Misbah’s stunning performance — from ‘tuk, tuk’ to world record

Published November 3, 2014
MISBAH-UL-HAQ and Azhar Ali walk together off the pitch after scoring centuries on the fourth day of the second Test match against Australia at the Zayed International Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.—AFP
MISBAH-UL-HAQ and Azhar Ali walk together off the pitch after scoring centuries on the fourth day of the second Test match against Australia at the Zayed International Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.—AFP

ABU DHABI: Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq broke the Test record for the fastest fifty and equalled the quickest century feat barely three weeks after withdrawing from the one-day side for poor form and slow batting.

The 40-year-old smashed a 21-ball fifty and a 56-ball hundred on the fourth day of the second Test, which put his team in sight of a 2-0 series win, their first series win in 20 years against Australia.

Misbah’s 57-ball 101 lifted Pakistan to 293-3 declared in the second innings, setting a huge 603-run target for Australia who finished the day on a shaky 143-4.

It proved to be a Super Sunday for Misbah, often castigated by experts and fans alike for his ‘tuk, tuk’ (Urdu word for the sound coming from the bat when a defensive stroke is played) style of batting.

Misbah said it was a great honour for being bracketed with West Indian legend Viv Richards who hit a 56-ball hundred against England at Antigua in 1986.

“I think it’s the biggest honour for me,” said Misbah. “I am nowhere near to him but scoring a hundred in a similar number of deliveries is really something that I will remember the whole of my life.”

Misbah broke South African Jacques Kallis’s record of the fastest Test fifty, which he made off 24 balls against Zimbabwe at Cape Town in 2004.

Misbah said he didn’t know about the record until a team-mate told him.

“Somebody ran to me when I was on 80 informing me that I was just ten balls away from making a record.

“But in either case I was trying to hit every ball and that really couldn’t make any difference. But it is always good to have these sort of records...as it gives you some sort of satisfaction and scoring 100 is always special for a batsman in a Test and nothing is better than that.”

Misbah and Azhar Ali hit their second century in the Abu Dhabi run-feast before declaring their second innings on 293 for three on the penultimate day of the final Test.

Misbah belied his reputation as a ponderous batsman as he added 141 quick runs in 17 overs with Azhar (100) for the unbroken fourth wicket.

Misbah was out for 101 and Azhar 109 in the first innings.

Misbah said ups and downs are common in a sportsman’s life.

“It happened a lot in my life even as it happens with every sportsman,” said Misbah of his withdrawal from the third one-day match in Abu Dhabi.

“You have tough times but if you believe in yourself, keep on working hard and stay calm it really pays off.”

Misbah felt his quick scoring will help in next year’s World Cup, which Australia and New Zealand co-host in February-March.

“It was a really important situation for me considering what happened in the recent past and especially ahead of the World Cup,” said Misbah, who scored just 0 and 5 in the two One-day Internationals he played against Australia in the series that Pakistan lost 3-0.

“It was important for me to get back in to form and regain confidence. As a unit we have performed and we dearly needed to. This performance is hugely important as we all got the momentum and confidence ahead of the World Cup,” he added.

Published in Dawn, November 3rd, 2014

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