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Revisiting Pakistan's Test wins in Australia


Australia_Pakistan_Test_CricketPakistan will be looking to improve upon their woeful recent Test record in Australia when they take the field for the first Test of a two-match series at Brisbane on November 21. The subcontinental giants have lost each of their last 12 Tests on Australian soil, spread over four three-match series in 1999-00, 2004-05, 2009-10 and 2016-17 respectively. Overall, Pakistan have won only four of their 35 Tests in Australia. Here is a look back in time at those four wins.

Third Test, Sydney, 1976-77

Pakistan were down by 1-0 coming into this final Test, courtesy of a heavy 348-run defeat at Melbourne. Their new-ball pair of Sarfraz Nawaz and Imran Khan jolted the Australian top order after Greg Chappell decided to bat, leaving the score tottering at 38/4. Chappell and Gary Cosier (50) added 62 for the fifth wicket, before a fresh burst by Imran (6/102) reduced the score to 159/9. The last pair of Dennis Lillee and Max Walker defiantly put on 52, taking the total to 211.

Lillee and Walker (4/112) responded brightly, and at 111/4, the game seemed to be in the balance. But debutant Haroon Rasheed (57) combined with Asif Iqbal to steady the ship, and their fifth-wicket stand of 94 gave Pakistan the upper hand. Asif added another 115 with Javed Miandad (64) for the sixth wicket, and went on to score 120 before being the sixth man out at 320. Though Pakistan lost their last five wickets for only 40 runs, they had ensured a lead of 149.

Imran did even better in the second innings, as he finished with 6/63 to give himself brilliant match figures of 12/165, which remain the best by a Pakistani bowler in a Test in Australia. As was the case in the first innings, Sarfraz was the ideal foil with three wickets. Australia never really recovered from 75/5, and were bowled out for 180 early on the fourth day. Left to chase a mere 32, Pakistan sealed a famous eight-wicket win to record their first Test success in Australia.   

First Test, Melbourne, 1978-79

This Test was the first in a two-Test series. On the opening day, fast bowlers Rodney Hogg (4/49) and Alan Hurst collected seven wickets between them to condemn Pakistan to 196. No batsman made it past the thirties, and after slipping to 40/4, the visitors were always on the back foot. However, Imran (4/26) brought Pakistan back in the game with three key strikes early in the innings. The hosts struggled to 63/3, and were duly skittled for 168, giving Pakistan a lead of 28.

Pakistan’s second innings was built around opener Majid Khan’s knock of 108. Further helped by a robust showing from the middle order, they declared at 353/9, thereby setting Australia 382 to win. Australia began the final day at 117/2. At 128/3, Kim Hughes (84) joined Allan Border, and they turned the tide in their team’s favour with a fourth-wicket stand of 177. Australia needed only 77 more to win with seven wickets remaining, when Sarfraz bowled Border for 105.

Border’s wicket triggered a sensational collapse, as Sarfraz proceeded to rip through the Australian batting. In one of the greatest spells in Test history, he took 7 for 1 in 33 balls to leave the crowd stunned. From 305/3, Australia were bowled out for 310 in a matter of 11 overs, with four of the last seven wickets being ducks. Sarfraz returned figures of 9/86, single-handedly bowling Pakistan to a stirring win. Australia drew the series by winning the second Test at Perth.

Third Test, Melbourne, 1981-82

Having lost the series after big defeats in the first two Tests (they suffered the ignominy of being bowled out for 62 in the first innings of the opening Test at Perth), Pakistan bounced back to secure a consolatory innings victory at the MCG. The signs were ominous for Australia from the outset, as Mudassar Nazar (95) and Majid (74) stitched together a second-wicket stand worth 181. Pakistan ended the first day at 245/3, with captain Miandad and Zaheer Abbas at the crease.

Miandad (62) and Zaheer (90) stretched their fourth-wicket partnership to 128, and once they were dismissed, Wasim Raja (50) and Imran (70*) frustrated the Australians further. Pakistan eventually declared at 500/8 late on the second day – while none of the frontline pacers took a wicket, off-spinner Bruce Yardley emerged as the standout bowler with a career-best return of 7/187. Despite left-handed opener Graeme Wood’s obdurate 100, Australia ceded a lead of 207.

Sarfraz got rid of Wood and captain Greg Chappell cheaply as Australia followed on, before Border was run out to reduce the score to a dire 13/3. It soon became 29/4 when left-arm spinner Iqbal Qasim (4/44) got into the act. Opener Bruce Laird top-scored with 52, but his dismissal on the fourth evening meant that Australia started the final day at 78/5, still 129 in arrears. It did not take long for Pakistan to end the proceedings, with the final margin being an innings and 88 runs.

Third Test, Sydney, 1995-96

As was the case in 1981-82, Australia had already won the rubber ahead of this concluding Test. With Ijaz Ahmed leading the way, Pakistan were strongly placed at 210/3 in the final session of the first day. However, they lost seven wickets for 89 to be restricted to 299. In fact, the last four wickets fell for just two runs, with Ijaz being seventh out for 137. Thereafter, leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed, who had taken nine scalps in the second Test at Hobart, kept up his good form.

Mushtaq captured 5/95, and was instrumental in handing Pakistan a lead of 42, even as Mark Waugh scored 116. Captain Wasim Akram too did his bit with figures of 4/50. The visitors were bowled out for 204 in the second innings, with the highest partnership being 62 for the fourth wicket between Saleem Malik and Inzamam-ul-Haq (59). Paceman Craig McDermott (5/49) and leg-spinner Shane Warne (4/66) spearheaded the hosts – both finished with match hauls of eight.

Set 247 to win, Australia were 121/3 at stumps on the fourth day. Wasim accounted for Ian Healy early on the last day, after which Mushtaq, who had earlier taken the wicket of Michael Slater, delivered a double blow by removing Steve Waugh and captain Mark Taylor (59) to reduce the score to 152/6. Waqar Younis made short work of the tail, taking three of the last four wickets, as Australia were all out for 172. Mushtaq (4/91) finished with match figures of 9/186.

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Rustom Deboo is a cricket aficionado and freelance writer from Mumbai. He is an ardent devotee of T...

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