Test Cricket, the ultimate Test of players in that sport offers plenty of challenges that replicate the true character of a player. And the best in the business can retain their places in the arena of the longest format of the game. So, it’s quite clear that the competition is very high out there. And when two extremely talented sides armed with players of world class face each other, the competition becomes fierce.
The first time Australia toured Pakistan was way back in 1959-60. And the last time they put their feet on the Pakistani soil was in 1998. It has been a long period since Aussies did not play in Pakistan. And after 24 years the things at last changed. This year Aussies have toured Pakistan.
In this blog we will discuss about three famous Test between Pakistan and Australia played in the former’s home side. (Excluding Tests played in neutral venues for Pakistan)
Karachi 1994: Pakistan got over the line by a whisker:
The Test series began with the hosts facing the visitors at National Stadium, Karachi starting on 28 September. Aussie skipper Mark Taylor winning the toss, compelled the Saleem Malik led team to bowl first.
But Pakistan got an early breakthrough as Wasim Akram caught and bowled the opponent captain for a 4 ball duck. The scoreboard showed 12/1. From then Pakistan started picking wickets in regular intervals. David Boon, Mark Waugh and Michael Slater could not make very good scores. Slater, who was looking good to score a half century, fell prey to the greatest left handed pacer of all time. And within 95 runs Australia lost 4 vital wickets.
It seemed that the visitors may be bundled up within a low score. But the saviors Michael Bevan and Steve Waugh were out there. Bevan scored very important 82 runs supported by Steve Waugh’s brilliant 73 runs off 85 balls. Their 121 run partnership took Australia to a good score. On the other hand Ian Healy scored a handy half century. And Australia ended their first innings with 337 runs on the board.
Part of Australian 's first test in PAK in 1956
Captained AUS to a 2-0 series win in Pakistan in 1959
Took 236 wickets in 67 Tests, with 45 of them vs AUS
Took 5 wicket haul vs AUS at MCG in 1983
PAK and AUS will play for the Benaud Qadir Trophy pic.twitter.com/nyGMF21fFl
— Arnav Singh (@Arnavv43) March 2, 2022
In reply Pakistan were bowled out for 256. The only impressive performance came from the elegant Pakistani batter, Saeed Anwar who scored 85 runs off 124 balls.
Pakistan had to restrict Aussies to a small total in order to win the match.
And they did so. Davis Boon did play an excellent innings of 114 runs alongside Mark Waugh who scored 61 runs. Except for them and Slater nobody could register a double digit score. At last Australia threw a target of 324 runs to the hosts.
And here came the thrilling part. The target was not easy at all. Pakistan had to play brilliantly to chase a target of 300+ runs in 4th innings. Hosts did not get the best of starts. They lost 2 wickets before the score reached 100. A day four track and opponent had Shane Warne in the bank. Seems like a nightmare. Isn’t it? The nightmare was proving to be true. Warne was taking wickets for fun. Saeed Anwar was giving hope with his 77 runs.
Saleem Malik also scored 43 runs. But Pakistan was far from being in a safe position. Pakistan was losing vital wickets. And when they lost 7 wickets for 184 runs only, nobody thought they can win the match. But hold on! There was a player named Inzamam-ul-Haq. That young player stood tall. When all the hopes were replaced by despair for the Pakistani fans, he stood there facing deadly Warne. He remained unbeaten for 58. And his heroics took Pakistan to the victory. The last wicket partnership was of 57 runs. And that victory led Pakistan to win the series eventually.
Pakistan 256 (S Anwar 85, Jo Angel 3-54) & 315-9 (S Anwar 77, I ul Haq 58, S Warne 5-89) beats Australia 337 (M Bevan 82, I Healy 57, W Akram 3-75) & 232 (D Boon 114*, W Akram 5-63) by 1-wicket.
Lahore 1959: Australia’s first Pakistan tour kicked off with a win:
On 13th November, 1959 Australia played their first match against Pakistan in Pakistan. But the match was held in Dhaka which was part of the then East Pakistan. So we will not discuss about it. Rather we will consider the second match in Lahore.
On 21st November the match began. Imtiaz Ahmed, the Pak captain, won the toss and elected to bat first. Pakistan could not capitalize their decision as they were bowled out for 146 runs only. The legend Hanif Mohammad scored 49 runs and all of the other players failed to score big runs. Alan Davidson took 4 wickets.
Norm O’Neill of Australia hit an impressive century. Alan Davidson who took 4 wickets also scored 47 runs. Aussies declared for 391/9 runs.
Saeed Ahmed of Pakistan revived the hope of winning the match as he scored 166 runs. Imtiaz Ahmed also played well as he made a half century. Lindsay Kline took 7 wickets bowling 44 overs and giving away 75 runs only. Pakistan managed to put up 366 runs.
But Australia did not face any problem. A couple of wickets did fall early but Norm O’Neil and Richie Benaud, Aussie captain, remained unbeaten to make Australia win.
Australia 391/9 dec (N O’Neill 134, A Davidson 47, H Ahsan 3-115) & 123-3 (N O’Neill 43*, M Munaf 2-38) beats Pakistan 146 (H Mohammad 49, A Davidson 4-48) & 366 (S Ahmed 166, L Kline 7-75) by 7-wickets.
Karachi 1980: Iqbal Qasim spin web led Pakistan to another Karachi joy:
27th February 1980. Miandad became the captain of Pakistan and it was his first Test series as captain. He was taking on Greg Chappell led Australia in Karachi. As Australia went to bat first they assembled 225 runs based on Kim Hughes’ 85 off 156.
In reply Pakistan played really well. Opener Taslim Arif made a half century and Majid Khan 89. Ray Bright took 7 wickets and Greg Chappell rest of them.
In the second innings Australia could not do much. Allan Border made a very slow half century.
And it was a cakewalk for Pakistan to win the match. Though some early wickets fell, it did not create much problem.
Pakistan 292 (M Khan 89, T Arif 58, R Bright 7-87) & 76-3 (J Miandad 21, R Bright 3-24) beats Australia 225 (K Hughes 85, T Ahmed 4-64) & 140 (A Border 58*, I Qasim 7-49) by 7-wickets.
The Series and its importance
After 1998 Australia didn’t play any Test match in Pakistan. All the bilateral series were held in UAE or England. After 24 long years Aussies are coming back to Pakistan. It’s a great news for the nation. If the series goes well, this will surely be good for Pakistan as their image will be clearer in front of the world.
And to be fair enough to say, the fans had enough of going to Dubai or somewhere else, the kids will realize the patience of playing the bigger stages while to be honest, the parents too will push and inspire them in that corner of what they wish for.
None the less, the margin of the series will never clarify the importance of the tour but the lesson is there for all- Cricket is the winner.