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Beefy's meteoric rise

By June 1978, Ian Botham had been an international cricketer for less than a year, but in that time he had already produced two centuries and four five-wicket hauls. In this match, his first at Lord's and the sixth of his career, he confirmed his status as a mighty allround with a brilliant display with bat and ball. Here is what the Wisden had to say about that performance...

Ian Botham, England v Pakistan, Lord's 1978
England sealed victory seven minutes before lunch on the fourth day following a blank first day. The win was a triumph for Botham, who hit a dazzling century - his second in successive Test innings - and finished the match by taking eight wickets for 34 runs. These were the best figures by an England bowler in an innings since Jim Laker's nine for 37 and ten for 53 against Australia at Old Trafford in 1956. There had never been an all-round performance like Botham's in a Test match. In his seven Test matches to date, Botham now claimed three hundreds besides five wickets or more in an innings five times.

Moreover, England' performance could be attributed to the success of their young men, Gooch (24), Gower (21), and Botham (22). Gooch, taking the place of Wood, made a significant return to the England team. He saw his captain, Brearley, who won the toss, and Radley leave with only 19 runs on the board, but strong on the back foot he drove powerfully and exploited neat late cuts. With Gower, he put on 101 in ninety-seven minutes. Gower, too, played well until a wild stroke cost him his wicket. With Miller failing, Pakistan had reduced England to 134 for five.

Up to this point the Pakistan attack, despite the absence of Sarfraz Nawaz, had performed exceedingly well. Sikander and Liaqat used the new ball to good purpose, and then Qasim, left-arm slow, and Raja, leg-spin, bowled effectively until Botham's arrival. Botham's second scoring stroke was a magnificent pull for 6 off Qasim into the Mound Stand. Roope announced his presence by hitting a long hop from Raja for 6. So the partnership rescued England, the pair adding 118 in 105 minutes before Roope mishit Qasim to extra cover. Nothing could stop Botham, however, and he completed his spectacular hundred in the last over of the day in two hours forty minutes with eleven boundaries in addition to his 6. England's total stood at 309 for eight.

A crowd of 20,000 on Saturday saw Botham soon leave, cutting Liaqat into his wicket, but Edmonds drove Sikander into the pavilion for 6 while Willis helped in a final stand of 40.

Of the Pakistan batsmen, only Mohsin and Wasim Raja did themselves any sort of justice. On a hard pitch, Willis soon wrought destruction in taking five for 47. Edmonds completed the devastation with four victims for only six runs from six overs. Consequently, Pakistan followed on 259 behind. This time, Sadiq and Mudassar went cheaply, but again Mohsin played well and with Talat raised the score to 96 without further loss before the close.

The fall of the last eight wickets for 43 on Monday morning came as a complete surprise when, on a cloudless day, Botham swung the ball in astounding fashion. He beat the bat with three or four outswingers an over. The ball was a substitute for one that went out of shape on Saturday evening, after which the spinners, Edmonds and Miller, had gone into action. Brearley expected to have to rely on them on this Monday morning.

Instead, Botham seized his opportunity when he went on at the Nursery end so that Willis, with the wind having veered, could change ends. Miandad alone showed ability to cope with the situation and stayed an hour and twenty minutes before being last out, caught in the gully by Gooch.

A drizzle which began at 10.30 in the morning prevented a ball being bowled on the first day, when The Queen met both teams in the pavilion at tea-time. Much earlier there had been a meeting of the captains to discuss which players should be considered non-recognised batsmen against whom the bumper should not be exploited. Nothing was divulged, but it was deduced that those concerned were Willis and Hendrick (England) and Sikander, Liaqat, and Iqbal Qasim (Pakistan).