Second Test Match


At Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, October 27, 28, 29, 31, November 1. Pakistan won by eight wickets. Despite a courageous second innings recovery by India, Pakistan maintained the grip they established on the first day when they bowled out India for a meagre 199.

A grassy pitch prompted Mushtaq to put India in first. The wicket was hardly fiery, but it provided enough movement off the seam for Pakistan's pace attack to lay bare the Indian batsmen's flaws in technique. Conditions being what they were, a big innings from Gavaskar was vital to India's well being. But in the third over, Saleem Altaf, Pakistan's veteran seam bowler, who was given the new ball in preference to Sarfraz Nawaz, produced a beautiful away-going ball to have Gavaskar caught at slip. Soon, India were reduced to 49 for four.

India were fortunate not to be overtaken by further disasters before their total reached three figures, for Vengsarkar made a very shaky start and Mohinder Amarnath survived a chance at backward short leg when he was 7 and the total 88. But in the last over before lunch, at 106 for four, Amarnath turned his back on a bumper from Imran- the third of that over - and took a blow on the head. He was forced to retire. (When he resumed his innings, Amarnath trod on his wicket trying to hook yet another short-pitched delivery from Sarfraz.) Kirmani joined Vengsarkar following the injury to Amarnath and the total reached 151 before Pakistan were able to break this fifth wicket partnership. Again, Pakistan missed an important chance by dropping Kirmani when the total was 118. Once he went, however, the innings tapered away rapidly. Vengsarkar was seventh out, having batted four hours twenty-three minutes and hit one 6 and ten 4s in his 76.

Pakistan were unperturbed by the early loss of Mudassar's wicket. A splendid 235 not out by Zaheer Abbas was the centrepiece of Pakistan's innings, but a sizeable total was guaranteed even before he came on the scene, thanks to a breezy night-watchman's innings of 85 by Wasim Bari, who completely dominated a second-wicket stand of 125 with Majid Khan.

Zaheer was in full flight again in scoring the third double-century of his Test career. The extent of his mastery can be gauged from the fact that of the 395 runs Pakistan accumulated during his six and a half hours at the wicket, his five partners mustered only 148; only Mushtaq (67) scoring more than 35. The Indians could find no way of containing Zaheer on a good wicket. The ease and fluency with which he drove, cut and pulled - he hit two 6s and 29 4s - put Pakistan well ahead of the clock and enabled Mushtaq to declare, midway through the afternoon of the third day, with an awesome lead of 340 runs.

More than half this lead was wiped out by India's opening pair, Gavaskar and Chauhan, with the highest first-wicket partnership to date in India- Pakistan Tests. Little more than eight hours remained when they were parted - and both demonstrated dissatisfaction at the decisions ruling them out, Chauhan at 93 and Gavaskar at 97. Viswanath then took charge of the situation, and though most of his partners looked vulnerable, India continued to prosper. Surinder Amarnath, who made 60, was dropped three times.

A draw looked the most likely result, even fifteen minutes before lunch on the last day when Viswanath, drawing back to cut Mudassar, was bowled for 83. India then were 406 for five and their hopes were dimmed further when Mudassar grabbed another important wicket, that of Vengsarkar, a few minutes later. It was due only to a gallant 39 not out by Kirmani that India were now able to extend Pakistan even a little. The final target was 126 runs in a shade over one hundred minutes, and with most of their batsmen well versed in the art of chasing runs after long experience in English cricket, Pakistan galloped home with 8.2 overs to spare.

© John Wisden & Co