First Test Match


At Lahore, February 21, 22, 23, 24. Drawn. The riotous atmosphere in which this match was played, rather more than the quality of the bowling, accounted for 34 wickets falling in four days on an easy batting pitch. Cowdrey's century in the hubbub of student unrest was a magnificent performance in which he kept cool despite the many distractions. He batted four hours, in which 70 overs were bowled. Edrich, who hit nine 4's in his 54, and Knott, perky as ever, also set fine examples of imperturbability, which Fletcher magnificently followed in the second innings. Intikhab bowled his leg breaks particularly well, both before and after being hit for four 4's in one over, one by Fletcher and three by Cowdrey. Knott made his 52 off 29 overs and once cut the off-spinner Saeed for three 4's in an over.

Pakistan owed everything to Asif Iqbal when they batted. Brown, who had not previously taken a wicket on the tour, bowled so well that Pakistan lost their first three wickets for 32. Then Asif by brilliant stroke play hit 70 out of 113. So slow was the over rate, however, that his innings lasted two and a half hours. On the third day England's batting broke down so badly against the medium quick bowling of Asif Masood and Majid Jahangir that defeat was probable until the two juniors, Fletcher and Knott, added 78 for the sixth wicket. How modern players vary over rates to suit themselves was shown in this innings. Pakistan bowled 48 overs in the first two hours, forty minutes while scenting victory. With Fletcher and Knott established, only 12 were bowled in the next hour. Fletcher altogether batted four hours and hit eight 4's. In his second Test he had saved England.

At the end Brown drove strongly, and Pakistan were finally left five hours in which to chase 323. They also were in some peril, when four wickets fell in the first 26 overs, Cottam bowling admirably, but Majid's enterprise saved the day. Scoring at two runs an over from drives, cuts and hooks, his 68 bore close comparison with Asif's 70 in the first innings. Throughout the match both sides averaged only 94 balls an hour, despite the considerable use of the spin bowlers, Intikhab, Saeed, Mushtaq, Underwood and Pocock. It is not surprising that so many Tests are now left drawn.

© John Wisden & Co