Third Test Match

PAKISTAN v INDIA

At National Stadium, Karachi, November 14, 15, 17, 18, 19. Pakistan won by eight wickets. Left one hundred minutes to score 164 runs, Pakistan completed their win with seven balls to spare. The margin of victory was as much a measure of their vast batting superiority as the sharpness of their front-line pace bowlers, Imran Khan and Sarfraz Nawaz. The latter returned match figures of nine for 159, and although Imran took three fewer wickets his great pace helped to unsettle the fragile Indian batting. For the second time in his international career of eight years, Gavaskar scored two separate hundreds in a Test match. This feat and the efforts of all-rounders Kapil Dev and Ghavri prevented India from being more completely outplayed.

These performances might have been sufficient to force a draw, particularly as Pakistan's catching was erratic, but India suffered from Bedi's poor marshalling of his moderate bowling sources. For the first time in many years, India had gone into a Test match with only two spinners. The balance of their side was influenced less by the nature of the pitch than by fear of weakening the batting. As for the pitch, there was more grass on it than is normal at Karachi. The growth was uneven, and its less pleasant features were varying pace and bounce.

India won the toss for the first time in the series, but did not fully exploit the advantage. Following partnerships of 58 and 73 for the first two wickets, they went to 179 for four. There was a further slump after Gavaskar was fifth out at 217, two more wickets going down while only 36 runs were added. India were then rallied by an eighth-wicket stand of 84 between Ghavri and Kapil Dev, in which the latter's share was a rapid 59, made off only 48 deliveries and including two 6s and eight 4s.

Pakistan, too, began soundly and then crumbled to 187 for five. For a brief period, Bedi and Chandrasekhar recaptured their old guile and devil, but the depth of Pakistan's batting enabled them to make light of this crisis. Miandad, scoring his second century of the series, put on 154 for the sixth wicket with Mushtaq Mohammad.

On the third morning, Mushtaq was removed for 78 before Pakistan drew level, and Miandad was seventh out when they were only 30 ahead. The Pakistani tail then countered so strongly that Mushtaq was able to declare with a lead of 137 runs one hour after lunch. India had lost control initially because Bedi was tardy in resting his overworked seam bowlers and trying Chandrasekhar and himself. He then went to the other extreme and bowled himself for too long - obviously in the hope of picking up the tailenders' wickets.

There was a dramatic start to India's second innings, which began with just over eight hours left in the match. Imran, bowling an opening over of lightning pace to Gavaskar, could have been most unlucky not to get the umpire's verdict when he appealed for a catch at the wicket. Then Sarfraz, in his second over, had Chauhan caught off the glove and nearly struck another blow almost immediately, getting the off-form Mohinder Amarnath to edge a simple catch before he had scored; but Zaheer dropped it.

Amarnath stayed to make 53 and helped Gavaskar to put on 117 for the second wicket. However, India collapsed hopelessly on the last morning, and with half an hour to go for lunch, they were 173 for six - only 36 ahead. Fortunately Gavaskar was still there. Two short of his hundred at lunch, he cut loose after the break against Iqbal Qasim and Sikander Bakht. He and Ghavri added 73 and India won some breathing space. Then at 246, an hour after lunch, Sarfraz went round the wicket and had Gavaskar caught behind, Bari taking a superb catch.

Imran and Sarfraz had gone flat out to break this seventh-wicket partnership and were rested once the goal was achieved. Mushtaq now turned to spin, which received rough treatment from the aggressive Kapil Dev. The new ball became due at 261, but with his main fast bowlers tired, Mushtaq delayed taking it for five overs. In doing so he nearly threw away the chance of winning, for 30 runs were added during this time. But once the new ball was taken, the innings ended abruptly.

When the mandatory overs started, Pakistan had lost one wicket, that of Majid, and needed another 137 runs to win. However, field placings designed to stop boundaries could not contain Asif - who had opened the innings - and Miandad, who was promoted up the order because Zaheer was injured. With imaginative placements and magnificent running between the wickets, the pair put on 97 from only nine overs. Although Asif was dismissed at a crucial time, Pakistan did not lose momentum through this reverse, and if their win was at all in doubt, it was settled in the sixteenth over when Imran struck Bedi for two 6s and one 4.

© John Wisden & Co