When in early 2014 Misbah-ul-Haq’s men dramatically defeated Sri Lanka at Sharjah in the third Test to square the series 1-1, the victory was rightly described as being one of the finest achieved by Pakistan (in Test match cricket).
But it was only the second victory in the past 14 years that can be termed as ‘great’ (after Inzamam’s men defeated India in the third Test to square the series during Pakistan’s 2006 tour of India).
However, in the decades before the 2000s, Pakistan managed to accomplish a number of thrilling victories in which the team came from behind to snatch unexpected victories.
Here we recall the drama and the ecstasy of four such Test wins.
This feature is part of Dawn.com's on-going Pakistan Cricket History series:
• Pakistan Cricket: A Class, Ethnic & Sectarian History
• Reverse Sweeps: Pakistan’s Crazy Cricket Controversies
• Great Pakistan Cricket Captains (And Then Some)
4th Test vs England, Kennington Oval, August 12-17, 1954
In June 1954, Pakistan embarked on its maiden tour of England to play its first ever Test series against the English side.
Pakistan had managed to gain international Test status in 1952 but had just played five Tests (against India) before leaving for England.
The Pakistan team was being led by the 28-year-old Oxford graduate, Abdul Hafeez Kardar, an average batting all-rounder but a no-nonsense figure who commanded immediate respect from the players.
The Pakistan squad was an extremely inexperienced lot. Before Pakistan’s Test debut in 1952 most players had just played club cricket in Pakistan, except Kardar who had played three Tests for India (before 1947) and was playing county cricket in England.
Pakistan’s cricket board at the time was lacking the money and facilities required to construct a robust structure in a Test playing country.
The players were paid only a nominal fee per Test and most of them had never travelled beyond India and Pakistan, let alone to England.
A number of players also had to actually borrow warm clothes from friends for the England trip, while some private patrons of the game in Pakistan lent them money to buy basic cricket equipment like shoes, pads and bats.
Pakistan was scheduled to play four Tests and a number of side games on the tour and for this the selectors picked a 17-member squad:
• A H. Kardar (Captain) | 28 | Lahore | Left-Handed Batsman (LHB)/Left-Arm-Spin (LAS).
• Hanif Mohammed | 19 | Karachi | Right-Handed Batsman (RHB)
• Alimuddin | 23 | Karachi | RHB
• Fazal Mahmood | 27 | Lahore | Right-Arm Medium Fast (RMF)
• Imtiaz Ahmad | 26 | Lahore | Wicketkeeper (WK)
• M E. Ghazali | 29 | Karachi | RHB/ RFM
• Ikram Illahi | 21 | Quetta | RHB/RFM
• Khalid Hassan | 16 | Peshawar | RHB/Right-Arm Leg-Break (RLB)
• Khalid Wazir | 18 | Lahore | RFM
• Mahmood Hussain | 22 | Lahore | RFM
• Maqsood Ahmad | 28 | Lahore | RHB
• Mohammad Aslam | 34 | Lahore | RHB/RLB
• Shakoor Ahmed | 25 | Lahore | RHB/WK
• Sujahuddin | 24 | Lahore | LHB/LAS
• Waqar Hassan | 21 | Karachi | RHB
• Wazir Mohammed | 24 | Karachi | RHB
• Zulfikar Ahmed | 27 | Lahore | Right-Arm Off-Break (ROB)
|Some of the Pakistani players pose for the camera during the England tour.|
Pakistan was one-down in the series when it reached the Kennington Oval ground in London to play the last Test of the four-Test series. The first and third Tests were drawn whereas the second was won by England by an innings and 129 runs.
But Pakistan could have easily been 3-0 down in the series had it not been for the weather that saved the team from certain defeats in the first and third Tests.
Pakistan’s swing bowlers Fazal Mahmood and Mahmood Hussain had enjoyed bowling under overcast skies and on wet pitches, but Pakistan’s batting was all at sea in front of England’s quick bowlers.
Rain had saved the team some major blushes in the first and third Tests and Pakistan went into the fourth game under heavily overcast skies, a tricky wet pitch and a shaky batting line-up. British press predicted that only more rain could save Pakistan from losing the series 2-0.
|Out and about in London: Kardar, Fazal and Imtiaz Ahmed two days before the fourth Test.|
Kardar won the toss and elected to bat. But rain delayed the start of the play and when the Pakistani openers, Hanif Mohammed and Alimuddin, walked in to bat, they found themselves on yet another unpredictable wicket and an atmosphere in which the ball was swinging prodigiously through the air.
Once again, Pakistan was exposed to the swinging ball and bundled out for just 133. Kardar top scored with a streaky 36.
England was one for no loss at end of the first day’s play. The second day’s play however was completely washed out by heavy rains.
The third day of the game was punctuated by intermediate spells of rain and overcast skies, leaving the wicket wetter than ever. This was good news for Fazal whose swing bowling ran through the English side, sending it packing for just 130. Fazal took six wickets and was ably supported by his fast bowling partner Hussain, who grabbed four.
Just three runs ahead, Kardar asked his batsmen to give him a lead of at least 150 which he thought his bowlers could defend on a rapidly deteriorating pitch.
But by the end of the third day’s play, Pakistan had collapsed to 63 for 4, just 66 ahead. Imtiaz Ahmed and Kardar were on the wicket and they returned on the fourth day trying to repair the damage and to increase Pakistan’s lead to at least 150.
After only an hour’s play, however, Pakistan had crumbled to 82 for 8 (just 85 ahead).
|Another Pakistani batsman perishes in the second innings.|
Pakistani players in the dressing room kept looking up at the overcast skies and some were heard asking the pressmen present at the stadium whether more rain was predicted.
When Hanif’s brother, Wazir Mohammed, was walking in to bat at the fall of the sixth wicket at 73, Kardar (the sixth man out) while walking past the in-coming Wazir, said: ‘150. Just give me a lead of 150.’
But 73 for 6 quickly became 82 for 8.
Wazir defended well and continuously talked to the last two batsmen, none of whom were known for their batting.
While playing with Hussain and last man Zulfiqar Ahmed, Wazir tried to continuously steal singles and doubles to keep the strike.
He found an equally stubborn partner in Hussain, who grew in confidence, striking four boundaries in his vital innings of 34 that lasted 117 minutes!
Pakistan crossed 150 and was eventually all out for 164. Wazir remained not-out at 42. Kardar finally got what he wanted: a lead of 150 or above.
England was confident of achieving the target, more so when it reached 108 for 2. The pitch seemed to have settled down and even flattened out. Pakistan was in trouble.
But just as the close of the fourth day’s play was drawing near, Fazal bowled a vicious leg-cutter to Peter May who was well set at 53. May tried to play the ball on the back foot, was squared-up, got an edge and was comfortably taken at first slip by Kardar. England 109 for 3.
Then at 114, Fazal got past Even’s defences, clean bowling him for three. Kardar brought in the left-arm spin of Shujauddin from the other end who, with an arm ball, struck TW Graveney plumb in front of the wicket. The umpire showed no hesitation in declaring Graveney out LBW. England 116 for 5.
The prolific English batsman, Dennis Compton, was still at the wicket and was looking well set to eventually guide England towards a victory when he couldn’t help but chase and edge an out-swinger from Fazal that was gladly grabbed by wicketkeeper Imtiaz Ahmed. England were 121 for 6 and now (for the first time) looking to be in a bit of a bother.
|Fazal on a roll: Gets a well-set Compton.|
The fourth day finally ended with England poised at 125 for 6, needing just 42 to win with four of its wickets still intact and whole day to go.
Though praising the young and inexperienced Pakistan team’s fight back, the British press was overwhelmingly predicting an English victory.
J Wardle and Frank Tyson walked in to bat on the start of the fifth day’s play with the instructions to move towards the target with the help of singles and doubles.
But Fazal had entered the field after being spurred on by Kardar the evening before. He quickly got Tyson to edge an off-cutter to Imtiaz Ahmed before snapping up Wardle. England 138 for 8.
When Hussain removed Loader with the score still at 138, England still needed 29 but with just one wicket in hand.
McConnon and JB Statham slowly pushed the score to 143. They had begun to look relatively comfortable against a tiring Fazal when McConnon pushed a delivery into the covers and tried to steal a quick single. Hanif was quicker. He ran in fast to gather the ball and threw down the stumps at the non-striker’s end, running McConnon out by almost a yard.
|Hanif runs McConnon out and Pakistan win by just 24 runs.|
The Pakistan team erupted with joy. The babes of world cricket had defeated what was then considered to be one of the world’s strongest Test sides.
Stunned, the large English crowd at the stadium gradually joined a few dozen UK-based Pakistanis gathered underneath the Pakistan dressing room where the Kardar’s team waved and responded to their cheers.
On its return to Pakistan, the team was given a heroes’ welcome.
|Kardar waves to the crowd after the victory.|
Playing for Pakistan: Hanif Mohammed (Oxford University Press, 1999)
From Dusk to Dawn: Fazal Mahmood (Oxford University Press, 2003)
DAWN (18th August, 1954)
3rd Test vs Australia at Sydney Cricket Ground, January 14-18, 1977
When veteran middle-order batsman Mushtaq Mohammed was made captain of the Pakistan cricket team (in late 1976), Pakistan had not won a Test match in three years.
Replacing Intikhab Alam, Mushtaq, in his maiden series as captain (against the visiting New Zealand side), led Pakistan to its first series victory (2-0) since 1973.
But the real Test for Mushtaq and his team lay ahead when Pakistan were to tour Australia and the West Indies.
At the time Australia and the West Indies, packed with a battery of genuine fast bowlers and some destructive batsmen, were considered to be the top two Test sides in the world.
Pakistan was to play three Tests in Australia and five in the West Indies. A 17-man squad was picked for the twin tour:
• Mushtaq Mohammad | (Captain) | 33 | Karachi | Right-handed batsman and right-arm leg-break
• Asif Iqbal | (Vice Captain) | 33 | Karachi | Right-handed batsman
• Majid Khan | 30 | Lahore | Right-Handed opening batsman and occasional off-spin
• Sadiq Muhammad | 31 | Karachi | Left-handed opening batsman
• Zaheer Abbas | 29 | Karachi | Right-handed batsman
• Javed Miandad | 19 | Karachi | Right-handed batsman and occasional leg-break
• Haroon Rashid | 23 | Karachi | Right-handed batsman
• Mudassar Nazar | 20 | Lahore | Right-handed opening batsman
• Wasim Raja | 24 | Lahore | Left-handed batsman and right-arm leg-spin
• Wasim Bari | 27 | Karachi | Wicketkeeper and right-handed batsman
• Taslim Arif | 22 | Karachi | Wicketkeeper and right-handed batsman
• Imran Khan | 24 | Lahore | Right-handed batsman and right-arm fast
• Sarfraz Nawaz | 28 | Lahore | Right-handed batsman and right-arm fast-medium
• Saleem Altaf | 32 | Lahore | Right-handed batsman and right-arm fast-medium
• Sikander Bakht | 19 | Karachi | Right-handed batsman and right-arm fast-medium
• Asif Masood |30 | Lahore | Right-handed batsman and right-arm fast-medium
• Intikhab Alam | 35 | Lahore | Right-handed batsman and right-arm leg-break
• Iqbal Qasim | 23 | Karachi | Left-handed batsman and Left-arm leg-spin
• Mohsin Khan | 21 | Karachi | Right-handed batsman
(Mohsin Khan joined the squad on the West Indian leg of the tour).
Former Pakistan cricketer Shujauddin was the Manager.
|The squad off to Australia (Karachi Airport, December 1976).|
The Pakistan team immediately received a hostile reception from the Australian media. It predicted the Australians would whitewash the Pakistanis. The hostility spilled over onto the ground as well when the Pakistani players faced a continuous barrage of abuse from the crowds as well as from the Australian players during the first Test in Adelaide.
Pakistan barely averted defeat and managed to hold on to a tense draw thanks to a fighting century by Asif Iqbal in the second innings. But the Pakistani players were clearly shaken by the manner in which the Australian team and the crowd had behaved.
Right after the game, Australia’s tearaway fast bowler, Denis Lillee, came into the Pakistan dressing room carrying a few bottles of beer.
Mushtaq was surprised when Lillee asked him to share a beer with him. Mushtaq responded by telling Lillee: ‘How can you expect us to share a drink with you after the way you guys abused and cursed us in the field?’
Lillee laughed: ‘Mushy, what happens on the field, remains on the field.’
Ironically, though the Pakistan team did end up sharing a few beers with the Australians, Lillee demolished the Pakistan side in the second Test at Melbourne, picking up 10 wickets in the match as Pakistan experienced a crushing defeat, losing by 348 runs.
VIDEO | Rare video of Lillee’s 10 wickets in the second Test match in Melbourne:
Now one-down in the series and expecting another barrage of hostile fast bowling and abuse from the Australians, vice-captain Asif Iqbal wrote an article for the now defunct Pakistani cricket monthly, The Pakistan Cricketer.
Titled ‘The Ugly Australians’, Iqbal outraged against the abusive behaviour of the Australian crowds and players. The article caused a stir in the Australian press that now encouraged the Australian team to defeat the Pakistanis in the third Test by an even bigger margin.
|A member of the crowd is reprimanded by the cops for drunken behaviour during the first Test in Adelaide.|
Meanwhile, captain Mushtaq was facing another problem. Pakistan’s maverick batsman, Wasim Raja, who had not been selected in the playing IX in the first two Tests, managed to nudge the skipper, when he struck a hard-hitting century in a side game against Queensland.
Under pressure from the criticism Pakistan’s batting was facing from the press back home and the fact that Mushtaq’s relationship with the Pakistan cricket board’s President, A H. Kardar, was rapidly deteriorating, the tour’s selection committee (consisting of Mushtaq, vice-captain Asif Iqbal and Manager Shujauddin), decided to strengthen the batting line-up by playing an extra batsman in the third Test at Sydney.
|Iqbal Qasim, Haroon Rasheed, Mudassar Nazar and Sikandar Bakht share a few tips with young Australian fans.|
Raja’s inclusion was now almost a certainty after his crackling century against Queensland. But unknown to him, Mushtaq and Asif wanted to bring in a more reliable batsman, someone who would actually listen and follow the instructions of the captain.
A day before the third and last Test, Raja somehow got to know that he won’t be playing in the Test. A loner by nature, he decided to sulk on his own in his hotel room where he was also drinking.
However, a point came when he could not contain his anger and smashed a mirror in his room with a whisky bottle.
He then stumbled out, cursing manager Shujauddin. His behaviour was reported to Mushtaq when Sarfraz Nawaz, Mudassar Nazar, Zaheer Abbas and Sadiq Mohammad, who were at the hotel bar near the lobby, saw Raja stumbling over sofas and abusing Shujauddin for trying to destroy his career.
Mushtaq rushed from his room to the hotel lobby and managed to calm Raja down. He told him that the manager had actually wanted Raja to play in the Test and that it was his (Mushtaq’s) and Asif Iqbal’s decision not to play him.
He told Raja that Pakistan had a long series against West Indies after the Australian tour and there will be ample chance for him to play his part.
Though Raja apologised to Shujauddin, the manager got a call from Kardar demanding that Raja be disciplined and sent back home.
This was ironic because during Pakistan’s 1975 home series against West Indies, when (during the first Test in Lahore), some Urdu newspapers had accused Raja of taking the field drunk and exchanging ‘obscene gestures’ with the crowd, Kardar had ignored the issue.
What’s more, when Raja went on to crack a century in the second Test in Karachi, Kardar is reported to have told a selector, ‘If this is what drink does to him, then he should remain this way all the time!’
|The maverick: Wasim Raja|
Nevertheless, when Kardar ordered Raja’s return from Australia, Mushtaq vetoed the idea. Raja would eventually go on to pile over 500 runs in the five-Test series against West Indies that Pakistan would narrowly lose 2-1.
Haroon Rasheed was given the chance to make his Test debut in Sydney. He came in at the expense of fast bowler, Asif Masood.
Another seam bowler who had played in Melbourne, Salim Altaf, too was dropped and Sarfraz Nawaz, who had missed the second Test due to injury, returned.
The Sydney pitch looked to be a sporting one. It was expected to help the fast men but was also expected to be helpful to batsmen who were willing to play their strokes.
Mushtaq lost the toss. He was sure that Australian skipper, Greg Chappell, would ask Pakistan to bat first. He was already picturing his batsmen struggling again, facing the pace of men like Lillee, Walker and Gilmour. He was thus shocked when Greg decided that Australia would bat first.
When Mushtaq was leading his team in, he wondered whether Pakistan was a bowler short. He was only playing two pacemen, Imran and Sarfraz.
When he reached at the centre of the ground he looked at the pitch again. It was a green-top, but was expected to turn brown after lunch underneath the hot Sydney sun.
However, from the end Imran was expected to bowl, Mushtaq observed a dark green spot that was about nine inches in width just near the good length area. Mushtaq was sure this spot would remain fresh compared to the rest of the pitch. He asked Imran to target that spot.
Chappell’s decision to bat first soon backfired when Imran and Sarfraz reduced Australia to 38 for 4. Chappell and Cosier repaired the early damage a bit and took the score to 100. This is when Imran began to hit the spot identified by Mushtaq. He removed Chappell and Cosier to make Australia 125 for 6. This became 148 for 8 when Sarfraz removed Marsh and Imran got rid of O’Keeffe.
Gilmour helped to take the score to 159 when he was taken out by Sarfraz. Pakistan was then frustrated by a dogged last wicket partnership between Walker and Lillee.
The pair took the score past 200 and Pakistan’s two pacers were tiring. Mushtaq had used occasional medium-pace bowler, Asif Iqbal, to give Imran and Sarfraz a breather, but when none of them were able to dislodge the last Australian pair he tried himself (leg-break) and Iqbal Qasim (left-arm-spin), for a few overs but to no avail.
|Haroon Rashid. Fighting knock.|
Finally, he tossed the ball to 19-year-old Javed Miandad. It worked. In his second over he finally managed to trap Lillee LBW. Australia were all out for 211.
But was that all the Aussies needed, considering how the pitch was helping the seamers and how the Australian fast bowlers had troubled the Pakistanis in Melbourne?
Pakistan began their reply on the second day. The established opening pair of Sadiq and Majid started well and quickly took the score to 42 when Sadiq fell. But then so did Zaheer and Mushtaq in quick succession and Pakistan were soon reduced to 77 for 3. At 111, the well set Majid perished and Pakistan found itself in a spot of bother.
Asif Iqbal tried to settle things down with debutant Haroon Rasheed. Lillee and Gilmour hurled a series of bouncers at him. The Australian slip fielders taunted Haroon, telling him to go back to Pakistan. And every time a bouncer would hit Haroon, the crowd would roar, ‘Lillee, Lillee, kill, kill!’
But Haroon hung on, quietly guided by Asif, until both completed their fifties and pushed the score to 205. Chappell, who had now begun to worry, was relieved when Gilmour finally removed Haroon for a valiant 57.
Young Miandad now joined Asif, who was playing beautifully. Mushtaq had asked Javed to just stay at the wicket as a support to Asif. Miandad did just that, till Asif reached his century. Both Javed and Asif helped Pakistan cross 300 and begin piling an impressive lead when Asif finally got out for a brilliant 126.
Pakistan was all out after lunch on the third day for 360, leading the Australians by 149.
The pitch seemed to have slowed down and looked good for batting. The Australians were expected to not only knock off the lead but also give a fighting total for Pakistan to chase. After all, Australia was the best team in the world at the time.
The Australian openers started steadily, pushing the score to 32 when Turner tried to drive a Sarfraz outswinger but only managed to edge it to Majid at first slip. Soon after a sharp, lifting delivery from Imran saw McCosker fending and nicking the ball to wicketkeeper Bari. Australia 41 for 2.
|The Pakistan dressing room erupts with applause as Asif Iqbal reaches his century. (From left [sitting]): Haroon Rasheed, Majid Khan, Sadiq Mohammad, Taslim Arif and Imran Khan.(Standing from left): Saleem Altaf, Wasim Bari and Sarfraz Nawaz.|
With the score at 51, Imran got Davis caught by Haroon, and another one of Sarfaraz’s outswingers removed the dangerous Chappell, caught behind. At 75, the solid Garry Cosier nicked yet another Sarfraz outswinger to Bari. Australia were left reeling at 75 for 5.
|Sarfraz removes the solid Gary Cosier. (From left): Sadiq, Mushtaq, Sarfraz, Zaheer (hidden), Imran, Javed and Cosier.|
With the score at 99, the dependable Walter’s bat came down late to meet a quick Imran delivery that took the bat’s edge and gave Bari his fourth catch of the innings. 99 for 6 then became 99 for 7 when the left-handed Gilmour tried to pull an Imran bouncer but was brilliantly caught by Zaheer in the deep. Zaheer broke his glasses in the process.
Pakistan was on its way. It had never won a Test in Australia. The historic victory got even closer when Sarfraz removed O’Keeffe. With 8 down for just 115, Australia was facing a possible innings defeat.
But Lillee and Marsh had other ideas. They dug in and pushed Australia past 149, saving the team from an innings defeat.
When both the players continued and pushed the score past 160, Imran and Sarfraz began to bowl a series of bouncers to them. The umpires intervened and warned them for ‘dangerous bowling with intent to hurt.’
|Mushtaq arguing with the umpire. Substitute fielder Raja looks on as Imran (behind the umpire) stands in a huff.|
Mushtaq asked one of the umpires why was he silent when the Australian bowlers were bowling bouncers to Pakistani batsmen.
Marsh and Lillee went on scoring and occupying the crease. Khan began to bowl bouncers to Lillee again. Lillee fell on his back as he tried to move away from a vicious lifter from Khan.
The huge crowd booed. Lillee complained to the umpire. The umpire again warned Imran. Mushtaq again asked the same question: ‘Why didn’t you say anything when he (Lillee) was targeting our tail-enders?’
‘Nothing doing,’ the umpire replied. ‘You are intentionally trying to hurt the batsman. Ask him (Imran) to stop, or I will remove him.’
|Marsh and Imran exchange some not-so-friendly words.|
Mushtaq loudly asked Imran to stop bowling bouncers to Lillee. Imran was furious. But when he reached at the top of his bowling mark, Mushtaq ran up to him and said: ‘Aim the next one between the f@^#&)er’s eyes!’
Pakistanis were turning the tables here. They had become what the Australians had been to them throughout the first two Tests.
|Marsh finally run out!|
Imran also aimed between Marsh’s eyes as he ducked and fended. And every time Imran would bowl a bouncer, Javed Miandad, fielding in the covers, would rush in towards the batsman, and tell him: ‘You enjoying? And now he keel you.’
Marsh and Imran exchanged a barrage of abuses and curses, till Pakistan finally managed to break the stubborn partnership when Marsh got run out.
The eventful third day ended with Australia 180 for 9, or just 31 runs ahead. Pakistan was now on the verge of a famous victory.
The fourth day’s play was shown live on PTV (a rarity in those days). Imran immediately removed Lillee to bag his second six-wicket haul in the match.
Pakistan just needed 32 to win. But the runs came with a few hiccups. Bowling really fast, Lillee removed Sadiq and Zaheer. But Majid was fluent, striking two beautiful boundaries.
Mushtaq came in at 22 for 2, but didn’t have to do much when Majid struck another exquisite boundary and then pulled a vicious Lillee bouncer for a towering six.
Pakistan won by 8 wickets and also squared the series 1-1.
|Mushtaq and Imran celebrate the victory.|
Inside, Out: Mushtaq Mohammad (JMD Publishers, 2006)
Pakistan Book of Cricket 1977: Qamar Ahmad
Cutting Egde: Javed Miandad (Oxford University Press, 2003)
The Pakistan Cricketer (December 1976-January 1977)
‘The Ugly Australians’: Asif Iqbal (The Pakistan Cricketer December 1976)
5th Test vs India at Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore, March 13-17 1987
In January 1987, an 18-member Pakistan squad arrived in India to play five Tests and six ODIs. Captained by Imran Khan, the team had been playing the four-nation Benson & Hedges ODI tournament in Australia before the Indian tour and in which it managed to reach the final but was beaten by England.
Imran was made captain in 1982 but stepped down in 1984 when a stress fracture in one of shins failed to heal. He returned to the team in 1985 (under Javed Miandad), and was once again made captain in 1986.
Though the team’s performance before the Indian tour was not as dazzling as it had been during Imran’s first stint as skipper (1982-84), it wasn’t disastrous either.
But Imran was under tremendous pressure when he arrived in India, not only because his team was facing arch-rival India in its own backyard, but also because Pakistani middle-order batsman, Qasim Umar (after the ODI tournament in Australia), had begun to whisper certain awkward secrets about the Pakistani dressing room.
Umar had clashed with Imran on a number of occasions in Australia. When Khan refused to select him for the Indian tour, Umar told the press that Khan was ‘a narcissist’ and ‘exhibited favouritism.’ He later went on to add that Imran and most of the players were ‘habitual drug users (hashish)’ and regularly brought women into their hotel rooms. He also called the players ‘binge drinkers.’
Umar was quickly hushed up and then handed a life ban by the Pakistan cricket board. The board did not want to attract controversy because it was set to host the 1987 World Cup (jointly with India) in later in the year.
A section of the Pakistani press was pushing for an inquiry into the matter when an 18-member Pakistani cricket squad landed in India on January 18, 1987.
• Imran Khan | (Captain) | 34 | Lahore | Right-handed batsman and right-arm-fast
• Javed Miandad | (Vice Captain) | 29 | Karachi | Right-handed batsman
• Rameez Raja | 24 | Lahore | Right-Handed opening batsman
• Shoaib Mohammed | 27 | Karachi | Right-handed opening batsman
• Mudassar Nazar | 30 | Lahore | Right-handed opening batsman
• Saleem Malik |19 | Lahore | Right-handed batsman
• Rizwan-uz Zaman | 27 | Karachi | Right-handed opening batsman
• Ijaz Ahmed | 18 | Sialkot | Right-handed batsman
• Asif Mujtaba | 19 | Karachi | Left-handed batsman and occasional left-arm leg-spin
• Manzoor Elahi | 19 | Sahiwal | Right-handed batsman and right arm medium fast
• Saleem Yousuf | 27 | Karachi | Wicketkeeper and right-handed batsman
• Zulqarnain Zaidi | 19 | Lahore | Wicketkeeper and right-handed batsman
• Iijaz Fakhi | 30 | Karachi | Right-handed batsman and right-arm off-break
• Abdul Qadir | 31 | Lahore | Right-handed batsman and right-arm leg-break
• Tauseef Ahmed | 28 | Karachi | Right-handed batsman and right-arm off-break
• Wasim Akram | 20 | Lahore | Left-handed batsman and left-arm fast
• Saleem Jaffar | 19 | Karachi | Right-handed batsman and left-arm fast-medium
• Zakir Khan | 23 | Peshawar | Right-handed batsman and right-arm fast-medium
• Iqbal Qasim | 32 | Karachi | Left-handed batsman and slow-left-arm-spin
• Younis Ahmed | 39 | Lahore| Left-handed batsman
|Imran, WasimAkram, Saleem Jafar and Saleem Yousuf.|
The first four of the five Tests ended in dull draws. The pitches were flat and slow and both the captains, Imran and Kapil Dev, were not willing to play any positive cricket.
The crowds turned up in huge numbers but by the fourth Test they began to express their frustration over the dull and slow pace of the matches. The Test in Ahmedabad was marred by constant crowd trouble and twice Imran led his players off the field when his fielders on the boundary were attacked with stones, pebbles and rotten fruit.
Imran accused the Indian team and board of preparing dead wickets and of playing negative cricket. Kapil Dev thought it was Pakistan that was being too defensive. Though in between the Tests Pakistan was hammering the Indians in the ODI series, no team was willing to lose the more important Test rubber.
Criticised by the fans and the press, the Indian cricket authorities decided to prepare a ‘sporting track’ for the fifth and last Test in Bangalore.
Before the start of the third Test, Imran had believed that Pakistan didn’t have enough left-handed batsmen to neutralise India’s strong spin attack. So he asked the Pakistan board to lift the ban on Younis Ahmed and send him over to India.
Younis Ahmed had made his Test debut in 1969 but was banned by the Pakistan cricket board when he visited South Africa with an English club side in 1973.
South Africa in those days was under a racist (apartheid) regime and was boycotted by a majority of countries.
Younis moved to England and became a prolific batsman in County Cricket. Though 39, when recalled into the side in 1987, he was still active in County Cricket.
He played two Tests in India but was not played in the last Test.
Another late addition to the side was veteran left-arm spinner, Iqbal Qasim. Qasim had gradually been nudged out from the side by Abdul Qadir in the early 1980s.
But Qadir’s form slumped during the Indian series. Vice-Captain Javed Miandad suggested calling up Iqbal Qasim who was still active in Pakistan’s first-class cricket circuit.
Imran disagreed. But Javed persisted and Qasim finally joined the team after the second Test. Though Pakistan had toured India in 1984, its last major trip took place in 1979 when the team (under Asif Iqbal) lost a 6-Test series 2-0.
That tour was marred by rumours and reports about Pakistani players spending more time at night clubs and having affairs with Bollywood actresses than concentrating on cricket.
Imran had been at the centre of these reports, so when he returned to India in 1987 (he didn’t tour in 1984), the Indian media once again put him under the spotlight.
He told his players ‘whatever you want to do, do it at the hotel.’ He also asked them to avoid speaking to the press.
When the team reached the ground to play the last Test, it found a strange looking pitch at the centre of the stadium. It was red in colour and felt brittle.
Imran and Javed thought it would be batting-friendly on the first three days and may begin to take spin on the last two. They also thought that it may also help the seamers a bit early on.
When they walked back to the dressing room to pick the final IX, they decided to play three fast bowlers (Wasim Akram, Saleem Jaffar and Imran himself) and also bring in the hard-hitting all-rounder, Manzoor Elahi (who also bowled medium fast).
Off-spinner Tauseef was in the side as well but a huge argument between Javed and Imran flared up when Imran decided to give the out-of-form Abdul Qadir another go.
Javed insisted that since the wicket was likely to start taking turn in the last two or three days of the Test, it was better to play a more in-form spinner - Iqbal Qasim.
Imran responded by saying that Qadir is likely to regain his form on a more helpful track, but Javed advised him not to take that chance. He added: ‘Qasim is a handy batsman as well and is left-handed. We need a lefty to tackle Maninder Singh’s left-arm spin.’
Imran finally agreed. He dropped Qadir and played Qasim. He then won the toss and elected to bat.
|Imran and Kapil Devjust before the toss.|
The pitch started to come apart right from the word go. It began to turn square from the moment India’s three spinners, Maninder Singh, Ravi Shastri and Shivlal Yadev, came on to bowl.
Pakistan was bundled out for a mere 116. Only Saleem Malik showed some resistance and made 33. Maninder Singh picked up seven wickets and was almost unplayable.
By the end of the first day, India was sitting pretty at 68 for 2. Both the wickets had gone to Tauseef, including Gavaskar’s.
In the team meeting that evening, the Pakistan think-tank had wondered why Maninder was able to turn the ball so much whereas the Pakistani spinners were not getting as much spin. It was decided that India’s score would have to be kept under 150 otherwise Pakistan would lose the game.
After the meeting Javed called up former Indian captain and classical left-arm spinner, Bishen Singh Bedi, who was also a friend of his.
He told him he was sending over Tauseef and Qasim to the hotel where Bedi was staying and requested him to give them some tips on how to bowl on the Bangalore wicket.
When the two spinners met Bedi that night, he told them that Maninder was bowling like he would on any other wicket and letting the crumbling wicket do the rest.
‘You guys are trying too hard to spin the ball.’ He said. ‘You are giving the ball too many rotations. Just bowl normally and let the pitch create its own spin.’
|Bishan Singh Bedi.|
Indian press was predicting India to take an impressive lead on the second day. But Tauseef broke through the defences of Mohinder Amarnath making India 71 for 3.
Then when the score progressed to 102, Qasim got Azharuddin caught by Manzoor Elahi.
Dilip Vengsarkar and Shastri guided India past Pakistan’s score and began to slowly build a lead. Tauseef removed Shastri and then with the score at 130, he got the well set Vengsarkar caught at point.
With the pitch now turning rather viciously, Qasim’s leg spin ran through the Indian tail. India was all out for 145. It had a lead of just 29 but it was a lead that was more than handy on a pitch that was literally coming apart.
Pakistan had a huge task ahead of itself. The first innings of the match had folded in only the middle of the first day’s play. Pakistan had struggled to read and play the Indian spinners and the wicket had gotten worse.
Javed thought it would be better if he opened the batting with Ramiz in the second innings. Imran agreed. They decided to play aggressively to spoil Kapil Dev’s planning who (Imran and Javed believed) was expecting Pakistan to play defensively.
Ramiz and Javed put up an opening stand of 45 before Shastri got rid of Javed. Rizwan went with the score at 57 and the Indians then finally got Ramiz who was bowled by Yadav for a well-played 47. Pakistan 89 for 3 and just 60 runs ahead.
After the fall of Ramiz’s wicket, Imran and Javed conducted yet another batting experiment. To neutralize Maninder’s spin, they promoted the left-handed Iqbal Qasim up the order and sent him to partner Saleem Malik.
Malik and Qasim added 32 important runs and pushed the score to 121 when (ironically on a turning wicket) Malik was bowled by Indian captain and premier swing bowler, Kapil Dev (who had come on to break the Malik-Qasim partnership).
Qasim then added 21 rums with Imran Khan when he was finally taken out by off-spinner Yadav for a dogged 33.
Pakistan closed the second day at 155 for 5, 126 runs ahead. Imran was still at the crease with Manzoor Elahi.
On the third day, Pakistan lost Elahi early and then with the score at 184, Wasim Akram got out. Khan was now running out of partners. He himself perished at the hands of Shastri for 39. Pakistan 198 for 8 and 169 runs ahead.
Imran believed the lead wasn’t enough. He wanted a lead of at least 220.
But Pakistan just had two wickets left.
|A worried Pakistan think-tank: Imran Khan and JavedMiandad during the lunch break on day 3 of the match.|
Then, as if out of nowhere, Pakistan’s gutsy wicketkeeper, Saleem Yousuf, played a little gem of an innings. He added 50 runs with Tauseef, striking four boundaries in his 41. Tauseef who partnered him well, struck just 10.
Pakistan was all out for 249 giving India 220 to win in almost two and a half days. It was now anybody’s game.
Pakistan appeared on the field after the tea break, all pumped up by Yousuf’s innings. It needed to strike early to keep India under pressure. And that’s exactly what it did.
Javed wanted Imran to open the bowling with the spinners. Imran instead tossed the ball to Akram. The ploy worked. With the score at 15, Akram first trapped the flamboyant Kris Srikkanth LBW and then with a zippy outswinger made Amarnath edge the ball to Saleem Yousuf.
The classy Gavaskar and Vengsarkar then managed to repair the early damage a bit and pushed the score to 64 when Vengsarkar was clean bowled, failing to defend a sharp turning delivery by Tauseef. India 64 for 3.
Indian keeper, Kiran More, came in as night-watchman but with the score at 80, Tauseef got rid of him as well. The stylish Azharuddin joined Gavaskar and both closed the third day’s play by taking India to 99 for 4.
It was now more than apparent that the Test would not go beyond the fourth day. Both the teams were in a position to win the game and with it the series.
Gavaskar was shaping up well and had the highly talented Azharuddin on the other end. Both walked in on the day 4, looking to gradually knock off the remaining 119 runs that India needed to win the Test.
The pair slowly pushed the score past 120. But at 123 a sharp off-break from Tauseef pushed Azharuddin to play the ball on the back foot but he completely missed it and was clean bowled!
|Pakistan celebrates Azhar’s fall.|
Shastri came in and perhaps played the slowest innings of his life. He was clearly instructed by his captain to just defend his wicket and let Gavaskar do all the scoring. And Gavaskar did.
The Pakistani players had clashed with the Indian umpires on a number of occasions during the innings. But when an appeal for LBW and a close-in catch against Gavaskar were disallowed, Pakistan players rushed towards the umpire and accused him of cheating!
In fact during the second appeal, Imran and Javed turned towards Gavaskar and stared at him before the batsman calmly looked away.
VIDEO | Rare footage of Pakistani players clashing with the umpire:
On a mad, bad wicket, Gavaskar began to play the ball late, getting his runs in ones and twos.
The pair guided India past 150. But at 155, Shastri tried to push at a turning delivery from Qasim but only managed to lob it back to the bowler. India 155 for 6, still needing 65 to win and now with four wickets in hand. But the ever dependable Gavaskar was there, looking determined to take India home.
Over fifty thousand spectators had turned up to watch the fourth day’s play. But the stadium went completely silent when Qasim clean bowled Indian captain, Kapil Dev with the score at 161.
Another all-rounder, Roger Binny, walked in to partner Gavaskar.
Gavaskar was standing like a rock between Pakistan and victory. But since he was scoring runs as well, India’s unhurried march towards the target too was drawing closer.
However, with the score at 180 and Gavaskar plodding away, he tried to defend a Qasim delivery but the ball jumped and kicked from the dusty, breaking wicket, took the upper edge of his bat and flew to Rizwan-uz- Zaman at first slip who grabbed a high sharp catch. This time the umpire gave him out.
At 185 Yadav fell to Tauseef, but as last man Maninder Singh came in to join Binny and Pakistan moved closer to achieve its first ever Test series victory in India, Binny decided to launch a counter attack.
He lofted Tauseef for a huge six that landed in the packed stands in the longest part of ground. India was now just 16 runs away and Binny was threatening to take the game away from Pakistan.
Tauseef bowled a quicker one that was a tad short and did not turn much. Binny’s eyes lit up and he rocked onto his back footand went for an expansive slog to get a boundary.
He missed and the ball took the outside edge of his swinging bat and whizzed into wicketkeeper Saleem Yusuf’s gloves. There was a loud appeal for a catch behind by the Pakistanis. The umpire stood still for about 5 tense seconds and the crowd held its breath.
But just as the fielders began to run towards the umpire, he slowly raised his finger. Binny was gone. India was all out. Pakistan had won the match by just 16 runs and with it its first ever series victory in India.
Cutting Edge: JavedMiandad (Oxford University Press, 2003)
An All-Round View: Imran Khan (Chatto&Windus, 1988)
The Pakistan Cricketer: (March, 1987)
1st Test vs India at Chindambaram Stadium, Chennai, January 28-31, 1999.
In January 1999, the Pakistan team toured India for a two-Test series. This was Pakistan’s first Test tour of India after 1987. The relations between the two countries had nosedived in 1998 when both the governments conducted multiple nuclear tests.
However, later that year, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart, Atal Bihari Vajpaee, met in Lahore to defuse the tension.
The meeting was vehemently (and at times violently) opposed by the radical right-wing groups on both sides of the divide.
In Pakistan the fundamentalist Jamat-i-Islami protested vehemently on the streets of Lahore during Vajpayee’s visit to Lahore and in India, fundamentalist Hindu groups like the Shiv Sena threatened to disrupt the Test matches and ODI games planned for Pakistan’s 1999 tour of India.
In January 1999, a 16-man Pakistan squad landed in the Indian capital New Delhi amidst reports that the team’s hotel was expected to be attacked.
• Wasim Akram | (Captain) | 33 | Lahore | Left-handed batsman and left-arm-fast
• Moin Khan| (Vice Captain) | 27 | Karachi | Right-handed batsman and wicketkeeper
• Saeed Anwar | 29 | Karachi | Left-handed opening batsman
• Naved Ashraf | 24 | Rawalpindi | Right-handed batsman
• WajatullahWasti | 24 | Peshawar | Right-handed opening batsman
• Shahid Afridi | 18 | Karachi | Right-handed batsman and right-arm leg-break
• Ijaz Ahmed | 29 | Sialkot | Right-handed batsman
• Salim Malik | 35 | Lahore | Right-handed batsman
• Yousuf Youhana (later Mohammad Yousuf) | 24 | Lahore | Right-handed batsman
• Azhar Mahmood | 23 | Rawalpindi | Right-handed batsman and right arm medium fast
• Inzamam-ul-Haq | 28 | Multan | Right-handed batsman
• WaqarYunus | 27 | Vehari | Right-arm-fast
• Shoaib Akhtar | 24 | Rawalpindi | Right-arm-fast
• Mushtaq Ahmed | 28 | Sahiwal | Right-handed batsman and right-arm -leg-break
• Saqlain Mushtaq | 22 | Lahore | Right-handed batsman and right-arm off-break
• Nadeem Khan | 29 | Karachi | Left-handed batsman and slow-left-arm spin
- Manager: Shahryar Khan. Coach: Javed Miandad.
|Pakistan captain Wasim Akram talking to Indian media.|
Throughout the 1990s the Pakistan team was considered to be one of the top sides in world cricket. In that decade it had produced a string of genuine fast bowlers, quality spinners and flamboyant batsmen.
But the decade was also a turbulent period for the team that (between 1992 and 1999) saw the coming and going of multiple captains, bitter infighting and accusations of match-fixing.
Javed Miandad who had taken over the captaincy from Imran Khan in 1992, was toppled in a ‘player’s coup in 1993 engineered by Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis. Wasim was made captain but he too was toppled in a similar coup (this time by Waqar and Mushtaq Ahmed) in 1994.
Saleem Malik was made the ‘compromise captain’ but was removed in 1995 (by the cricket board) when players like Rashid Latif and Basit Ali accused him of match-fixing.
Malik was replaced by Ramiz Raja. But in 1996 he made way for Akram’s return as skipper. Akram, however, resigned after Pakistan lost to India in the quarterfinals of the 1996 World Cup.
Akram was briefly replaced bySaeed Anwar and then Aamer Sohail. Sohail resigned after clashing with the cricket board and accusing the players of not cooperating with him.
Akram returned for his third and final stint as skipper which would not only be his longest but also his most successful.
He and Saleem Malik were the only surviving members of the Pakistan side that had last toured India in 1987. After arriving in India he confessed that the tour was the toughest series he has played as captain due to the political tensions between India and Pakistan and the threats that his players faced from extremist groups.
Even before the first Test had kicked off in Chennai, Shiv Sena activists had entered the stadium in New Delhi (that was to host the second Test) at night and dug up its pitch.
|The destroyed pitch at New Delhi’s Ferozshah Kotla Stadium.|
The Chennai police also received reports that Sena activists were planning to disrupt the first Test by releasing thousands of poisonous snakes into the stadium.
When the team reached the stadium in Chennai for the first Test, it found the stadium packed with fans. However, armed guards and security personnel patrolled outside the entry gates of the stadium and many were also posted on the roofs of the stadium’s stands.
The pitch had some grass but seemed good for batting. Akram won the toss and elected to bat. Saeed Anwar and Shahid Afridi opened the batting for Pakistan. But with the score at 32, Afridi was squared up by a zippy Srinath outswinger and caught by Ganguly at first slip.
At 41 Pakistan lost Anwar and then quickly collapsed to 91 for 5.
|Saeed Anwar and manager Miandad looking distraught after Pakistan’s batting collapse.|
Yousuf Youhana and Moin Khan stabled the ship a bit and guided Pakistan to 154 when Youhana was trapped LBW by the make-shift off-spin of Sachin Tendulkar. He made 53.
Akram came in to join Moin. Both began to play a bit more aggressively. The pair took the score to 214 after which India finally managed to get rid of Moin who made a valiant 60.
However, Moin’s departure saw Pakistan being bundled out for just 238. What’s more, India struck a quick 48 (for no loss) by the end of the first day’s play.
Pakistan got its first breakthrough in the first session of the second day’s play when Akram removed the stylish Laxman with the score at 67. 67 for 1 soon became 71 for 2 when Akram also removed the second opener, Sadagoppan Ramesh.
Almost immediately, Saqlain got the prized- wicket of Tendulkar, caught by Saleem Malik. India was now tottering at 72 for 3. Azharuddin went at 103 but Dravid and Ganguly managed to stem the rot and pushed the score past 150 when Dravid fell, padding up to a straight one from Saqlain Mushtaq.
Ganguly’s fifty and some last minute hitting from Sunil Joshi helped India reach 254 (all out), gaining a 26 runs lead. Saqlain picked up five wickets.
|Saqlain grabs Akram after grabbing yet another Indian wicket.|
In its second innings, Pakistan lost Saeed Anwar early and at the end of the second day’s play it was 34 for 1, just 8 runs ahead.
|Inzi out after cracking 51.|
Ijaz Ahmed was sent packing at the start of the third day but Inzamam and Afridi added a quick-fire 92 for the fourth wicket, both sprinting past their fifties in style.
Inzamam fell when the score was 139 but Afridi kept playing his strokes and soon posted his first Test century.
Youhana went with the score at 169. But now Salim Malik got together with Afridi and both enjoyed a brisk partnership of over a hundred runs. Malik finally fell with the score at 275.
But when Afridi got out at 279, Pakistan’s batting quickly folded and it was all out for 286.
Afridi’s 141 had helped Pakistan set a challenging target of 271 for India to chase.
|Young Afridi relaxes after striking his highest Test score.|
VIDEO | Afridi’s century:
India’s chase began disastrously. An out-of-form Waqar Younis, who had been selected in the playing IX ahead of Pakistan’s newest tearaway fast bowler, Shoaib Akhtar, finally found some form when he removed both the Indian openers within a span of just 6 runs.
India closed the third day’s play at 40 for 2. The fourth day too started well for Pakistan when Akram cleaned up Dravid. Azharuddin and Ganguly followed, both bagged by Saqlain. India 82 for 5.
Pakistan went to lunch almost convinced of achieving victory.
|Akram and Miandad relax during lunch on the fourth day.|
But as Tendulkar and Mongia went about repairing India’s innings, Pakistan began to slightly panic. The pair first took India past 150 and then 200. Soon, India just needed 52 to win with five wickets still in hand.
Tendulkar was playing brilliantly; middling the ball and making the Pakistani bowlers (suddenly) look rather ordinary. He quickly reached his century.
Mongia began playing his shots as well but with the score at 218 he tried to loft Akram out of the ground but only managed to sky the ball towards Waqar who ran in and held a most important catch at mid-off.
Joshi came in and just blocked, letting a rampaging Tendulkar do all the scoring. The pair took the score past 250.
Then at 254 India just needed 16 to win and it still had four wickets in hand. Surely, Pakistan was staring at defeat now?
It sure seemed that way - until Tendulkar tried to lift Saqlain over mid-on for a boundary. The ball seemed to hang high in the air for ages. Akram ran in and placed himself underneath it and cupped it successfully. The Indian fans went quiet and the Pakistanis went ballistic!
But India had only 16 to win with three wickets still in hand. However, just two runs later, Pakistan again turned the tables when it got two quick wickets, leaving India 14 to get and just one wicket in hand.
Akram trapped Kumble in front of the wicket and then Joshi gave Saqlain his fourth wicket, out caught-and-bowled.
Srinath and Prasad added two runs and India now needed just 12. But Saqlain produced a jumpy off-break to Srinath which the batsman went back to defend. He was successful, but the ball hit the ground and rolled back to hit the stumps. Pakistan won.
VIDEO | India’s last wicket falls. Pakistan wins: