Eyebrows were raised from all around the world when the pitch was re-laid at Kingston, Jamaica in 1998 for the first Test between England and West Indies. The Jamaican officials thought that re-laying the pitch would help West Indies get home advantage, because the wicket at Sabina Park had become slow and low.

Work started less than six months before the Test, and the soil didn’t get much time to bed down. The wicket, which wasn’t rolled flat failed to hold together. There were concerns over how it would play but no one ever imagined as in what was coming.

Believing the fact the pitch is going to get worst further, England captain Mike Atherton won the toss and elected to bat first. In the very first over, the pitch started showing its true colours which no one had even anticipated.

The openers found it very difficult to cope up with venomous uneven bounces. Premium pacers Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose started troubling the batsmen and Walsh picked up the English skipper Mike Atherton with a steep bouncer. Next came in Mark Butcher to face the first ball of the tour and he received an unplayable ball, which took his edge and went in the slips.

Wicket-keeper Alec Stewart showed courage and stood on top with his willow. Stewart first injured his finger while defending a ball from Ambrose and later got another blow. It became regular for the English physiotherapist Wayne Morton to pay a visit in the ground. With two blows, Stewart and Graham Thorpe called skipper Atherton on the field as it became almost impossible to face the uneven balls.

Atherton spoke to the umpires and also the match referee on behalf of his players. And with this came the first abandoned Test match in 122 years due to the pitch. The abandoned match was followed by a press conference where both the boards faced a wrath of the press.

The crowd couldn’t believe as the match was called off but luckily the highly volatile Jamaican crowd didn’t react as expected. The 4,000 present got their admission fee returned, however the 500 odd English supporters who had travelled all the way from England had threatened for legal action.

The ICC mulled for long over the status of the game and finally an official status was granted. Nixon McLean was left with a peculiar debut Test, where he neither batted nor bowled but one has to feel for the English batsmen, who got done by the pitch. The Test left everyone in bitter taste.