Sir Curtly Ambrose destroyed batting line-ups throughout his career and he formed one of the greatest bowling partnerships with Courtney Walsh. Ambrose was regarded as one of the most fearsome fast bowlers of his era. He could trigger crazy batting collapses with his pace, bounce and accuracy. Here’s a look at Sir Curtly Ambrose’s Test career stats:
Matches: 98, Wickets: 405, Average: 20.99, 5 Wickets in Innings: 22, 10 Wickets in Match: 3, Best – Innings: 8/45 vs England, Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados, 1990, Best – Match: 11/84 vs Queens Park Oval, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, 1994, Economy Rate: 2.31, Strike Rate: 54.58
- 8/45 vs England, Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados in 1990:
Overs: 22.4 overs, Maidens: 10, Runs: 45, Wickets: 8, Economy Rate: 1.99.
England lead the 5-match Test series, 1-0 heading into the 4th Test at Bridgetown, Barbados. They needed to win this match to take an unassailable lead in the 5 match series. England required 356 to win the Test, but they ended up losing the match by 164 runs. They lost the last Test and the series, 2-0.
The reason for their defeat was an incredible spell of fast bowling from Ambrose.
This spell elevated Ambrose elevated him to the league of legends. Ambrose had Rob Bailey (6) caught behind by the wicketkeeper, Jeff Dujon. Gladstone Small (0) departed after Ambrose trapped him plumb in front. Sir Vivian Richards caught Alec Stewart (37) at first slip to give Ambrose his 3rd wicket. Allan Lamb (10) nicked behind to Jeff Dujon. England were tottering at 5/97.
A 6th wicket partnership worth 69-runs between Robin Smith and Jack Russell helped England to 5/166. Ambrose came back and picked up the last 5 wickets. He broke the partnership between Russell and Smith by picking up Russell. Ambrose bowled Jack Russell (55) with a delivery that kept low and jagged the off-stump back. Ambrose then dismissed the final four batsmen, i.e., Nasser Hussain (0), David Capel (6), Phil DeFreitas (0), and Devon Malcolm (4), all lbw. England lost their last 5 wickets for 25 runs. They went from 5/156 to 191 all out. Ambrose ended up with match figures of 10-127 off 47.4 overs with 12 maidens to his name.
Ambrose kept bowling with aggression and pulled off a brilliant last spell on Day 5. He kept bowling tight to the English batsmen, that too at pace. The Day 5 pitch helped Ambrose, and he bowled one of the greatest fast bowling spells of all-time.
- 7/25 vs Australia, WACA, Perth, 1993:
Overs: 18, Maidens: 9, Runs: 25, Wickets: 7, Economy Rate: 1.38.
The Windies bowled first on a helpful WACA pitch that had something for the bowlers if they could hit the right line and lengths. Ian Bishop removed Justin Langer and Steve Waugh before lunch as Australia went into lunch with the score at 2-59.
Ambrose later mentioned that he didn’t hit the right lines and lengths and that’s why he didn’t get the rewards. However, after lunch, it was an unconventional story. Ambrose wreaked havoc as The Australians went from 2/85 to 119 all out in 47.2 overs. They lost their last 8 wickets for just 34 runs. It was a collapse of epic proportions as Ambrose pulled off one of the greatest spells of fast bowling of all-time.
Ambrose’s first victim was Mark Waugh (9) who edged a ball behind to wicketkeeper, Junior Murray. Ambrose’s next victim was David Boon (44) who edged the ball to Windies captain, Richie Richardson at third slip. Then Ambrose dismissed Australian captain, Allan Border (0) for a first-ball duck, as Border nicked behind to Murray. The delivery surprised Border with the extra bounce off an awkward length. Then Ian Healy (0) departed as he edged the ball to Brian Lara at first slip. Ambrose’s 5th wicket was Merv Hughes (0) who scooped a good-length delivery to Keith Arthurton, and then Damien Martyn (13) edged the ball to second slip, Phil Simmons. The 7th wicket was Jo Angel (0) who nicked behind to Murray.
Ambrose picked up 7/1 in the space of 32 deliveries.
It was an incredible spell of fast bowling on a helpful pitch for fast bowling. The Windies ended up winning the game by an innings and 25 runs and they won the best of 5 Test-match series, 2-1.
- 6/24 vs England, Queens Park Oval, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, 1994.
Overs: 10, Maidens: 6, Runs: 24, Wickets: 6, Economy Rate: 2.40.
194 to win the Test and come back in the 5- match series. England was in the driver’s seat to win the 3rd Test at Queens Park Oval in Port of Spain in 1994. They had two obstacles to overcome though: Walsh and Ambrose. England could not overcome both obstacles. Ambrose and Walsh annihilated England. The West Indies bowled England out for just 46 in 19.2 overs.
Ambrose removed 5 of the England top 7 and claimed the wicket of Jack Russell to destroy the English batting line-up. Pace, Accuracy, and Bounce. The three ingredients Ambrose used to dismantle the English. Ambrose was lethal and performed well on a helpful pitch.
Ambrose removed Mike Atherton (0) first ball of the innings with a delivery that had the England captain trapped, plumb in front. The delivery came back into Atherton and had in plumb in front. Ambrose’s next victim was Robin Smith (0) who was clean bowled by an Ambrose beauty. The ball came back in and went through the forward defence of Smith between the gap of Smith’s bat and pad. Ambrose bowled Alec Stewart (18) with a ball that hit the Stewart’s off-stump. Graeme Hick (6) got caught on the crease and nicked behind to wicketkeeper, Junior Murray. Phil Simmons caught Jack Russell (4) to give Ambrose his 5th wicket. Ambrose bowled a bouncer aimed at Russell’s chest. Russell edged the ball to Simmons who was at 2nd slip. Ambrose bowled Graham Thorpe (3) off the last ball of day 4. The ball stayed low and came back into Thorpe’s off-stump. Ambrose signed off with figures of 6/22 off 7.5 overs on Day 4.
Courtney Walsh dealt with the rest of the English batting line-up to give the Windies a memorable victory.
The result meant the West Indies not only won the match but also took an unassailable 3-0 Test Match series lead, 3-0.
- 6/34 vs South Africa, Bridgetown, Barbados, 1992.
Overs: 24.4, Maidens: 7, Runs: 34, Wickets: 6, Economy Rate: 1.37.
South Africa’s 1st Test back into Test cricket and they looked like favourites to win the game. South Africa’s score read 2/122. They had Kepler Wessels (74) and Peter Kirsten (36) both not out and at the crease for the start of Day 5. The visitors needed 79 runs to win the game. A South African victory seemed the most likely outcome.
However, Ambrose and Walsh caused one of the more astonishing collapses in Test cricket history. The pair bowled South Africa out for 148. The visitors only added 26 runs to their overnight total. So, they lost their last 8 wickets for just 26 runs.
Ambrose had the two previous wickets from Day 4. He removed 1st innings centurion, Andrew Hudson (0) for a second-ball duck. Brian Lara caught Andrew Hudson. In addition, Ambrose bowled Mark Rushmere (3). The score was 2/37 and then Kepler Wessels and Peter Kirsten batted out the day.
West Indies started Day 5 on a positive note with Walsh dismissing Wessels, with Wessels not being able to add to his overnight score of 74.
Lara took the catch at the slip. Then Ambrose picked up his 1st wicket of the day as Hansie Cronje (2) edged behind to the wicketkeeper, David Williams. Dave Richardson (2) gave Williams his third catch of the morning and Ambrose picked up his 4th wicket of the match. Ambrose bowled Meyrick Pringle (4) with a yorker and bowled Allan Donald (0) first-ball, with a delivery that seamed away and hit the top of off-stump. Ambrose picked up 6 wickets for the match and wrapped up the Test and the series for his side.