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The first official Test series to be played in Pakistan did little credit to cricket generally. Pakistan and India faced each other like two boxers tentatively sparring for an opening, but being afraid to strike the first blow in case some unexpected counter might be forthcoming. With neither side prepared to take the initiative the series ended in stalemate, all five Tests being drawn for the first time in history. Fear of defeat remained uppermost in the minds of the two teams and it does appear that until the two countries realise that the loss of a Test Match is not the shattering tragedy they seem to imagine, games between them are likely to remain dull and practically devoid of interest.
Perhaps the years will bring greater understanding on the cricket field, but it is to be hoped that in the meantime the public will not lose interest in the game. Certainly on this tour the crowds were large and enthusiastic, but the many who must have been watching international cricket for the first time saw little to make them want to go again. Both sides adopted the same defensive batting tactics and negative bowling to deep-set fields. As a result the average rate of scoring in the Tests was barely 30 runs an hour.
If there were any honours to be gained these went to the bowlers, who toiled hard for their wickets on pitches generally in favour of batsmen. Pakistan relied almost exclusively on the fast-medium attack of Khan Mohammad, Fazal Mahmood and Mahmood Hussain; between them they took 51 of the 58 wickets which fell to bowlers.
For India the spinners did best, Gupte taking 21 wickets with leg-breaks and the slow left-hander, Mankad, who captained the side, coming next with 12. Few batsmen distinguished themselves. The most successful were Alim-ud-Din, the Pakistan opening batsman, and Umrigar, the hard-hitting Indian. Hanif Mohammad, the young Pakistani, regarded as one of the leading opening batsmen in the world, played an innings of 142 in the second Test, but otherwise scarcely lived up to his reputation. Manjrekar again showed himself to be probably the most stylish stroke-player in India.
Kardar, who captained Pakistan, won the toss in four matches and four times his side led on first innings. In no case was the lead substantial, and the teams could be considered evenly matched in nearly every respect. India went through the tour unbeaten, winning five and drawing nine matches. In the games outside the Tests, Patel, an off-break bowler, as well as Gupte, achieved considerable success and Umrigar and Manjrekar remained the leading batsmen.
Match reports for
1st Test: Pakistan v India at Dhaka, Jan 1-4, 1955
2nd Test: Pakistan v India at Bahawalpur, Jan 15-18, 1955
3rd Test: Pakistan v India at Lahore, Jan 29-Feb 1, 1955
4th Test: Pakistan v India at Peshawar, Feb 13-16, 1955
5th Test: Pakistan v India at Karachi, Feb 26-Mar 1, 1955