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Honours Board Legend: Fowler

Graeme Fowler reaching a century for England
Graeme Fowler reaching a century for England

After a crushing defeat in the First Test of the 1984 series against the great West Indies side at their imperious best, England were certainly not expected to achieve much as the series moved to Lord’s for the second game.

After Andy Lloyd, playing his first (and what proved to be his only) Test innings was hospitalised by Malcolm Marshall, England reshuffled their team, with Chris Broad chosen to make his debut as an opener, alongside Graeme Fowler, who had made 0 and 7 in the First Test at Edgbaston and was on the verge of being dropped from the side.

He mustered all his technical ability and much fortitude

While Michael Holding was ruled out of the match with an injury (replaced by Milton Small), the tourists attack was still fearsome, with Joel Garner joining Marshall in a side that certainly didn’t lack firepower, which certainly influenced captain Clive Lloyd when he won the toss and chose to insert England’s shell-shocked batting line-up.

This made Broad and Fowler’s opening stand no less remarkable.

The Wisden report of the match remarks that "Broad resisted inducements outside the off stump, preferring to exploit his thumping leg-side shots", and the debutant made 55 before he was caught down the leg side.

While David Gower, Allan Lamb and Mike Gatting all fell either side of a rain delay that ended the first day, Fowler continued on.

Wisden writes that he "mustered all his technical ability and much fortitude in an admirable hundred, which lasted 369 minutes (259 balls) and contained thirteen 4s", writing his name onto the Lord's Honours Boards, eventually finishing with 106 of England’s 286 all out.

The innings, which was Fowler’s second Test century, was full of courage and certainly the highlight of Fowler’s career to that point, especially considering the strength of opposition and pressure he was under before the match.

The score of 286, where Marshall took 8/56, owed much to the Lancastrian, and was put into perspective by the West Indies' first-innings total of 245, where Ian Botham bowled “unchanged and productively” to take 8/103.

Fowler's sleepless Lord's nights & the West Indies

Further rain put paid to the fourth morning, and while Lamb made a sparkling century, more bad light on the fourth evening made a draw look inevitable.

However, when Lamb was dismissed early on the final day for 110, England captain Gower decided to put the pressure onto the West Indies, setting them 342 to win, or more likely, just over two sessions to survive.

In the days before T20 Gower’s decision looked a correct one, but the hosts had not counted on Gordon Greenidge.

Wisden described it as "the innings of his life", as the opener mauled England’s bowling with a savagery never before seen at Lord’s.

Dominating the host's attack with boundaries all around the wicket (29 fours and two sixes in total), Greenidge blasted his way to an unbeaten 214 on the final afternoon, easing West Indies to what proved a comfortable victory. England could only muster one wicket as the onslaught continued - a run out, as Greenidge and Larry Gomes (92*) put on an unbroken stand of 287.

The pair saw the visitors to victory with 11.5 overs to spare to leave Gower rather embarrassed, and the win saw the West Indies go 2-0 up in a series they would eventually win 5-0.

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