No. 35

A win in the dark

Thorpe steers the ship home in the gloom

Andrew Miller

August 16, 2009

Text size: A | A

England captain Nasser Hussain (L) and Graham Thorpe (R) rush to the English dressing room after their nail bitting victory by six wickets against Pakistan on the last day of the third cricket Test match at the National Stadium in Karachi, 11 December 2000. England clinched a historic series victory, snatching a stunning win with just minutes to spare in the third and final Test. England's six-wicket triumph makes them the first English side to win a Test in Pakistan since 1962 and end the hosts' unbeaten record in 34 encounters.
After dusk, the dawn Aamir Qureshi / © AFP
Enlarge
Related Links
Players/Officials: Nasser Hussain | Graham Thorpe
Series/Tournaments: England tour of Pakistan
Teams: England | Pakistan
Other links: 50 Magic Moments

Karachi, 11 December 2000

The azaan had already sounded, and the sun had sunk far beneath the Karachi horizon, when Graham Thorpe played the chinese cut off Saqlain Mushtaq, triggering mass jubilation from England's cricketers, not to mention the small knot of fans - all 12 of them - who had clung on in the fast-fading light.

It had been an astonishing sprint to the finish, in a series that England - under the emotional, attritional leadership of Nasser Hussain - had paced to perfection. With the side in a transitional phase after the serial failures of the 1990s, Hussain's mantra was "stay in the contest at all costs". He realised that, before England could learn how to win, they first had to learn how to not lose.

Consequently the series was a drudge for 14 days out of 15. Thorpe epitomised England's approach with a century in Lahore, which contained just two boundaries, but their refusal to buckle put the pressure back on the hosts. On the final morning in Karachi they capitulated, losing their last seven wickets for 80, leaving England needing 176 to win in a minimum of 44 overs.

Pakistan, however, scoffed at the prospect of defeat. Moin Khan slowed the over-rate to a crawl, knowing how swiftly the light would fade, but the umpires, Steve Bucknor and Mohammad Nazir, refused to bow to such antics.

As Waqar Younis hurtled through the gloom, a young Matthew Hoggard manned the sightscreen at the pavilion end, to speed the game along as Thorpe and Graeme Hick went about adding 91 in 21 overs. England's win was their first in Pakistan for 39 years, and it was Pakistan's first defeat in Karachi.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo. This article was first published in the print version of Cricinfo Magazine

RSS Feeds: Andrew Miller

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

FeedbackTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
Andrew MillerClose
Andrew Miller Andrew Miller was saved from a life of drudgery in the City when his car caught fire on the way to an interview. He took this as a sign and fled to Pakistan where he witnessed England's historic victory in the twilight at Karachi (or thought he did, at any rate - it was too dark to tell). He then joined Wisden Online in 2001, and soon graduated from put-upon photocopier to a writer with a penchant for comment and cricket on the subcontinent. In addition to Pakistan, he has covered England tours in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007

    An all-round ODI giant

Numbers Game: Few players can boast the sort of numbers that Jacques Kallis achieved in ODIs

    Is being bowled out by Moeen embarrassing?

Polite Enquiries: Is Rahane India's Misbah? Should Rohit be dropped? Jarrod Kimber and George Dobell discuss

    'We were determined to prove we were not an average team'

Former South Africa wicketkeeper Dave Richardson remembers his favourite moment from the Lord's win in 1994

    'A test of Kohli's mental strength'

Bowl at Boycs: Geoffrey Boycott on Kohli's recent form, and Cook's captaincy

How does one 'lead by example'?

Alex Bowden: A captain needs to do enough as an individual to retain respect and control, but exceptional performances may not result in even greater influence

News | Features Last 7 days

The woeful world of Pankaj Singh

Pankaj Singh greeted his most expensive analysis in Test history with the words 'That is cricket'. It was admirable acceptance from an impressive man of a record he did not deserve

Bhuvneshwar on course for super series

Only 15 times in Test history has a player achieved the double of 300 runs and 20 wickets in a Test series. Going on current form, Bhuvneshwar could well be the 16th

Ugly runs but still they swoon

Alastair Cook did not bat like a leading man but the crowd applauded him for simply not failing

Boycott floored by an Indian trundler

When Eknath Solkar got under the skin of Geoff Boycott, leading to a three-year self-imposed exile from Test cricket

Worst keepers, and honours at Lord's

Also, most keeping dismissals on debut, seven-for at HQ, and youngest ODI centurions

News | Features Last 7 days
Sponsored Links

Why not you? Read and learn how!