Pak v Aus, 2nd MCC Spirit of Cricket Test, Headingley, 4th day

Pakistan prevail in thrilling finale

The Report by Andrew Miller

July 24, 2010

Comments: 278 | Text size: A | A

Pakistan 258 (Watson 6-33) and 180 for 7 (Farhat 67, Azhar 51) beat Australia 88 and 349 (Smith 77, Clarke 76) by three wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details


Umar Gul and Mohammad Amir celebrate the winning run as Pakistan held their nerve on the fourth morning at Headingley, Pakistan v Australia, 2nd Test, Headingley, 4th day, July 24, 2010
The moment of victory: Umar Gul and Mohammad Aamer scamper through for the winning run © Getty Images
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Pakistan's long, long wait for a Test victory over Australia finally came to an end amid scenes of excruciating tension on the fourth morning at Headingley, as a simple equation of 40 runs for victory with seven wickets still standing was made to look as complex as the proof to Fermat's Last Theorem. They eventually crept home with three men still standing, but their collective nerves in tatters, as Umar Gul launched the winning shot through the covers with the scores already level.

The margin of victory looked more comfortable than it felt, and that's putting it mildly. The eventual difference between the sides was the wicketkeeper, Kamran Akmal, whose 13 from 26 balls was as close as Pakistan came to a composed fourth-day performance. That said, had Akmal been given out caught in the gully with five runs still required, who knows what miracles might have transpired. Mike Hussey's low scoop was turned down by the TV umpire, but after Mohammad Aamer had edged another four to balance the books, Akmal slammed another chance which Hussey this time plucked to his left.

The morning had begun amid scenes of raucous optimism from the noisy knots of Pakistan fans in the Western Stand - lured by five pound tickets and the prospect of a chance to witness history - and there was an early moment of poignancy as well, as Rudi Koertzen was given a guard of honour to commemorate the final day of his 108-Test umpiring career.

Pakistan's chasing traumas

  • Sydney 2010 - An Australian collapse for 127 in the first innings had left Pakistan with a target of 176 in the fourth innings - their best opportunity to end a winless run against Australia since Sydney 1995. The openers added a brisk 34 but wickets fell in clusters thereafter and Pakistan were shot out for 139.
  • Dunedin 2009 - Umar Akmal's debut Test. After making a hundred in the first innings, Akmal was once again the lynchpin, scoring 75, as Pakistan attempted to chase 251. They had a fair chance at 95 for 3 and 161 for 4, but lost their last six wickets for 57.
  • Galle 2009 - Pakistan were 36 for 0 and then 71 for 2, only 97 runs away from victory. Then followed a collapse to rival all other collapses during which eight wickets fell for only 46 runs. Salman Butt was the only one to make it past 20.
  • Port Elizabeth 2007 - The last time Pakistan successfully chased a target of less than 200. Set a target of 191, Pakistan were facing defeat after Shaun Pollock and Makhaya Ntini had reduced them to 92 for 5. Younis Khan, who batted steadily, and Kamran Akmal led a revival that grew into a match-winning partnership of 99, securing a five-wicket victory.

But as soon as the focus returned to the centre of the field, Australia resumed their attack with the same vigour that had hauled them back into contention in the final moments of the third evening's play. Doug Bollinger, who had jolted Pakistan with two wickets in seven balls, made it three in 17 as the overnight anchor, Azhar Ali, feathered a length delivery through to Tim Paine, only moments after spanking a full toss through the covers to bring up his maiden Test half-century.

At 146 for 4, with a tantalising 34 still needed for victory and Australia's fielders cranking up the chatter, the stage could hardly have been less ideal for the impetuous Umar Akmal, a man who likes nothing better than to blaze away with impunity. He edged Ben Hilfenhaus for a streaky four through third slip, a shot accompanied by a roar of relief from the stands, but one over later, he was gone as well, via a flat-footed poke to a regulation outswinger.

With Bollinger bounding in with the unstoppable intent of a latter-day Merv Hughes, appeals and alarms were two-a-penny. Kamran Akmal survived consecutive appeals for caught behind and lbw - both rightly turned down by Koertzen - before Shoaib Malik was dropped one over later by a diving Michael Clarke at second slip. He couldn't make his luck count, however, as Marcus North at extra cover clung onto a full-blooded drive off Hilfenhaus, to leave Pakistan on the ropes at 161 for 6, with Aamer's appearance at No. 8 scarcely helping to settle the nerves.

Akmal's response was two priceless fours in five balls - the first a touch streaky as he snicked an outswinger away through third man, the second more emphatic as he got up onto his toes to punch a drive through extra cover. With 13 consecutive Test victories over Pakistan, including their corker at Sydney in January, Australia's belief did not waver at any stage of the morning, but in the final analysis, they were unable to make amends for their 88-all-out debacle on the first day.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo.

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by AtifMaqsood on (July 27, 2010, 10:17 GMT)

the luck of shoaib malik works for Pakistan.... Shoaib Malik was not present in T-20 World cup squad where Hussy beat Pakistan.. Now in two T-20's shoaib malik was the in playing 11 and see wat happened the luck of shoaib malik cause pak to a historic win and same farmula goes for the test series against Australia.

Posted by Trashtalk on (July 26, 2010, 20:27 GMT)

Yeah i say congrats as well you know,,, every time i returned to the cricinfo website and the the titles kept favoring aaustrilia in the ending moments i thought i was gonna loose me life but then GUL did for us in fact the whole pakistan team....after 15 years

Posted by   on (July 26, 2010, 16:34 GMT)

first of all congratulation pakistan cricket team & congats salman, pakistani bowlers perform very well specially aamir,asif,gul.Also thanks to those Indians and other fan around the world who supported Pak team. congratulation pakistan,s peoples,fans & thanx ecb asad from hyderabad pakistan

Posted by   on (July 26, 2010, 15:34 GMT)

Congrats Pakistan for that superb win over one the best team in the world.... MASHALLAH...

Posted by ehsan_rocks on (July 26, 2010, 15:31 GMT)

@rajul_tandon can you please tell me what can i realize about your so called no 1 test team which is getting beating of its lifetime from srilanka. If Pakistan was equal to bangladesh and zimbabwe before this victory then what will you rate your team which has been beaten by Pakistan 12 times in Test Maches and just won 9 Matches out of 59 Matches. That means if Pakistan is equal in tests with ban and zim then india should be lower then them because india has won few test against Pakistan.

Posted by shamimboy on (July 26, 2010, 13:42 GMT)

at last they win against Australia. though the target was small, but the supporters of Pakistan got afraid. coz the name of the team is Pakistan. at the beginning of the of the day four it was seemed that they will win easily, but the unpredictable Pakistan lost 7 wickets, which seems Australia will win the match. but Pakistan at the end won the match.

Posted by ice6430 on (July 26, 2010, 13:31 GMT)

congrats pakistan , you played well yu need to improve in batting.get rid of a couple of players and bring 2 Ys.umar akmal needs dropping.also malik he shud play tennis with sania instead.

Posted by KXAH on (July 26, 2010, 12:25 GMT)

Befittingly bowlers scored the winning run ... :) Only they deserved that

Posted by KXAH on (July 26, 2010, 12:24 GMT)

Befittingly bowlers scored the winning run ... :) Only they deserved that

Posted by   on (July 26, 2010, 12:04 GMT)

@ Laurance Barr : So in the current tour Pakistan won three out of four matches and they were lucky while Australia in their 1 match win are world class ?

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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
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