Third Test


At Lahore, December 16, 17, 18, 20, 21. Drawn. Toss: Zimbabwe. Test debut: W. R. James.

The final Test was ruined by fog and bad light, which kept the players off the field for just over eight hours. But a result might have been possible had the umpires and teams been more anxious to get on. The light was not always as bad as the umpires seemed to believe and, on the final day, Pakistan's batting was completely aimless. Even Zimbabwe, who were in the stronger position, showed no signs of urgency.

The hero of the first day and, as things turned out, the match, was the medium-pacer Brain, who took five wickets for 42 as Pakistan were all out for 147 within 52 overs after being asked to bat. In his first over, Brain had Aamir Sohail caught in the gully. Shoaib Mohammad and Inzamam-ul-Haq began to repair the damage but were dismissed within four balls and Pakistan went into lunch tottering at 60 for three. Javed Miandad and Basit Ali managed 53 for the fourth wicket but Brain then removed Basit, the normally reliable Asif Mujtaba without scoring, and Miandad himself after two hours. The rest put up little resistance.

Next day the mist descended, cutting 105 minutes from the morning and 25 in the evening Zimbabwe advanced from 15 to 110, losing Dekker, Campbell and Grant Flower, all caught by Rashid Latif behind the wicket. Flower survived a blow on the helmet from Waqar Younis to make a painful, three-hour 30. A further 11 runs came in the 21 minutes possible on the third day. There was another late start after the rest day, even though it was sunny, and Zimbabwe lost four more wickets in taking the lead, but their captain, Andy Flower, batted for two and half hours to take them to 230, with support from the tail. Waqar Younis wrapped up the innings with his 16th analysis of five or more wickets in 26 Tests.

Trailing by 83 runs, Pakistan reached 37 without loss overnight. After a further 45 minutes were lost on the final morning, Brain dismissed Sohail for the second time in the match, the signal for Pakistan to bat out the day. Shoaib and Mujtaba shared an unbroken stand of 118: Shoaib made a tortuous 53 in 315 minutes - one of the slowest fifties in Test history - and Mujtaba reached his own half-century at twice his partner's rate. Brain's brave first-day effort was all but forgotten as the Test ended in stalemate.

Man of the Match: D. H. Brain.

Men of the Series: Pakistan - Waqar Younis; Zimbabwe - A. D. R. Campbell.

Close of play: First day, Zimbabwe 15-0 (G. W. Flower 10*, M. H. Dekker 2*); Second day, Zimbabwe 110-3 (D. L. Houghton 47*, A. Flower 10*); Third day, Zimbabwe 121-3 (D. L. Houghton 50*, A. Flower 15*); Fourth day, Pakistan 37-0 (Aamir Sohail 19*, Shoaib Mohammad 8*).

© John Wisden & Co