West Indies legend Clive Lloyd believes the carnival atmosphere at the Oval helped to create one of the most iconic Test matches ever in 1976.
In a match that gripped the local community and brought huge crowds to the Oval, Lloyd helped his side to 231 run victory over England.
The match became historic as it sealed a 3-0 series win for the West Indies and became recognised as a milestone in their period of domination in the game.
Speaking ahead of the Oval’s 100th Test match this week, Lloyd said: “It was a terrific Test match with big crowds because all the Brixtonians were there. We had a lot of support and it was like being at home.
“They thoroughly enjoyed what we did and we went out there to make them proud which we did. With the drums and the music that they had, it was a carnival atmosphere when we played at the Oval.”
There were a number of young talents in that side that went on to become cricketing greats including Michael Holding, Gordon Greenidge and Viv Richards.
It was Richards’ now immortalised knock of 291 in the first innings that really captured the imagination of the watching masses.
Lloyd said: “He missed one of the Test matches but he still got 800 runs in that series. It was just a magnificent performance, he hit everybody everywhere. He did as he liked and it was a joy to watch. I made about 80 at the other end so I was close up to it.”
It wasn’t just the atmosphere at that one individual Test match that impressed Lloyd, who has been a regular at the ground as a Lancashire player, ICC official and broadcaster.
“It’s the atmosphere. When we first came you didn’t have all these great stands but now you do. People still come for the atmosphere, it’s electric and that makes it a great place to watch cricket,” said Lloyd.
“We’ve always enjoyed watching and I assume the public do too because you’re never short of a crowd. It’s a venue we have a lot of love for.”