Philo Wallace: My First Test (6 November 1998)

6 November 1998

Philo Wallace: My First Test

by Philip Spooner

A Different World For Wallace

Philo wallace is known to be a bit of a wicket-keeper, but assuming the gloves in his first Test is something he will never forget.

He was called upon to keep wicket after Trinidadian David Williams came down with a upset stomach on the third morning of the second Test against Pakistan at the Pindi Stadium, Rawalpindi, last year.

"Obviously, it was something that I did not expect to happen," said the big Barbadian opener. "but I was chosen as the second keeper for the tour so it was a matter of doing the job I was called on to do."

Wallace learned his glove work while a schoolboy at Ellerslie and also performed the job for Spartan Club and Barbados so when he donned the gauntlets for two sessions he was not out of place.

"It was a big challenge and I was happy that I did a pretty good job. I kept wicket in the four-day practice match before the Test against Dr. Adbul Qadeer Khan's XI so I was in tune," he remembered.

"I was never really nervous or anything like that. In the early stages it was a bit hard, but as I got into it things got smooth."

It was smooth sailing behind the stumps for the 28-year-old, but not so in front.

In the West Indies first innings of 303, he was leg-before-wicket to left-arm seamer Wasim Akram for five and did little better in the second, leg-before again for eight, this time to Akram's pace partner Waqar Younis.

In the second innings, the West Indies, under the leadership of Courtney Walsh, capsized for 139 and Pakistan won by an innings and 29 runs, after making 471.

Inzamam-ul-Haq (177) and Aamir Sohail (160), added 323 for the third wicket as Pakistan showcased their dominance in a 3-0 series whitewash.

Wallace missed the other games when the Windies lost by an innings and 19 runs at Preshawar and ten wickets at Karachi.

"That first Test was more than an eye-opener," Wallace confessed. "I thought I was fully prepared for the challenge having made 142 in the four-day game, but Test cricket is a different ball game altogether."

He recalled the wicket being very helpful to the seam bowlers on the first morning, making the ball almost unplayable.

"Those guys had the ball doing everything you could think about. I tried to come to grips with the situation but was not successful."

Wallace, however, was not happy with his dismissal in the first innings. He said the ball came from his thigh pad when he was adjudged LBW.

"I tried to play to the on-side and it was clearly too high to be out, but that's the way things go sometimes.

"I was not too worried about my failures, however, as I knew I could perform at that level. I got a bad call in the first innings, and a top-class delivery in the second - all part of the game."

He recalled getting some "lip" from Akram during the first innings, something which "will remain with me for a long time. It was as if, for some reason, he was targeting me".

Wallace, one of four Ellerslie students to play Test cricket, said what pleased him most about his debut was that he was partnered by school-mate Sherwin Campbell.

The two had been opening partners from Under-15 days right through the Barbados youth team, the national senior team and finally in the Test match arena.

"It was a bit emotional to walk out to start the West Indies innings with Sherwin. We were a combination all through our playing days and the chance had finally come for us to build a partnership on the world stage," he said.

"Even though things did not go according to plan I felt comfortable that I was partnered by a familiar face."

Wallace said that apart from his Test failures he was satisfied with his overall performances on the tour.

"Pakistan is not an easy place to play, and I returned home with a first-class century under my name, so that was pleasing," he said.

The only other player to get triple-figures was Carl Hooper who made 106 in the final Test.

"There was not much to do on that trip. There was all Asian TV, no bar, nothing western, so you had a lot of time to think. For me it was a learning experience and I was glad I had the chance to see and feel the Test-match atmosphere."

Source :: The Barbados Nation (