Courtney Walsh recorded the best bowling figures in Tests as captain: Captaining the team has, more or less, been the domain of the batsmen. However, all-rounders and bowlers have also had opportunities to lead their teams at one point of time or the other and have achieved success.
Courtney Andrew Walsh of West Indies, who had featured in 132 Test matches in a career spanning 17 years (1984-2001), has the record of having the best bowling analysis in a Test match, while leading the team.
This landmark he achieved in the second and final Test of the two-match series against New Zealand in February, 1985.
Having drawn the first-Test at Christchurch, the second-Test played at Basin Reserve, Wellington, between 10th and 13th February, 1985, was a ‘must win’ game for both teams to clinch the series.
West Indies led by Walsh won the toss and opted to put runs on the board.
They did put the runs, declaring their first innings with a massive 660 runs for the loss of 5 wickets over five sessions.
As many as three batsmen notched up century scores. Brian Lara (147), Jimmy Adams (151) and the wicket-keeper Junior Murray (101) contributed the most. Sherwin Campbell fell short of the landmark by just 12 runs. Keith Arthurton was unfortunately run-out for 70 runs.
A partnership of 221 runs for the third wicket between Lara and Adams was the highlight of the innings and the best partnership for any wicket in the match. The unbroken partnership of 139* runs for the sixth wicket between Junior Murray and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (61) also played a big role in the score accumulation.
For New Zealand, Danny Morrison (29-5-82-2) and Simon Doull (37.2-5-162-2) were the most successful bowlers.
Commencing their first innings, New Zealand, never found it easy. Except for the first-wicket partnership of 50 runs between Bryan Young (29) and Darrin Murray (52), as also the third-wicket partnership of 56 runs between Murray and the skipper, Ken Rutherford (22), no other useful partnership developed, leading the Kiwis to end their innings at 216 runs, trailing by a massive 444 runs.
Courtney Walsh did the maximum damage, claiming 7 wickets in the form of Bryan Young (29), Andrew Jones (0), Stephen Fleming (47), Shane Thomson (6), wicket-keeper Adam Parore (32), Murhy Su’a (6) and Simon Doull (0), giving away only 37 runs in his spell of 20.4 overs.
Forced to follow-own, New Zealand found the goings even tougher in their second knock.
Walsh continued to torment them, removing one of the openers, Young (0) without a single run of the board. Except for Murray (43), Fleming (30) and Morrison (12), all of whom were consumed by Walsh, no other batsmen could even reach the double digit score.
Succumbing to the venom spewed by the West Indies skipper, New Zealand literally surrendered and ended their second innings at a score of just 122 runs.
Walsh, following his 7-wicket haul in the first innings, returned a figure of 15.2-8-18-6 in the second innings.
He ended the match with an excellent analysis of 36-15-55-13. He had given away just 1.52 runs an over.
West Indies won the match by an innings and 322 runs and also wrapped the series 1-0.
For his wonderful performance, Walsh was awarded the Player of the Match.