller (109), Archer (128) and Benaud (121)
•Benaud’s century was the fastest in Tests
since 1902-03 by Jimmy Sinclair; and the innings of 8 wickets for 758
declared was Australia’s
highest total in Test matches.
•Wicket-keeper Gil Langley played four Tests,
conceding only 22 byes while 2464 runs were scored.
Other first-class matches
ϯ Minor matches
The ‘Rangitane’ left London and was available for the Australians to board on
23 June so the planned rearrangement of the two-day fixture at Montego Bay was scrapped.
The team sailed from Kingston on
the 'Rangitane' to Wellington, New Zealand, docking on 14
July.They then took the inter-island
steamer to Lyttelton and flew from Christchurch
on 15 July.
Time away from Australia
(12 March to 15 July)
home Board would finance the tour and take any profit or loss from the
fourteen games originally planned. Hosting the tour cost the West Indies Cricket Board
£60 000 and they approached the government of the West
Indies Federation to indemnify it against losses of up to £10
accounts of the tour
"The Kangaroo Conquers"(1955)by Pat Landsberg[Museum Press
After succumbing against Tyson and Statham’s fast bowling and
Hutton’s captaincy to lose the Ashes in 1954-55, the selectors opted for
experience, and picked only two new players in Burge and Watson but neither
took their chance. Nor did Davidson, Maddocks or Favell make much progress.The tour was a triumph for the older
brigade of Harvey, Miller, Morris, Lindwall and Langley.