Third Test Match

England v Pakistan

Toss: Pakistan. Test debuts: Pakistan - Javed Akhtar.

This victory gave England the rubber after only three matches and, as in the previous Test at Lord's, they needed only three days to win. At Birmingham, the match was completed shortly after lunch on the fourth day.

Both teams showed three changes compared with the second Test, England having Murray, Titmus and Statham for Millman, Lock and Coldwell and Pakistan, Butt, Munir and Akhtar for Imtiaz, D'Souza and Wallis. In addition, England gave the captaincy to Cowdrey instead of Dexter.

When Burki won the toss he sent in England to bat, the first time a Pakistan captain had ever taken this course in a Test. Burki summed up the conditions correctly for a leaden sky, heavy atmosphere and a green pitch were ideal for the seam bowlers.

Indeed, Pakistan fared so well that they captured the first six England wickets for 180, the total at the end of the first day being 194 for 6 from four and a half hours' play. This was their best day of the tour so far, but afterwards nothing went right for them and, handicapped by injuries, they disintegrated.

Stewart prevented Pakistan making a complete break-through. He opened his score by hooking Farooq for 6 and when fifth out after batting four hours he had also hit nine 4's in a competent display. On the second morning the two Middlesex players, Parfitt and Murray, took charge, putting on 67 and then Allen, Trueman and Statham hit to such purpose that altogether the last four wickets yielded 248 runs.

Parfitt gained the distinction of making his third century in four Tests against Pakistan. During his innings of four and a half hours he batted without fault until he completed three figures. Then at 102 he was badly dropped at cover by Mahmood who thus deprived Akhtar of his first wicket in Test cricket. Fluent, well-placed drives and powerful hooks and pulls brought Parfitt the majority of his eighteen 4's.

Munir thoroughly deserved his five wickets, but Burki overworked him. Indeed, Munir bowled without relief from the Kirkstall Lane end from 3 p.m. on Thursday to 1.30 p.m. on Friday and moreover he returned later to take the last two wickets.

While Munir rarely sent down a loose ball and kept bowling for hour after hour, the other bowlers were often loose and expensive. Mahmood, in particular, wasted much energy by not aiming at the stumps. Farooq, handicapped by a groin injury, too, was overworked and did not take any further part in the tour.

Akhtar had the unique experience of bowling his first ball on arrival in England in this Test so there was every excuse for him not producing his true form, although with his fine build and brand new flannels and boots he looked the part.

Hanif being handicapped by a severely bruised knuckle, Alim was restored to his former place as opening batsman and he alone shaped with any confidence in both innings. During the last two and a half hours on Friday England took three wickets for 73 and on Saturday the remaining seventeen wickets fell for 238 runs.

Pakistan cut a sorry figure on a pitch too slow to give the bowlers genuine encouragement, but all the England bowlers did well and they were supported by fine fielding and top-class wicket-keeping, but it must be admitted they had little opposition. The Pakistanis were already dispirited by injuries when they suffered a further set-back early on Saturday. A fast ball from Statham struck Burki on the right knee and in each innings he not only collapsed at the crease but had to be assisted from the field. Although he returned each time he was dismissed immediately.

The match did not attract the usual large crowds, about 9,000 being present on each of the first two days and 17,000 on the last.

© John Wisden & Co