First Test Match

AUSTRALIA v. PAKISTAN

Pakistan were comprehensively beaten and the tourists' quite inadequate preparation played no small part in their decisive reversal. The game was marred by feeling which ran high between the teams and a considerable volume of unfavourable publicity concerning umpire Townsend standing in his first Test. That the game continued until the last day was due to the courage of injured Pakistani opening batsman Talat Ali, who batted one-handed due to a broken right thumb suffered in Lillee's second over of the Test.

Lillee and Massie bowled extremely well on a wicket which provided prodigious bounce, but Pakistan emerged with credit from the difficult first day, Wasim Bari driving fearlessly for ten 4's in his 72 and Intikhab Alam discreetly strong in his 64. Aware he had been dropped already from the second Test side, Massie swung the ball well for four wickets and Lillee was extremely hostile. The early dismissal of Redpath, playing as opener after the late withdrawal of Stackpole with a back injury, was the first of a series of decisions involving umpire Townsend which drew criticism. One concerned I. M. Chappell when he was only five and he went on to make his eighth Test century and his highest Test score of 196. The Pakistanis were adamant that Chappell had been caught at the wicket off Asif Masood.

In the space of five deliveries from Intikhab, Chappell drove and pulled three 6's on the Victor Richardson gates side of the ground, a short boundary by any standard because of the groundsman's decision to use his best pitch, not necessarily his central wicket which was poorly grassed.

Edwards gave his captain valuable assistance in his 89 and Marsh, aided by two dropped catches soon after he reached double figures, went on to become the first Australian wicket-keeper to make a Test century.

In the last half-hour of the third day, Pakistan lost the wickets of Saeed, Majid and Zaheer for 23 runs after Saeed and Sadiq had batted with assurance for 88 runs for the first wicket. Saeed and Majid left nobody in doubt about their dissatisfaction with umpire Townsend's decisions, causing team manager Wing Commander M. E. Z. Ghazali to promise a statement concerning the umpiring at the end of the Test. Eventually he made his report through the customary channel in his match report to the Australian Board of Control. Dispirited, Pakistan fell victim to Mallett's improved guile and accuracy. Mallett finished with eight for 59, the best performance of his career.

© John Wisden & Co