Third Cornhill Test


Graeme Wright

At Leeds, July 2, 3, 4, 6. Pakistan needed only five overs and one ball for victory on the fourth morning. For England, it was a dismal reminder of their defeat by India on the same ground a year earlier. Because it contained cracks and its bounce was irregular, the pitch was criticised, but more culpable were England's batsmen. Of their bowlers, only Foster used the conditions properly, moving the ball into and away from the bat and forcing the batsmen to play. He took the first six wickets to fall and finished with eight, a display of fast-medium bowling that matched Imran's. Dilley's away-swing rarely threatened, Capel's line and length did not pass muster, and Edmonds vacillated between attack and containment. England had omitted Emburey in favour of a fourth seamer, Capel, while Richards stood in for French, who had not recovered from chicken-pox. Pakistan were unchanged.

England chose to bat first on a sunny morning of high cloud and little breeze. It seemed ideal for batting, and yet after 63 minutes they were 31 for five, undone in the main by pace and swing. Robinson, to the third ball, was not fully forward; Athey, in the seventh over, played late; Broad, in the eighth, was neither forward nor back; Gatting played no stroke; and Gower played on, trying to take his bat away from a ball that lifted and was leaving him. Imran's figures were 7-1-16-3; Wasim Akram's, when he gave way to Mudassar, were 10-4-20-2.

Botham's watchful approach saw him through almost two hours before Mudassar, having already bruised Botham's instep so that he would not take the field when Pakistan batted, tempted him to drive at a gentle out-swinger. Richards played no stroke to an in-swinger from Wasim, and when the young left-armer tired, Mohsin Kamal wound up the innings with three wickets in nine balls. Capel, 47 not out at tea, had no sooner reached a début fifty with his sixth boundary than he drove a ball of full length and Mohsin took the return catch above his head. He had batted well for three hours thirteen minutes, proving the wisdom of a full forward defence.

Pakistan had 27 overs to stumps and in that time England put down three catches off Foster's bowling. Mansoor, first ball and then in the 26th over, survived hard chances to Edmonds and Emburey in the slips, and Emburey also dropped Yousuf, second ball, a straightforward catch and a costly miss as the night-watchman batted throughout the Friday morning session.

Until he drove a full toss to cover in the final over, needing 1 for his hundred, Salim Malik quietly imposed himself on the second day's play. His innings, a lesson in application and technique, occupied five and a half hours and his 99 came from 238 balls with eight fours. Adding 72 runs with Ijaz Ahmed, he had been taking the game away from England, and on the third morning Ijaz and Wasim Akram took it beyond reach. Ijaz captivated the Saturday crowd with his dashing strokes: four off the back foot behind point and then, with two dancing steps, a straight boundary off successive balls from Edmonds; a turn of the wrists brought a ninth four and his fifty. Wasim Akram's 43 from 41 balls was a swashbuckler's innings containing four sixes and two fours. Edmonds put an end to the second stage of England's misery by running in from fine leg to dismiss him with a lovely tumbling catch.

But stage three began immediately, Broad and Robinson going in Imran's first and second overs. Athey and Gower then put on 35 in the 38 minutes to lunch, batting as if there were no tomorrow. Broad had been unlucky, adjudged caught behind off Imran's second ball, which brushed his left hand after he had removed it from the bat and was snatched up in front of him by the wicket-keeper. The TV replay, after several viewings, suggested Broad was luckless on two counts. Yousuf was less successful in the afternoon when, having dropped the ball and then retrieved it, he appealed to have Botham caught behind. The umpire was not impressed. Nor was Botham, who reacted angrily, and umpire Palmer had to be quick to separate them. Imran also acted smartly, dressing down Yousuf in no uncertain manner.

While Qadir kept one end tight through 23 successive overs, the quick bowlers operated from the Football Stand end to exploit the uncertain bounce. Imran bowled immaculately, and with his fifth wicket, that of Richards, well taken at forward short leg, he became the eighth bowler to capture 300 Test wickets. On the fourth morning, he took his tally for the innings to seven and for the match to ten. Capel had again batted soundly for three hours, but England's fate had been sealed since Thursday morning's gambit. That Imran would have made the same opening move was little consolation to Gatting.

Man of the Match: Imran Khan. Attendance: 44,500; receipts £303,057.

Close of play: First day, Pakistan 76-2 (Mansoor Akhtar 24*, Salim Yousuf 4*); Second day, Pakistan 280-7 (Ijaz Ahmed 33*, Wasim Akram 0*); Third day, England 186-7 (D. J. Capel 26*, N. A. Foster 13*).

© John Wisden & Co