Second Cornhill Test



Toss: Pakistan.

Pakistan won by ten wickets, a margin which reflected their superiority but failed to record the tension of the closing stages as the Pakistanis sought only their second-ever victory over England. The first had been in 1954, at The Oval, in the fourth Test of Pakistan's first Test series in England.

It in no way detracts from Pakistan's win to say that England were handicapped by the limitations of their attack once Willis pronounced himself unfit, ironically as a result of a neck injury incurred avoiding Imran's bouncers at Birmingham. Into his place came Jackman, for his first Test in England, while Gower, with little experience at the job, assumed the captaincy. Pringle was recalled for Miller, who was unwell, and Marks was twelfth man. Pakistan brought in Haroon Rashid for Wasim Raja and Sarfraz for Sikander. England, for the first time in the summer, lost the toss and Imran elected to bat.

Both the quality of England's bowling and the nature of the pitch were shown in true perspective when Mohsin drove back Botham's first ball for 4. Before lunch, taken with Pakistan 107 for one, the batsmen had disdained wearing helmets, and these did not reappear until the 89th over, when Pringle took the new ball and with his third delivery had Zaheer, then 28, dropped by Tavaré at second slip. Had England held their catches, the day might have ended differently than with Pakistan 295 for three. Mohsin, whose delightful batting was resplendent with cover drives and forceful strokes off his legs, was let off twice: once when 72, at first slip by Pringle, and again shortly after reaching his second Test hundred (153 balls, fourteen 4s) when he gave Jackman the hardest of caught-and-bowled chances.

On Friday a brief stoppage for showers in the morning, a four-hour delay after lunch, and Gower's strengthening of his on-side field meant that it took Mohsin, 159 overnight, until six o'clock to become only the second post-war batsman to score 200 in a Lord's Test. M. P. Donnelly, 206 in 1949, was the other, though he did not have to wait for four hours on 199. Mohsin's 200 came off 383 balls, took 491 minutes, and included 23 4s. Three balls later he flicked Jackman uppishly behind square leg to Tavaré.

Imran's overnight declaration brought early reward when Tavaré played on, but Randall and Lamb negotiated the most fiery of spells from Imran to bring up 50 after ten overs. Eight overs later, Randall played down the wrong line to Sarfraz, and soon after lunch Lamb, early on the drive, was taken by forward short-leg, diving forward. Pakistan's attacking bowling and fielding, allied to a slow over-rate, restrained both Gower and Botham. The England captain, unusually inhibited, had managed only one 4 by tea, by which time he had lost Botham, sweeping Qadir to square leg.

In the evening session, England's later batsmen were severely embarrassed by Qadir's mixture of leg-spin, googlies and top-spin. Only Gatting looked confident, and he had guided England to within 3 runs of the follow-on figure when, with Jackman just in, he accepted the umpires' offer of bad light. Perhaps he should have batted on, for next morning, after pushing Imran's third ball for a single, he saw Jackman adjudged lbw to the last.

So Sunday's play, the first such at Lord's, began with high drama before many of the 11,200 spectators had gathered. (It was to end in cheap farce after most of them had gone home.) The drama was heightened by an amazing spell of bowling by Mudassar who, coming on for the tenth over, accounted for Randall, Lamb and Gower in six balls for no runs. Lamb apart, his victims fell as much to their own imperfections as to his medium-pace seam and swing.

Tavaré and Botham, however, dug in, Tavaré remaining on 0 for 67 minutes. Rain and bad light prevented any play in the afternoon, and in the evening they resisted further the speed of Imran and the guile of Qadir. When Mudassar was brought back for the first time since his morning spell of 5-2-11-3, the umpires conferred and went off for bad light. It was then seven o'clock. They reappeared 37 minutes later, allowed Mudassar one maiden over in the pleasant sunshine, looked at their light meters, and brought the day to a somewhat banal close.

Monday began darker and cloudier than the previous evening, precipitating an early stoppage and increasing the possibility of England being saved by the weather. Soon after midday Mudassar made the vital breakthrough, getting one to lift and having Botham well caught at backward point and persuading Gatting to flash fatally at a long-hop. After lunch, taken when England were 140 for five, Pringle again fell close in to Qadir and Greig, playing back, gave Mudassar his sixth wicket. Tavaré, however, went on, venturing a selection of fine strokes, and just after three o'clock he saw England past an innings defeat. His 50, off 236 balls, had absorbed 352 minutes and was second only to T. E. Bailey's at Brisbane in 1957-58 as the slowest on record. When, finally, he succumbed outside off stump to Imran's persistent hostility, he had batted for 6 hours, 47 minutes and hit six 4s.

With Tahir and Sarfraz unfit, Imran's bowling resources were limited, yet it was not until the 117th over, as Taylor and Jackman were edging England towards safety, that he took the new ball. This gave Qadir that extra bounce to remove Jackman.

Pakistan's target was 76 from eighteen overs, and from the start Gower's Sunday field was never going to match the confident strokeplay and brilliant running of Mohsin and Miandad. The first two overs realised 13 runs; in the eighth they were halfway there; by the twelfth, with dark clouds threatening, only 10 more were needed. And when, in the fourteenth, Miandad cut Hemmings for 4, the Pakistani faithful raced on to the field to acclaim their heroes and the victory which sent the two teams level to Leeds for the deciding match of the series.

The attendance for the five days was 74,889, with takings of £329,254.

© John Wisden & Co