First Cornhill Test


Brian Bearshaw

At Manchester, June 4, 5, 6, 8, 9. Drawn. Toss: Pakistan. Just over half the match was lost to the weather, only fourteen hours eighteen minutes' play being possible. England held a promising position by the end of the third day when Pakistan were 93 for three, needing 248 to avoid following on, but only 26 overs were possible on the fourth day and none on the last. England's original choice of thirteen players included two who had not been to Australia in the winter, Robinson and Capel. This became three when Broad broke his thumb and Fairbrother was brought in for his début on his home ground. Dilley was declared unfit on the morning of the match, Capel was left out, and England's team showed five changes from the one which lost the Fifth Test in Sydney. Broad, Small and Dilley were injured, Lamb and Richards were dropped, and in came Robinson, Fairbrother, DeFreitas, Foster and French. Pakistan were still without Qadir and showed four changes from the team which won the final Test against India in Bangalore in March. Shoaib Mohammad, Mudassar Nazar, Mansoor Akhtar and Mohsin Kamal replaced Rizwan-uz-Zaman, Manzoor Elahi, Iqbal Qasim and Saleem Jaffer.

Play was able to start at 2.45 p.m. on the first day, but only after matting had been laid over a sodden, muddy-looking nearby pitch. Imran won the toss and, although not fit to bowl, he put England in and could have been moderately satisfied with holding them to 145 for three at the end of the day. Wasim Akram, 21 the previous day, took the first wicket in the 30th over and Mohsin gave Pakistan encouragement with two wickets in an over in the closing half-hour. Gatting was bowled and Fairbrother, sent in with 25 minutes to go, let a bouncer go by, was beaten outside off stump and let the third delivery pass. He made no shot to the fourth, which came in to him, and was sadly lbw. French went in as night-watchman and the following day, in which only 37 minutes were lost, went on to his first Test fifty in a stand of 113 with his Nottinghamshire colleague, Robinson.

Gower top-edged a catch to the wicket-keeper, but Robinson, whose fourth Test century occupied 366 minutes and 264 balls, went on for a total of 528 minutes and 365 balls and hit sixteen fours until, hooking tiredly, he was caught behind. Botham hit five fours and a six before he was caught in the outfield and play ended 37 minutes early because of rain with England 402 for seven. A bright innings from Edmonds dominated a last-wicket stand of 34 on the third day, and before play again ended early, England had claimed three wickets. Shoaib edged his seventh ball to the wicket-keeper, Ramiz was well caught by the diving Emburey at square leg, and Miandad was caught by French, standing up to Botham.

By the end of the third day, 308 minutes' play had been lost - 121 on the first day, 37 on the second, and 150 on the third. The rain made sure there would be little more, just 86 minutes on the fourth day which was highlighted by a superb piece of fielding by DeFreitas, supported by alert wicket-keeping, to run out Malik. Another feature of the match was the use of the standby umpire, J. Birkenshaw, who deputised briefly when H. D. Bird was hit on the leg by a fielder's throw on the second day.

Man of the Match: R. T. Robinson. Attendance: 31,823; receipts £229,276.

Close of play: First day, England 145-3 (R. T. Robinson 62*, B. N. French 6*); Second day, England 402-7 (J. E. Emburey 14*, P. A. J. DeFreitas 5*); Third day, Pakistan 93-3 (Mansoor Akhtar 42*, Salim Malik 3*); Fourth day, Pakistan 140-5 (Imran Khan 10*, Mudassar Nazar 0*).

© John Wisden & Co