Emotions were high, the atmosphere was charged, excitement was bubbling and the two illustrious sons of the soil duly obliged their worshippers with an authentic display of batsmanship.
In an exhibition similar to those they provided when they were acknowledged as Test cricket's most successful and durable pair of opening batsmen, Greenidge and Haynes made light work of an England attack that troubled current West Indies batsmen during last year's Champions Trophy in Sharjah.
That England comfortably beat the University of the West Indies Vice-Chancellor's XI was of no importance to the more than8 000 spectators at Kensington Oval.
They would have gained their money's worth by just the sight of Greenidge and Haynes emerging from the Garfield Sobers Pavilion for the first time since 1991.
They enjoyed much more. Greenidge, 46, and Haynes, 42, dispelled any doubts about deteriorating eyesight and loss of technique by fashioning the umpteenth century stand of an illustrious partnership that started back in the late 1970s.
Haynes, the more belligerent and assured of the two, thumped 71 off 70 balls with 12 fours which included everything - rasping cuts, powerful pulls, a delicate reverse sweep and even one or two genuine slogs.
On reaching his half-century, he jubilantly punched the air in the way only he does.
Greenidge, still a master of the technique which once prompted the former England all-rounder Ted Dexter into describing him as the most complete right-hander he was privileged to see, was more watchful than Haynes.
Having allowed his partner his long-time wish of facing the first ball, Greenidge buckled down for most of his innings of 39, but there were times he played with just as much conviction as his colleague.
The first of his six fours, a square-cut off Dougie Brown, was a Greenidge classic, and he also showed some of his class by a perfect on-drive that was highlighted by its magnificent timing and placement.
The pair had added 108 in 21 overs of what some fans called ecstacy, when Greenidge, cramped for room, attempted to play off-spinner Robert Croft through the off-side. The ball bounced more than he anticipated and it resulted in a catch to mid-wicket.
Haynes, his exuberance spotted from as early as the third ball of the innings which he despatched to the mid-wicket boundary, was out three overs later, his top-edged sweep off Croft falling in the hands of short fine-leg.
As he walked off the ground, some spectators started to file out of the stands, obviously completely satisfied by the nostalgia provided by their two national heroes.
The outcome of the match was effectively settled over the next couple of overs when the Vice-Chancellor's XI, chasing a reduced target of 278 off 45 overs, quickly lost the wickets of Mohammed Sanwar Hossain, Jeff Dujon and Brian Lara, who was run out before he had the opportunity to face a ball.
England's new-look One-Day team never let up when they had reduced their opponents to 141 for five in the 30th over when Lara went and the victory was achieved by 71 runs when the Vice-Chancellors's XI were all out for 207 off 42 overs.
A challenging England total of 289 off 49 overs was built around an impressive third wicket stand of 157 in 26 overs between the forthright Alec Stewart and captain Adam Hollioake, the pair pulling the innings around from the uncomfortable 59 for three.
Stewart, dropped by Lara in the second over of the innings off the luckless South African Victor Mpitsang, compiled 108 off 129 balls with 14 fours before he missed a wild slog and was bowled from what he believed was a no-ball.
more: THREE WISE MEN STILL HAVE TOUCH
by Philip Spooner SUN on Saturday
YESTERDAY was one of the greatest days in the history of West Indies cricket.
The history books re-opened at Kensington Oval to embrace two of the most productive, complete and dependable batsmen the game has ever seen, and a wicket-keeper par excellence.
Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes, who for close to 15 years laid a firm foundation for the West Indies innings, and Jeff Dujon, the lithe, agile Jamaican wicket-keeper received glowing tributes fit for the kings they are.
Playing for the UWI Vice-Chancellor's XI against the touring Englishmen the trio was almost immortalised in a moving ceremony during the lunch break.
Professor Henry Fraser gave a brief history of the trio, who were all part of the glory days in the '80s.
He described the 42-year-old Haynes as the ``hard-hitting hero, a cavalier at the crease ... one who was determined, delightful and dependable''.
He touched on Haynes' motto: ``Live, Love, Laugh'' threewords which guided the player through the ups and downs of his career.
Greenidge, 46, was deemed ``the country boy from the mountains of Barbados who was nothing less than a run machine ö flamboyant in strokeplay''.
Fraser recalled a paragraph from cricket's bible Wisden which read: ``In full flight he was a glorious sight.''
Dujon, a greying 40, was likened to James Bond, with whom he shares the same birthdate as the character's creator, Ian Fleming.
``He had boundless energy,'' Fraser told the near sell-out crowd, ``he rose from being a child prodigy to one of the greatest 'keepers the game has ever seen.''
After the ceremony, which included the renaming of the Three Ws Annex in honour of Greenidge and Haynes, the captive audience then rose to its feet to welcome the world's greatest pair of openers to the wickets.
It was business as usual as the pair posted another century opening stand.
More: CLASS ACT - Greenidge amd Haynes Show They Still Have It
by Tony Cozier SUN On Saturday
AS it was the Vice-Chancellor's Eleven, it was appropriate that there should be a masterclass in the art of batsmanship.
For a couple of hours yesterday afternoon, Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes ö sorry, in this unique case, Desmond Haynes and Gordon Greenidge ö held the assembled thousands at Kensington Oval enthralled with an exhibition of strokeplay from a not-too-distant past when they laid the foundation for the West Indies domination of the world.
Greenidge is now 46 and has not played a first-class match since 1991. Haynes is 42 and retired from the game a year ago.
These were mere chronological details. In fact, they were, from all appearances, as physically fit as in their heyday.
As they set out on what will probably be their last innings together, they soon showed that they had lost neither their technical perfection nor their instinctive power, posting yet another hundred stand with a volley of thrilling boundaries.
They arrived at the crease on a wave of emotion. This was their day.
These two Barbadians of contrasting personalities from the humble origins of outlying parishes had become the most durable and productive opening pair during the wonder years of the 1980s.
Many came, from the Governor General and the Prime Minister to university graduates and schoolchildren to the ordinary fan, primarily to partake of the honours that would be bestowed on them ö and on Jeffrey Dujon, the Jamaican wicket-keeper who had been part of those glorious days.
At the on-field ceremony between innings, Haynes admitted ``I feel like crying''. So did thousands of others ö and even more so when the two finally strapped on the pads and walked down the steps of the Sir Garfield Sobers Pavilion on their way to the middle.
As they did, the England players, in their sky blue outfits, formed a guard of honour for them, a nice gesture appreciated by a crowd that has not been enamoured by everything they have done on their Caribbean tour.
The next matter that had to be settled was who would face the first ball. It had, always and automatically, been Greenidge but Haynes had let it be known, publicly and repeatedly, that he wanted this one last chance of the honour.
The scoreboard backed Haynes, placing his name above his senior partner's for the first time. But, to their delight of the crowd, they both strode to the same crease and, for a while, playfully jostled each other for territorial rights.
Once more the Englishmen were in on the act. As Haynes' moved to the opposite end, so did wicket-keeper Alec Stewart and the slip fielders, leaving Greenidge stranded, at last, to watch from the non-striker's end.
Haynes took the honour seriously. He outscored his partner two to one but both immediately took charge of the bowling on the kind of friendly Kensington pitch and fast outfield they had come to know and love.
It was a day we came to remember. It's a day we'll never forget.