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Caribbean '99, Pt III: 'Lara was just Lara'

Fifteen interviews, two teams, one epic series … an oral history of Australia's unforgettable four-Test showdown with the West Indies in 1999

Caribbean 1999: Read part one | part two | part three | part four

Courtesy of his match-winning 213 in Jamaica, Brian Lara had instantly transformed himself from scourge to saviour among the Caribbean people. More importantly, Lara had shifted the pressure from the once-beleaguered West Indies onto Australia. Concerned some members of the touring party were losing a degree of focus, captain Steve Waugh imposed a curfew on his players.

Meanwhile, Greg Blewett, top scorer in two of Australia's four innings in the series, had been struck down by a thumb injury, handing another opportunity to highly-rated Tasmanian Ricky Ponting, who was to play his 23rd Test.

With the entire Caribbean gripped by what had suddenly become an unmissable series, the two sides headed to Kensington Oval in Bridgetown for the all-important third Test.

Here's how the players themselves remember a classic contest…

Third Test | Bridgetown, Barbados | March 26-30, 1999

West Indies won by one wicket

West Indies XI: Sherwin Campbell, Adrian Griffith, Dave Joseph, Brian Lara (c), Carl Hooper, Jimmy Adams, Ridley Jacobs (wk), Pedro Collins, Nehemiah Perry, Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh

Australia XI: Michael Slater, Matthew Elliott, Justin Langer, Mark Waugh, Steve Waugh (c), Ricky Ponting, Ian Healy (wk), Shane Warne, Jason Gillespie, Stuart MacGill, Glenn McGrath

Steve Waugh: Maybe (the need for a curfew) was my fault – maybe we drank too much after the first Test match (laughs). The rum certainly tastes better in the Caribbean than it does anywhere else in the world. And it is a place where, with the beach culture, you can relax; the people are so friendly, and so chilled, and if you're not careful you can get in sync with their pace of life. You've got to be careful that you don't get away from what you're used to, in terms of how you prepare for matches. Potentially, that might have crept in.

Geoff Marsh (Australia coach): You've got to remember that we were heading into a World Cup as well. Stephen knew, and I knew, that we had to keep our standards up.

Blewett: A lot of us didn't agree with the curfew. We felt like they never really worked … but that was the way he wanted to go about it, and without ever having chatted to Steve about it, I'm sure he had his reasons.

Steve Waugh: I think as a new captain, things may be heightened because you've got the responsibility and you're thinking Hang on, are we doing the right thing here? Can we do it better? It might have been a bit of a kneejerk reaction, I'm not 100 per cent sure, but maybe I was also trying to put my mark on the team as a new captain: OK, let's cut back on the excesses – we can still have a great time and be ourselves, but just be aware that cricket is the priority.

Waugh won the toss for the third time in the series and again elected to bat. It wasn't long before the captain was required in the middle, with Australia teetering at 3-36. Curtly Ambrose had dismissed Michael Slater and Mark Waugh in the space of three balls, and the giant Antiguan appeared in one of those moods.

Ambrose: We had Australia three down for not many. When Steve Waugh walked to the crease, we said to each other, 'OK, three down, one or two more, we could get them out for a low total'. Boy, were we wrong. What a fantastic player Steve Waugh was.

Steve Waugh: Ambrose was all over me. I was batting with Justin Langer, there was a bit in the pitch, and it was a real battle. He was a great bowler. It was an examination of your whole technique; he would forensically go through every part of you, every detail, trying to break it down and find a chink in your armour. He was a superb athlete for such a big guy. He moved brilliantly, his rhythm was always immaculate, and his last ball was as quick as his first. He had a bouncer that was always at your throat, and he tested you the whole time. He was a physically intimidating presence; he didn't say anything on the field, he just looked at you, and stared a lot. That's far more intimidating than anyone sledging you aimlessly. You're not quite sure what he's thinking – is he trying to get me out, or is he trying to hurt me? You just had that niggling doubt in the back of your mind.

Waugh continued his outstanding series with a brilliant 199 // Getty

Ambrose: No matter how great a batsman is, I've always believed they're vulnerable at the start of their innings. They need to get the pace of the pitch, see what the ball is doing, feel a few in the middle to gain confidence. So what I'd do to Steve Waugh early in his innings, I'd try to bowl so he didn't feel too many in the middle. They can leave a few, or if they want to go fishing, fine. But Steve Waugh being Steve Waugh, well, it didn't always work.

Langer: In those five years from '93 to '98, I didn't play Test cricket but I did go on a lot of tours. I watched (Steve Waugh) bat, and he was like a run machine. As a young batter, I had the best seat in the house, sitting in the changerooms with him, and that rubbed off on me. I just thought, Imagine being able to score as many runs as Steve Waugh does. So to get the chance to bat with him for a long period was significant for me. I remember (getting out for 51) felt like a terrible waste of a good opportunity.

Langer's dismissal midway through day one ended his century partnership with Waugh, and brought Ponting to the crease for his first Test innings in the Caribbean. The young batting prodigy seized his chance, staying with Waugh until after lunch on day two. Ponting made a measured 104, while his captain was finally dismissed for 199. It was an epic 281-run stand, then Australia's third-highest ever in the Caribbean.

Steve Waugh: I was proud of that innings because it was tough going and you did need a bit of luck. Once the wicket settled down though, I didn't feel as if I was going to get out. Bridgetown is probably one of the quickest outfields and smallest grounds in the world, and once you get in, you can make a big score there pretty quickly.

Nehemiah Perry (West Indies off-spinner): It was a very good wicket. Once Steve got a start, it was very difficult to dislodge him. He played a tremendous innings, Ricky Ponting as well. We worked hard for our wickets. I was coming off a five-wicket haul in Kingston, and they were saying things like, 'Come on mate, I thought you would enjoy the challenge. We heard your interview, you were talking all these things'. If the captain took me off, they would say, 'Come on Perry, we are batting well, take up the challenge'. Well, I wasn't the captain, so I couldn't bring myself back on.

Waugh was mobbed by fans as he reached his second ton as Test skipper // Getty

Sherwin Campbell (West Indies opening batsman): Both guys spent some time at the crease before they really got going, especially Ponting … and then he got in and it just started to flow. So you couldn't really score from the beginning – you had to take your time to get set and then it would get easier. I remembered those hundreds.

Ambrose: From the very first time Ponting came into the Australian team as a young man, I said, 'Hmmm … this guy, he's got something. He's going to be special'. (Ambrose and Ponting had first squared off in an ODI on Australia's 1995 tour of the Caribbean, with the 20-year-old scoring 43 in Trinidad). He had all the shots, and he would take you on and try to dominate you. I always liked that about him. Some players stick around, try to wear you down. Ricky Ponting would come at you, and if you weren't on your game, he could make you look very ordinary.

Marsh: Ponting's decision-making against Ambrose and Walsh was brilliant. Two of the best bowlers in the world, and Ricky was still young. It was a great contest.

Mark Waugh (Australia batsman): 'Punter' (Ponting) was always earmarked to be a top-class player, but you never really know how good someone is going to be until they do it. He could hook and pull better than anyone I ever played with. He loved the challenge of fast bowling. Even in the nets he'd go in and want the fast bowlers to bowl bouncers at him. And the harder, the better.

Steve Waugh: Ricky had been on the previous Caribbean tour, in '95. He didn't play (Tests) on that tour but he'd seen how players had gone about it against the great bowlers. He was always a keen observer and very quick to learn. (His recall in Barbados) came at a time when he was thinking, I want to cement my spot in the side – I'll do whatever I can to get a hundred here. Concentration was one of his great attributes and that innings showed he was going to be there for the long haul. It was almost a passing over of the baton in the Australian side. Guys like myself and Mark (Waugh), and Ian Healy, we were getting towards the end of our careers, and we knew that Ricky Ponting was ready to step up to the plate.

A young Ponting relished the battle with Ambrose and Walsh // Getty

Pedro Collins (West Indies fast bowler): Ponting played some very good shots. I'd seen him before the Test when the Aussie boys were playing some beach cricket. I remember just stopping and watching. Guys were running in and bowling fast and he was just bashing the ball, and I was thinking Jeez, this guy has got some very good hand-speed and coordination. Everything was just perfect.

Australia made 490 and the West Indies were soon on the ropes in reply, with Ponting dismissing recalled opener Adrian Griffith with a run out in the first over of the innings. The hosts looked to have resorted to type, limping to 4-80 at stumps on day two, with Lara out for eight.

Griffith: The last thing my coach Malcolm Marshall said before I came out was, 'Don't run to Ponting'. I ducked under the first ball I faced, and I felt pretty good. The next ball, I came forward and played toward Ponting at cover, I thought it was a little further away from him than it was, and I do believe he got a good bounce, but he left me short. The hardest thing was walking back into the dressing room to face my coach. But it was strange, I'd only faced two balls but I had felt good out there. I was looking forward to the second innings.

Campbell: I didn't make a score in the first couple of Test matches so I needed to get some runs in front of my home crowd. I'd watched a lot of cricket at Kensington Oval back in the day. When I was a young lad I saw Michael Holding bowling to Geoff Boycott, and I watched a lot of first-class cricket there – Greenidge and Haynes, Malcolm Marshall and Joel Garner. They were part of history, those fellas. I was batting on the third morning and Carl Hooper went early, then Jimmy Adams (next ball), and we were six down in a flash. I thought, I've definitely gotta stay out here.

Campbell cuts en route to an underrated hundred // Getty

Jason Gillespie (Australia fast bowler): Sherwin Campbell was a fine player but I always felt we were in the game with him, because early in his innings he was a bit of a shuffler; he didn't really commit on either front or back foot. We always thought that if we could get the ball to nip off the seam, we were in the game. But he was an underrated player. He was a fighter, and we knew the damage he could do if he got through that first hour, because he had the game to start putting pressure on the bowlers.

Campbell had been joined by wicketkeeper Ridley Jacobs with the score at 6-98. The pair set about frustrating the Australians with a 153-run stand.

Campbell: The morning session was really tough. Gillespie and McGrath bowled for two hours straight. We had to grind it out and survive to lunchtime. By then I was saying to myself, these guys have just bowled for two hours, they can't come out and bowl after lunch. When the spinners came on after lunch it was a lot easier for us. Shane Warne wasn't at his best in that series, and MacGill was inconsistent at times.

Steve Waugh: 'Dizzy' (Gillespie) has to be on the verge of the category of 'great' bowler. He doesn't often get mentioned in those dispatches, but he was just as valuable to the team as Warne and McGrath. He was world class in terms of his skill level, and probably more importantly, he never got the benefit of bowling at the end he wanted to bowl at – he was always bowling up into the breeze, or maybe the pitch conditions didn't suit him as much as the other end would've. He never complained, and always wanted to do the hard yards.

Campbell cuts en route to an underrated hundred // Getty

Campbell: McGrath was so consistent in terms of his pace throughout the Test match. His third, fourth, fifth spells to me were the same pace as his first. He was quite similar to Ambrose; very accurate, always at you and making you play a lot of balls. With the new ball or the old ball, he could do a bit both ways and he always had you thinking. There was no room for error.

Campbell went on to make 105 across more than six hours in the middle, taking the West Indies to 329. As Gillespie, McGrath and MacGill all toiled for 20-plus overs, Warne – who had undergone shoulder surgery the previous year and missed much of the Australian summer – bowled 15.5 overs for figures of 1-70.

Blewett: You could certainly see Warnie wasn't at his best. He was falling away to the off side in making that extra effort to get his shoulder over. At that point, he wasn't anywhere near what he was … before he had his shoulder operation.

Campbell: That ranks right up there for me in my career, to grind out an innings like that, in a Test like that against Australians. I'd scored a hundred in Australia ... and I'd faced those guys before, so I knew what was coming. I knew Shane Warne wasn't at his best, and I would be able to get a few loose ones. Coming off that injury, his confidence wasn't there and neither was his consistency; you'd get one or two bad balls that you could look to put away. When he was bowling with MacGill after lunch, we really tried to cash in.

With a first-innings lead of 161, Australia remained in the ascendancy. But in a tricky eight-over period before stumps on day three, Ambrose and Walsh each struck to leave the tourists 2-18. The first wicket was Matthew Elliott, who had registered his third duck of the series. It would prove to be his last Test for more than five years.

Blewett: By that third Test, a lot of us were hoping (Elliott) would do well but you could see he was really battling. I've been the same – you start the tour with some optimism but as it gets towards the end you feel like you're not going to make a run, and I think Matty was probably in that space.

Stuart MacGill (Australia leg-spinner): Cricket tours are very long, and if you're not in form, you miss home. I wouldn't be surprised if Matty was homesick towards the end of the tour, just because things hadn't really worked out the way they were supposed to. You know, this guy was a superstar. It was a hard tour for him, that's for sure.

The following morning, Campbell's run-out of Michael Slater triggered a collapse of 5-46, and by tea on day four, Australia had been bowled out for 146, with Walsh taking 5-39.

Jimmy Adams (West Indies batsman): We were dead and buried. Courtney got the five-fa but it was the bowling unit as a whole that got us back into the game. People tend to forget that. (Walsh was) very accurate, very skillful, so even on wickets that favoured batting he could still build pressure. Hard to do, but not rocket science as to why it happens. He just didn't give you any scoring opportunities.

Walsh produced a devastating second-innings display // Getty

Steve Waugh: I can't recall Walsh bowling a bad spell. There were plenty of times when you knew he was injured, but he could bowl off four or five steps and still be dangerous with those long arms and the angles he used to create. He was more of a nightmare for left-handers actually, they didn't know whether to play or leave him. I found him a little bit easier to handle than Ambrose, because he came into your hip and you could work him into the leg-side, but you would never take anything for granted. At any moment, either of those guys could get you out. Walsh was one of the bowlers you'd love to have in your team because you knew you were getting one hundred per cent commitment the whole time.

Australia's second-innings capitulation had given West Indies a sniff, and after the way Lara had batted in Jamaica, a target of 308 didn't seem impossible. Still, it would be the fourth-highest chase they had achieved in Test cricket. In the final session of day four, Barbadian opening pair Campbell and Griffith laid a strong foundation.

Campbell: We weren't really worried about the runs at that stage, we just wanted to get West Indies off to a good start. We felt very confident.

Griffith: We put on 72 if I'm not mistaken and it was the first 50-run opening partnership of the series. We were saying to each other that we needed to get into the last day with as many wickets intact as possible. That was the goal. I batted for more than three hours that evening, for 35, but it was a very satisfying 35, I must say. But we lost three wickets before stumps and with Brian coming in late in the day, I just tried to make him face as few balls as possible, because we were going to need him the next day. It was a good feeling, playing a part for the West Indies.

Campbell: When Brian is there, there's always hope. Still, you weren't sure how the day was going to pan out. We couldn't really go to bed saying we were on top, or we were behind. I remember Brian was pretty confident. You could see it in his body language. I'm sure he'd made up his mind the night before that he was going to win this game.

Griffith: Knowing Brian, he would've worked out exactly how he was going to go about the day, and what needed to be done to get the runs.

Lara finds his groove on the final day // Getty

Adams: There was always a feeling that if Brian Lara had an innings, we would get the runs. Whether that's a bad thing or a positive thing for the rest of the batting unit, I don't know. But with what happened in Jamaica, and the fact that he got a score in Trinidad as well, we just knew that 300 was gettable if Brian batted like he could. But he would need support.

The equation on the final morning was simple: Australia needed seven wickets, West Indies needed 223 runs. But when Griffith fell in the fifth over of the morning, and Carl Hooper followed soon after, the hosts had slumped to 5-105. Both batsmen had fallen to Gillespie, who had found his groove but was bowling through intense pain.

Gillespie: I hurt my back two-thirds of the way through that game. A slight tear in one of the discs. I started to get sore but there was no way I wasn't bowling. It was actually really good conditions to bowl. We were getting it to reverse swing, because Kensington Oval is very dry and abrasive, particularly on the square, and I was getting it to go both ways.

Blewett: Jason Gillespie bowled an unbelievable spell. The crowd was pumping. That was Test match cricket at its best. Dizzy was always like that. He was an absolute warrior. I've seen him play a Shield game without the big toenail on his left foot, blood soaking his sock. He never complained. Just got on with it. He and McGrath were just fantastic on that last day.

After lunch, Gillespie's back injury temporarily forced him from the field, and Steve Waugh was forced to take the second new ball alongside McGrath. Australia's spearhead had bowled 33 overs in the first innings, and would bowl 44 in the second; no fast bowler has sent down as many overs in a Test match since.

Steve Waugh: Every time I went to take (McGrath) off, he'd say, 'Give me one more, I'm gonna get (Lara) out'. And when you've got a great bowler, you tend to trust them sometimes more than maybe you should even, so I kept going. He had that great appetite for the contest, he believed he could win the Test for us. He lived for that kind of challenge.

Gillespie: I was trying all sorts of things. To (left-handers) Jimmy Adams and Brian, I'd go away, away, away, then try and bring one back into them to go for the lbw or bowled. They'd keep that out. Then I'd go in, in, in, in and then slide one across them inviting the nick.

Adams stayed with Lara for more than three hours on day five // Getty

Steve Waugh: It was like, "Brian, you can play a nice innings against us, but don't go too far mate. Have a bit of fun and get out." I was sick of him getting hundreds against us. And he just kept going. He was probably the best player I've ever seen of spin – he could decimate anyone. Obviously, Warne wasn't at his best and Stuey MacGill struggled a bit as well, and we just didn't seem to have any answers. And Bridgetown's a small ground with a quick outfield and it can really get away from you; it's hard to stop someone there when they're on a roll.

After almost three hours of resistance and a vital 133-run partnership, McGrath bowled Adams for 38, and had Jacobs soon after. At 7-248, the West Indies were still 60 adrift of their target with only the bowlers to offer support to Lara, who had realised the need for haste and raced from 50 to 100 in just 51 balls.

Perry: Two quick wickets fell – bam, bam – and there I was, out in the middle. Brian Lara said to me, "Glenn McGrath is going to bowl you an inswinger. He's going to try and hit you on the pad, or bowl you, so look for that". So I was really looking for that ball, that inswinging full length. And that's exactly what he bowled. It was such a good ball that I didn't lay bat on it. It hit me on the pad, and I was out lbw, first ball. I don't even remember how I got into the pavilion. I must've floated back inside. I felt so bad. I thought, this is it – the match is finished. Because after me, it was Ambrose and Walsh, and I'm thinking there's no way these two guys can negotiate Glenn McGrath, who was bowling at top pace and swinging the ball like hell.

Ambrose: I remember walking out to bat with only Courtney to come. I got to the middle and Brian said to me, 'Big fella, I'm going to give you one delivery every over'. I said, 'No skipper, I'm capable of handling myself'. But Brian said, 'No, no, no – one delivery per over. I'll take all the batting'. I said 'OK, no problem'. And he did that very, very well for more than an hour.

Steve Waugh: Lara was at a different level, and he had that ability to kick into that extra gear. You thought he was playing at his best then all of a sudden, he'd elevate himself again. He did that on that last day batting with the tail, with the way he controlled the strike, then put the foot on the accelerator when he needed to.

Campbell: It was great to watch – McGrath trying to be aggressive, as usual, and Lara not backing down from a fight. It was like a boxing match, the way they went back and forth at each other. McGrath was trying to get Lara out by going wide outside the off stump, trying to get him to play at wide balls, or sometimes get him lbw. I remember the bouncer he bowled in the last session that struck Brian on the head. That was after tea, you know, and he still had the energy to maintain that same pace throughout the day. I thought it was phenomenal.

Collins: After McGrath hit Lara in the head, Lara hit him straight away for four the next ball. The crowd went wild. That's what West Indians like to see – good bumpers, guys getting hit, boundaries, wickets. That's all about. There were very big turnouts in that series. People just dancing and skanking and enjoying themselves at the cricket. It united the Caribbean a lot.

McGrath and Lara engaged in a compelling duel on the final day // Getty

Griffith: McGrath was the main man. He and Lara had words at one point. You're talking about two guys at the top of their game, the weight of their countries on their shoulders, and they're going at it. It was what Test cricket is all about.

Steve Waugh: Potentially I could've given (McGrath) a bit more of a rest and given a part-timer a bowl, maybe. But he was capable of doing it. Forty-four overs on a flat pitch in hot conditions, it really was a Herculean effort. And he nearly got us across the line.

Langer: McGrath was like a skeleton after that Test, he'd lost that much weight.

Gillespie: I finally got a nick off Lara (with seven runs needed), and unfortunately 'Heals' (wicketkeeper Ian Healy) went one-handed in front of first slip and shelled the chance. I knew Heals was struggling; he'd tweaked both his calves so he was struggling to push off. I was gutted. You work your arse off to get that nick, and for it go down was tough. Heals would never have used it as an excuse but it must've been tough to have had both his calves barking at him every time he tried to push off. It was a rare mistake from one of the greatest keepers to have ever played. But that just makes the story all the more compelling.

Ian Healy and Shane Warne react after Healy's crucial dropped catch // Getty

Steve Waugh: With great fieldsmen, like Ian Healy was, when they drop one it's more noticeable because it's so rare. And he was always hard on himself, Heals. He prided himself on taking everything, which he nearly always did. But that tour for him was a bit of a struggle. It ended up being one of his last tours and he was fighting injuries, and probably the mental side of things, not knowing when his career was finishing, so he obviously had a few things on his mind, and that maybe showed in his 'keeping in those couple of Test matches. But I certainly don't blame any individual … we all made mistakes through the whole match, it just gets heightened in the last half hour of a match, when in reality we've probably made 10 or 20 errors that influenced the game.

Two balls later, Gillespie had Ambrose caught by Elliott at third slip. The wicket brought legendary bunny Walsh to the crease, with six runs still needed and three balls left in Gillespie's over.

Ambrose: I was like, 'Damn – I've really messed it up'.

Gillespie: I thought, Jeez, I'm half a chance of knocking over the big fella here.

Adams: I was sitting beside Pedro Collins on the balcony. Pedro was busting for a piss and (team manager) Clive Lloyd would not allow him to move. Clive told everybody to keep their positions. So me and Pedro were sitting down, leaning against each other in our seats, and nobody's saying anything. It was just pressure. Pedro said to me something along the lines of, 'OK well I can't take a piss, but I can't watch this anymore either'. He didn't have the guts to look, and well, it was Courtney – he didn't exactly inspire confidence. I think at that point he'd just passed Danny Morrison for the most ducks in Test cricket, so he wasn't bringing a big reputation with him to the middle.

Collins: Everybody – I mean everybody – went wild when Walshy left a ball through to the 'keeper.

Walsh survived three deliveries as well as a no-ball from Gillespie, and with a wide and three runs from Lara in the next over – McGrath's 44th – the scores were tied.

Perry: I'd been underneath the table in the dressing room. Hadn't watched another ball bowled. People were asking me, 'Perry, when you coming out from under that table?' I said, 'I'm not moving'. I'd kept everything on – my gloves, my helmet, my pads – and every noise from the crowd I knew something was happening for the West Indies. The first time I came out was when I heard the scores were tied.

Walsh saw off what was McGrath's final delivery of the match, leaving Lara, unbeaten on 149, to face Gillespie.

Gillespie: I'd bowled a couple leading up to that coming back into him, reverse swinging. And then I bowled one that started off stump and went away from him, but I got it a bit too full. Well he's latched onto that and absolutely laced me through the covers for four. Then it was crazy scenes at Kensington Oval. It was just bedlam.

Lara celebrates one of the great all-time Test innings // Getty

Adams: Pedro is like a whippet, but when Brian hit the winning runs, all I can remember is I got to Brian quicker than Pedro did. I've watched the replay of that game, and both myself and Pedro are out there hugging Brian. It was just an incredible day, right the way across.

Lara celebrates amid chaotic scenes at Bridgetown Oval // Getty

Griffith: I remember when we got really close I said, 'I'm going for Brian'. As soon as he hit those winning runs, I was off. I reckon I was probably the first person to reach him. I remember seeing Pedro and Jimmy out there. It was an unbelievable moment.

Adams: We got back to the dressing room and I can remember Courtney Walsh was just screaming. It just exploded – all the pressure and the tension – and he just screamed out. It was just unbelievable tension.

Collins: In the dressing room, Lara was just Lara. He was just cool about it. He didn't act like he was too big. He just did Lara – cool and calm, foolin' around a little bit. There was no like, 'I'm the big guy here, I deserve this, I deserve that'. He was just normal. I admired that about the guy.

Lara was mobbed by both teammates and fans // Getty

Gillespie: To this day I maintain that was the best knock I witnessed against us. Everyone talks about VVS Laxman, which was an unbelievable knock in Kolkata. Lara's double-hundred in Jamaica. Michael Vaughan played a couple of amazing knocks against us. But I would still say Brian's 153 not out was the best knock played against us in my time in the Australian side. And I'd go as far to say it would have to be in the top 10 knocks of all time. The situation. The conditions. The deteriorating pitch. Reverse swing. The ball's a bit up and down. The scrutiny Brian was under from the media and the public. A lot of it was in our favour. It was a masterful knock. Absolutely masterful.

Langer: It was some of the most extraordinary batting I've ever seen. He was under massive scrutiny. Then he came out and became the hero again, as great players do. Best innings I've ever seen.

Perry: We went over the top with our celebrations. There was a motorcade, we were travelling on the rooftop of the bus. We were two hours late for the flight both teams had chartered for Antigua because we were celebrating on the street – shaking hands, signing autographs, drinking beers. You know who wasn't pleased when we got onto the plane? The Australians! We were trying to say, 'Oh guys, please, understand'. But they were saying, 'Guys the series is not over, what are you doing?' But that win, it was absolutely significant for the Caribbean people.

This four-part oral history of the 1999 Caribbean series will continue on April 3, which will mark 20 years since the fourth Test in Antigua began

Caribbean 1999: Read part one | part two | part three | part four