India v Pakistan

The birth of reverse swing

Pakistan 452 (Zaheer 186, Mudassar 119, Kapil 5-107) beat India 169 (Kapil 73, Qadir 4-67) and 197 (Vengsarkar 79, Imran 8-60) by an innings and 86 runs
Scorecard



Zaheer Abbas: silken destruction © Getty Images

This wasn't a Test that you would call great in the traditional sense. It was a no-contest: Pakistan won by an innings and 87 runs, their biggest win over India at the time, and one they went on to better two Tests later at Hyderabad. But the match was significant for the performance of one man - Imran Khan took 11 wickets, eight of them in the second innings, five in the space of 25 balls, and the legend of reverse-swing was born. Sarfraz Nawaz is credited as being the earliest exponent of reverse-swing, but on that third afternoon of the Karachi Test, Imran gave the most fearsome exhibition of the art which was yet to acquire a name.

India, trailing by 283 runs, would have nurtured faint hopes of saving the game as Sunil Gavaskar and Dilip Vengsarkar took them to 102 for 1 shortly after tea. The new ball had been negotiated comfortably and the only wicket to fall, that of Arun Lal, had been claimed by Abdul Qadir. But Imran returned for his second spell with a semi-old ball and, aided by a strong wind, produced prodigious late swing at a blistering pace that left the Indian batsmen numb.

Gavaskar was the first to go, bowled through the gate, and it signalled a procession. India ended the day at 118 for 7, and of Imran's five victims, four were bowled and only Mohinder Amarnath managed to get his front pad in the way. This was the spell that decided the series. Writing on the series for World Cricket Digest, Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi termed it a "case of overkill". Imran, who started the match with flu, ended the series with 40 wickets, and by the time the Indians arrived in Hyderabad, Pakistani fans were holding up banners likening him to the F-16s, the American fighter planes that were the latest addition to Pakistan's military stable.

India had begun the Test horribly after being sent in on a newly laid, green-tinged pitch, by losing Gavaskar to a run-out from a direct hit by Imran, who then accounted for Vengsarkar with a ball that lifted and swung away. Arun Lal and Gundappa Viswanath put up a brief partnership, but India soon found themselves at 70 for 5. Kapil Dev avoided a total rout by merrily swinging away to a 53-ball 73. He was severe on Qadir in particular, hitting him for five fours and a six. And when Madan Lal removed Pakistan's first three batsmen for 18, the day didn't seem so bad for India.

However, the second day belonged to Pakistan. Zaheer Abbas, who had scored a double-century in the first Test at Lahore, stroked away to 186, and added 213 runs for the fifth wicket with Mudassar Nazar, who was batting down the order because of flu. With useful contributions from Imran and Wasim Bari, Pakistan ended up with 452. India stayed in the battle for a couple of hours, after which it was all Imran.

Sambit Bal is editor of Cricinfo in India, and of Wisden Asia Cricket magazine.

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