At tea on the first day of the First Test between Pakistan and Australia at Rawalpindi, the home side seemed to be in deep trouble at 148 for 8. By stumps, they had 253 runs for the loss of no further wickets. Saeed Anwar's unbeaten 132 will rank among his best innings of a Test career interrupted by health problems.
Aamer Sohail won the toss and batted first. After giving a chance to Healy which probably would have carried to Taylor at slip, Aamer was dismissed giving a faint edge to the keeper off the bowling of McGrath for 4. Mohammad Wasim was the next to go, giving his Healy his 355th Test dismissal, equalling the world record for Rodney Marsh. Inzamam ul-Haq's second run of the day was his 3000th of his Test career, but at 14 he hit a sharp catch to Justin Langer at short leg - Pakistan 35 for 3.
Colin Miller was the surprise selection for this Test at the age of 34. ``Funky'' as he is called, sporting a bleached hairstyle that made him look more like he had been cut from the Romanian soccer team, was first change bowler. His fifth delivery in Test cricket was edged by Saleem Malik to Mark Taylor's outstretched right hand at first slip. Pakistan 50 for 4. Azhar Mahmood was MacGill's first victim, driving uppishly to a MacGill leg break. Moin Khan played lustily for his 39 including six fours before slashing to Fleming at cover, Pakistan 140 for 6.
Wasim Akram came to the crease, the centre of massive off-field controversy and having talked to the media the day before about a conspiracy against him from within the PCB. With Pakistan in such a precarious position, one can only wonder at the mental state of such an accomplished player as he played a lusty pull shot to a MacGill leggie, top-edged to a waiting Damien Fleming. Akram out for a third ball duck and Pakistan 140 for 7. Mohammad Hussain became MacGill's fourth victim soon after, the left-hander bowled around his legs, and Pakistan were 147 for 8.
Mushtaq Ahmed shared with Azhar Mahmood a world-record equalling partnership for the tenth wicket on this ground a year ago. He and Saeed Anwar batted out the final session, all of the Australian bowlers looking less effective and the large turn of Stuart MacGill being easier to pick. Anwar, who had remained steady as wickets fell around him, brought up his hundred in the 66th over of the day, sweeping MacGill for two. Anwar's sixth Test hundred (his first against Australia) came from 180 deliveries and included ten fours. The new ball was taken after 82 overs, but with dark clouds looming, the umpires brought players off for the day with five of the daily quota of 90 overs to be bowled. Australian captain Taylor was not pleased about the early departure, but no doubt the Pakistan camp were ecstatic about surviving till the end of the day when at one point it looked like Australia would bat soon after tea. Anwar finished the day on 132 and Mushtaq 26, the ninth wicket partnership worth 106 with the promise of more to come.
For Australia, MacGill (4/64) was the best bowler, but the receptiveness of the pitch only serves to indicate how much Mushtaq and Saqlain must be looking forward to Australia's turn to bat. McGrath bowled well in his comeback innings, but dual-purpose paceman-offie Colin Miller does not look destined for a long Test career despite his first-over success.
Day Two (Friday October 2):
Play began on Friday at 9.40am, twenty minutes added to the start to make up for time lost due to bad light on Thursday. With the delayed Friday lunch break for prayers, the teams faced a 170-minute opening session in oppressive heat. Pakistan resumed the day at 253 for 8. Ten overs elapsed before Saeed Anwar's bid to carry his bat came to end, gloving a MacGill leg-break to Langer at short leg. Anwar's first Test century against Australia was worth 145, and the ninth wicket stand with Mushtaq Ahmed a record between the two countries at 120. Mushtaq Ahmed was run out soon afterwards, his 26 making him the third top score of the innings. Pakistan were dismissed for 269, MacGill taking 5/69 in his third Test innings. Ian Healy will have to wait till the second innings to surpass Rod Marsh as the most prolific Test wicketkeeper of all time.
Australia's opening pair of Taylor and Slater remained intact for 6.4 overs, when Wasim Akram bowled a marvellous outswinger to Taylor who nicked it to Moin Khan. Taylor scored three. Next ball Akram struck Justin Langer on his front pad with a ball that looked to be straying down the leg side. Umpire Javed Akhtar was satisfied that the ball would have struck leg stump, and Langer's comeback to Test cricket ended in a golden duck. Wasim Akram, unlike his lazy third-ball duck on Thursday, was bowling with fire and conviction today.
The hat-trick ball had to wait till the start of Akram's next over, and Slater put it away for four. New batsman Mark Waugh faced thirteen balls without scoring before Mushtaq Ahmed bowled a googly to which he did not offer a shot outside off-stump. Umpire Willey sent him on his way, Australia three out for 27. Steve Waugh, former world number one but yet to score a Test century anywhere in Asia, was next man in, facing yet again an Australian batting crisis. He and NSW teammate Slater batted steadily against the spin of Mushtaq and Saqlain to take Australia to lunch at 55 for 3.
After lunch the batsmen cut loose, the spin that MacGill had extracted on the first day pitch no longer being so obvious. Aamer Sohail showed a reluctance to use his third spinner Mohammad Hussain, his two senior spin bowlers taking more of the punishment as the two Australians pushed the score in a shortened mid-afternoon to 150 for 3 at tea, Slater on 72 and Waugh on 66.
In the 66th over of the innings, Slater drove Saqlain Mushtaq to the mid-on boundary to raise his 8th Test hundred, reached in 205 balls (11 fours, one six). As with his maiden Test hundred at Lord's in 1993, Slater punched the air and ceremonially kissed his cap. Slater finally fell to a Mohammad Wasim catch from the bowling of Mohammad Hussain, out for 108, the fourth-wicket partnership having been worth 198. Perhaps ominously, Waugh was on 99 at the time. Hussain's next over brought a Waugh cover drive to the boundary that raised his first Test century on Pakistani soil.
The second day ended with Australia 237 for 4, thirty-two runs in arrears of Australia's total. Darren Lehmann was not out on four, Steve Waugh 104 and looking ready to start it all again on Saturday. For Pakistan Wasim Akram (2/54)was always the bowler most likely, Saqlain Mushtaq (0/59 from 22 overs) being something of a disappointment. Hussain (1/21 from 8 overs) was underbowled, his captain choosing to bowl himself more often. Azhar Mahmood's seven overs indicated that he was there merely to take the shine off the ball. With Healy yet to come, Australia are set for a handy first innings lead so long as they don't do anything foolish.
Day Three (Saturday October 3):
Resuming on Saturday's third day with Australia on 237/4, there was early controversy as Darren Lehmann, on 4, was given not out from the first delivery of the day after a confident appeal for a catch. Replays appeared to show that a delivery from Mushtaq Ahmed hit Lehmann's pad, rebound onto the batting glove, and then to the waiting fielder at bat-pad. Umpire Peter Willey was unmoved. Lehmann and Steve Waugh proceeded to score 115 runs in the pre-lunch showing aggression to the spin attack. Waugh's marathon innings ended with the first ball he faced after lunch mistiming a sweep off Aamer Sohail straight to Mohammad Wasim at leg slip. Waugh's 157 came from 325 deliveries and included 15 fours and one six. The fifth-wicket partnership was worth 127.
Healy and Lehmann pushed the Australian score to 428 for 5 at the tea break, with Lehmann on 97. The only century of the mid-afternoon session was brought up in the bowling figures of the wicketless Saqlain Mushtaq.
Lehmann added one more run to his total and was trying to sweep his way to his hundred when left-arm spinner Mohammad Hussain bowled him around his legs. Though disappointed to be dismissed for 98, he has now passed fifty in both his Test innings, a worthy reward for eight years of waiting to break into the Australian side after first carrying the drinks in 1990. A brilliant yorker by Wasim Akram removed Damien Fleming (8) and then Colin Miller's debut innings ended when he gave a return catch to Mushtaq Ahmed after scoring three. Stuart MacGill (21) provided solid support for Healy before becoming Saqlain's first victim of the innings. The innings ended when Healy holed out at deep mid wicket when on 82. Australia all out 513 at the end of the third day, 244 in front. Wasim Akram was best for Pakistan with 3/111, Mushtaq Ahmed 2/115 and Saqlain Mushtaq 2/112. Mohammad Hussain was underbowled, getting twenty overs to take 2/66, while his captain bowled three more overs himself for 1/54.
Day Four (Sunday October 4):
Australia moved into victory mode within the first hour-an-a-half of Sunday's pre-lunch session. Under dark skies Pakistan advanced to 24 in the fourteenth over of the day when Aamer Sohail deflected a McGrath ball onto his leg stump. Sohail out for 13, his fourth failure against Australia in the past fortnight. Mohammad Wasim failed to score when Damien Fleming trapped him plumb in front. One run for the match means that Wasim will give way to another batsman, possibly Ijaz Ahmed, for the Second Test in Peshawar. Inzamam ul-Haq lasted just two balls before Fleming removed him lbw. Saeed Anwar showed promise of another bright innings when golden-haired Colin Miller produced the third lbw within six deliveries. Anwar made 19 and Pakistan were 32 for 4. Saleem Malik and Moin Khan saw Pakistan through to lunch, 55 runs scored in the session for the loss of four wickets.
Moin was the fifth wicket to fall shortly after lunch after mis-hitting a MacGill legbreak. Taylor, having an inconsistent match in the field, juggled a left-handed catch. Azhar Mahmood went for one, caught at short leg by Langer off MacGill, and then history was made. Miller, bowling off-spin, got one to turn across the face of Akram's bat, taking a faint edge, and into the waiting gloves of Ian Healy. For the Queensland wicketkeeper, it was his 356th Test dismissal, breaking the world record left behind by Rod Marsh when he retired fourteen years ago. Akram was unhappy because he felt it was too dark to bat, the Australian fielders thronged around Healy in jubilation. Akram made 17 and Pakistan were 94 for 7, still 150 short of making Australia bat again.
Rain forced an interruption of 117 minutes plus the tea break. Mohammad Hussain played some powerful shots before holing out to Miller from a MacGill wrong'un for 17. MacGill claimed his ninth wicket of the match trapping Mushtaq Ahmed for a duck. Saleem Malik (48*) and Saqlain Mushtaq (3*) kept Pakistan alive until darkness closed in halfway into the one-hour extension of play. At stumps on Sunday Australia were one wicket away from their first Test victory in Pakistan for nearly 39 years. The weather seemed unlikely to save the home team on Monday.
Day Five (Monday October 5):
Thirteen minutes and 3.5 overs was all it took to bring a historic and crushing victory to Australia in perfect weather. With the start of play brought forward half an hour to partly make up for lost play on Sunday, many fans worldwide would have missed following the magic moment live. Saqlain Mushtaq was removed by Glenn McGrath for seven with the second innings score on 145. Five Pakistan batsmen had been dismissed lbw in the second innings another urban myth of years gone by dispelled. Saleem Malik remained unbeaten on 52. Despite all the ill-feeling between the two teams in recent years with him at the centre, his first act following the end of the match was to shake the hand of Mark Taylor. How much the off-field controversies that beset Malik, and Pakistani cricket as a whole, affected the home side in this Test is open to conjecture.
Australia won the Test by an innings and 99 runs, their first victory on Pakistan soil since November 26, 1959. Steve Waugh won the manof-the-match, a prize that could easily have gone to Stuart MacGill, who proved in this game that he is an able substitute for Shane Warne. Pakistan have ten days to regroup before the Second Test at Peshawar commencing October 15, and anywhere from three to five changes to their team can be expected.
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