First Test Match

England v Pakistan

Norman Preston

At Edgbaston, May 31, June 1, 2, 4. England won by an innings and 24 runs with more than a day to spare, the match being completed just after half past two on Monday.

The new selection committee when naming the side, which appeared as originally chosen, nominated Cowdrey as one of the opening batsmen, B.R. Knight, as at Edgbaston the previous year, being twelfth man. M.J. Stewart, a reserve for opening, relieved him at the week-end. Pakistan selected twelve and omitted Farooq, which left them with only two seam bowlers -- a surprising decision.

Consequently, on Dexter winning the toss, a tremendous amount of work fell on Mahmood and D'Souza, the slower men being terribly expensive against batsmen who maintained an enterprising policy. Cowdrey, himself, may have been reluctant to open, but he was certainly successful. Top scorer, with 159 in four hours, twenty-three minutes, he hit twenty-one 4's and took part in two big stands with Dexter and Graveney.

Cowdrey and his captain put on 166 in two and a quarter hours and then Cowdrey and Graveney added 107 in eighty-seven minutes. England finished the first day with handsome score of 386 for four wickets.

Cowdrey gave no indication of a long stay during the first hour when his share of 46 runs was only 12 and even then he offered a difficult low chance off D'Souza to first slip where Mushtaq dived unsuccessfully to his right.

Thereupon, Cowdrey found his best form and hit freely in all directions. Dexter, immaculate in style, excelled with the drive. Twice he drove Nasim for 6 and was trying to thump Intikhab for another when he presented a skier to Burki, his rival captain, at mid-off. Dexter also hit seven 4's.

Graveney marked his return to Test cricket after an absence of three years with a classic display. His first scoring stroke was a majestic off drive and a series of sparkling drives flowed from his graceful bat. Pakistan had to wait until five o'clock for the second new ball and by that time England's total had reached 315 for three from eighty-five overs.

For most of the day the sun had shone to temper a cool wind. Now, under a cloudy sky, Mahmood achieved the best bowling; he soon trapped Barrington leg-before and commanded such respect from Graveney and Parfitt that the scoring rate dropped from 80 to 30 an hour. Even Graveney lost his rhythm.

England batted for two more hours on Friday before Dexter declared during the lunch interval. Parfitt (two 6's and nine 4's), made his not out 101 in three and a quarter hours, his second hundred in successive innings against Pakistan (following his 111 in Karachi in February).

Graveney, who occupied little more than three hours for his 97 (thirteen 4's), was taken at short leg without increasing his overnight score, and then came an exhilarating unbroken stand between Parfitt and Allen who put on 153 in one hundred and twelve minutes. Allen shaped like a champion hitting eleven 4's.

Pakistan, who faced the highest total obtained by England since their 619 for six wickets against West Indies at Trent Bridge in 1957, were soon struggling against adversity. There was a notable stand by the brothers, Hanif and Mushtaq, but fine fielding resulted in the first five wickets all falling to catches and by the end of the second day the total was 149 for five from sixty-five overs.

Next morning when Dexter relied for an hour on his slow bowlers, Imtiaz and Wallis saw the score to 202. Then in the ninety-second over Statham appeared and his first delivery (still with the old ball) accounted for Wallis.

Trueman took the new ball and hit the off stump in disposing of Imtiaz; Statham also struck the off stump twice with successive balls while sending back Nasim and Mahmood. The last man, D'Souza, not only averted a hat-trick, but, hitting boldly with Intikhab, added 40 runs, including 24 runs in three overs from Trueman.

Following on for two overs before lunch, 298 runs behind, Pakistan fared better for a time. Ijaz looked sounder and stayed eighty-five minutes while the first wicket produced 60. Hanif, handicapped with a painful knee in both innings, remained nearly two hours, but the best effort came from Imtiaz who went in at number three. He drove Allen for 6 and also hit five 4's, getting 46 in seventy-four minutes, but with Mushtaq going cheaply, four men were out at the close for 158.

Next day, England soon took the new ball and Statham disposed of Burki (played on) and Wallis. Meanwhile, Saeed, who had stayed sixty-five minutes overnight for 30 made the highest score of the match for his side in two and a quarter hours, combining sound defence with clean hitting. Nasim and Mahmood delayed the end with some powerful strokes, but England were never extended.

Only on the last day did the sun shine with any warmth, but the match was free from rain and altogether 40,000 people were present, the best attendance being on Saturday when over 16,000 attended.

© John Wisden & Co