First Test Match

Pakistan v England

A tedious five days was marred by two serious crowd disturbances and over-cautious batting on a slow pitch.

Except for a brief period on the fourth afternoon when the classical slow left-arm bowling of Iqbal Qasim threatened England with the follow-on, the prospect of a result other than dreary stalemate was remote. The first innings were not completed until fifteen minutes after lunch on the last day. At that point 695 runs had been laboriously scored for nineteen wickets in twenty-two and a quarter hours play.

The first stoppage, on the second afternoon, was caused by a premature celebration of Mudassar Nazar's century, which was the longest in Test history. When he was 99 some spectators invaded the pitch.

After one had been belaboured by police, running fights began. Police were chased across the ground, and four found refuge in the England dressing-room. Bricks and stones were hurled in the direction of the dressing-rooms and the VIP enclosure.

Tea was taken during the trouble, and only twenty-five minutes of actual playing time were lost. Incredibly, the rioters voluntarily cleared the ground of debris.

Mudassar, the 21-year-old son of former Test opener Nazar Mohammad, now Pakistan national coach, completed his century in nine hours seventeen minutes - twelve minutes slower than the previous record by D.J. McGlew for South Africa against Australia in the 1957-58 series.

In all, Mudassar batted nine minutes under ten hours for 114, with three of his twelve 4s arriving after his century. Used as the sheet anchor, Mudassar displayed remarkable concentration and unwavering resolve, and played his elected role to perfection.

His record might not have lasted long if Boycott had not been beaten by a brilliant delivery which pitched middle and took the off stump when he was 63. Boycott's 50 in four hours fifty minutes was twenty minutes slower than Mudassar's 50.

The second and more serious riot, clearly with a political motivation, caused play to be abandoned fifty-five minutes before the scheduled ending on the third evening. Police fired tear gas to disperse a section of a crowd estimated at between 30,000 and 35,000.

Fortunately, the next day was a rest day, but the rest of the Test suffered from a lack of atmosphere. Attendances dwindled to a few thousand and there was a considerable show of police and military strength. It was hard to concentrate in such a tense situation.

Some splendid batting, however, came from the powerfully built Haroon Rashid, who, with Mudassar, put on 180 which passed the previous Pakistan record for the third wicket against England - established by Zaheer Abbas and Mushtaq Mohammad at The Oval in 1974. In slightly under five hours Haroon hit one 6 and seventeen 4s. Javed Miandad also livened the innings.

Cope was almost credited with a hat-trick in his maiden Test. Having dismissed Abdul Qadir and Sarfraz Nawaz with successive deliveries, he had Iqbal Qasim given out caught at slip to Brearley off the next ball. The batsman was on his way when Brearley, uncertain of the validity of the catch, recalled him.

Pakistan batted into the third day and achieved the modest tactical position of setting England to make 208 to avoid the follow-on - the only logical way of getting a result. Yet they took England to the brink of disaster by dismissing the first six for 162, mainly by an impressive thirteen overs spell by Iqbal Qasim who removed Boycott, Roope (to an indiscreet shot), and Old at a personal cost of 23. Abdul Qadir's leg-breaks and googlies also caused trouble. but when his length began to falter the new ball was taken. It was less effective than spin.

Miller and his Derbyshire team-mate Taylor survived the crisis with 89 in three hours. Unhappily for Miller, seeking his maiden first-class century, his last partner Willis was given out, caught at backward short leg, when he was 98. Willis had stayed for ninety minutes, and Miller, though inflicted with a heavy cold and streaming eyes, had batted for six hours without serious fault, hitting ten 4s.

© John Wisden & Co