First Test Match

England v Pakistan 1971

Pakistan took all the honours. They had a wonderful chance of winning when rain intervened on the last day. After making 608 for seven they dismissed England for 353, enforced the follow-on and by the close of the fourth day had their opponents 184 for three in their second innings. Then came the rain. Play was not possible on the fifth day until just after 5 p.m. and then after 14.5 overs bad light sent the players off England still 26 behind with only five wickets left.

On an easy paced pitch five centuries were made and the most remarkable was that by Zaheer Abbas, whose 274 was the highest individual score made by a Pakistan batsman against England. It fell only four short of D. C. S. Compton's 278, the highest for England against Pakistan, at Trent Bridge in 1954. Zaheer and Mushtaq Mohammed enjoyed a record second-wicket stand of 291, while Asif Iqbal with 104 not out emphasized Pakistan's immense batting strength. England would have been in a sorry state but for Knott's attacking 116 in the first innings and Luckhurst's defiant 108 not out in the second.

After returning home from Australia with the Ashes, England entered the match in understandably confident mood, Amiss of Warwickshire being the only member of the team not to have been in the tour party. Both Boycott and Snow were unfit.

Pakistan gave a first Test cap to their eighteen-year-old all-rounder, Imran Khan, because of the illness of Salim Altaf. They must have been surprised at the ease with which runs came after winning the toss. Ward's thrid delivery struck Afthab on the head and he had to retire to have the wound stitched. This brought in Zaheer and one soon appreciated that he was a batsman out of the ordinary. He was particularly strong on the leg side, piercing the field with ease. Sadiq's was the only wicket England took on the first day when Pakistan finished at 270 for one, Zaheer 159; Mushtaq 72. The pair scored 82 in an hour after tea.

Next morning Mushtaq was out after batting nine minutes short of six hours but Zaheer stayed for nine hours ten minutes, hitting thirty-eight 4's before a sweep at Illingworth brought his downfall. When he reached 261, Zaheer became the first batsman to complete 1,000 runs in the English season. He said afterwards that he had not felt too tired and was thinking in terms of the world Test record just before he was dismissed.

Asif Iqbal punished the dispirited bowlers on Zaheer's departure and Intikhab allowed the innings to run into the third morning when Iqbal completed his century which came in just over three hours.

England began disastrously against Asif Masood, who dismissed Edrich, Cowdrey and Amiss in his first 8.1 overs at a cost of 25 runs. A viscious break back was his most effective ball. Luckhurst fought hard and d'Oliveria hit back with 73 in two and a quarter hours. It included twenty-one 4's and a feast of audacious footwork. He was soon out on the Monday morning and before lunch England followed on for the first time against Pakistan.

Asif Masood, although stricken with stomach trouble, again caused England to struggle, dismissing Edrich at 34, before he had to leave the field. Luckhurst and Cowdrey made a determined effort to pull the game round, but when Asif Masood came back he claimed Cowdrey with his first delivery. Amiss fell to a bouncer before the close when England were 184 for three and the new ball only nine overs away.

Then the rain came to England's aid. But Luckhurst was unbeaten at the end having completed 1,000 Test runs for his country in less than a year and scored a century on his first appearance against Pakistan. Asif Masood finished with nine wickets for 160 in the match and had Salim been there to give him support even the rain might not have saved England. Much of the match was played in dull, cool weather and the total attendance was no more than 25,000.

© John Wisden & Co