First Test Match


Toss: England. Test debuts: Pakistan - Anil Dalpat, Ramiz Raja.

Brilliant spin bowling by Qadir was the source of Pakistan's first victory over England in thirteen home Tests. Although Cook took his match figures to eleven for 83 when Pakistan, through carelessness and nerves, nearly made a hash of scoring 65 to win, Qadir's wrist-spin, which earned him eight for 133, was the essence of the match. Gower excepted, England had little defence to his mixture of leg-breaks, top-spinners and googlies in conditions to which a truncated itinerary gave them no chance to adjust. For that, the Test and County Cricket Board's failure to insist on an acclimatising game before the Test must be held responsible.

Winning the toss, England had their eyes on a score which might insure against defeat when, with Smith taking root, they reached 90 for one shortly before tea on the first day. But Sarfraz, skilfully persuading an ageing ball to swing, took the wickets of Smith and Lamb in successive overs, thus opening the way for Qadir. Gower, with the advantage of left-handedness, batted for three and threequarter hours before falling lbw to a ball at which he played no stroke.

Pakistan looked like building a big lead when Mohsin and Qasim Omar opened with a stand of 67. But steady bowling by Cook, and some poor strokes by the middle order, saw them collapse to 138 for six early on the third morning. However, England lost their grip. Cook dropped a caught and bowled from Qadir 1 run later and, with Willis over-bowling Botham, Salim Malik and Qadir added 75 off twenty overs for the seventh wicket, the fastest scoring of the match. Willis ended Salim's six-hour innings with the second new ball, but 37 were added freely for the final wicket before Cook returned to have Azeem caught at deep mid-on.

Trailing by 95, England at once lost Gatting, padding up, and Smith before reaching close of play at 54 for two. Hopes of a revival quickly foundered when, after the rest day, Lamb was the victim of one of three controversial decisions in the innings. Randall, bowled for a second time by an undetected Qadir googly, Botham, who had his leg stump flattened by Tauseef as he swept, and Marks, bowled between bat and pad, followed before lunch; and when Gower, in the first over afterwards, edged a cut to slip, England were 128 for seven.

To start with, Pakistan treated their final task as the formality it should have been. But through taking liberties with Cook, who was brought on for the fourth over, they were quickly 26 for three. With panic beginning to set in, Salim was easily run out when he refused to accept the rejection of a single, and Ramiz and his elder brother, Wasim, were caught in the following two overs to make Pakistan 40 for six. Botham, left-handed at slip off a fast-travelling edged drive, and Cowans, within inches of the long-off boundary, fanned England's hopes with brilliant catches. But the twenty-year-old Anil Dalpat, displaying calmer nerves in his first Test than many of his seniors, added 19 with Qadir, and an edged 4 by Sarfraz brought the winning runs 25 minutes from the close of the fourth day. There were no interruptions, but partly through fear of threatened student demonstrations, attendances were very disappointing.

© John Wisden & Co