First Test


At Defence Stadium, Karachi, December 1, 2, 3, 5, 6. Pakistan won by 131 runs. Toss: Pakistan. Test debuts: G. K. Bruk-Jackson, M. H. Dekker, S. G. Peall, J. A. Rennie, H. H. Streak, G. J. Whittall.

Pakistan abandoned Karachi's National Stadium, where they had remained unbeaten in 30 Tests, for the smaller Defence Stadium, which became the 70th Test ground. It did not change their luck. It was an unfamiliar game in other respects: this was the first Test between the two sides, both captains were leading their teams for the first time and Zimbabwe fielded six debutants. Waqar Younis, deputising for the injured Wasim Akram, became Pakistan's youngest Test captain at 22 years and 15 days, beating Javed Miandad by 245 days. Not surprisingly, Andy Flower was also the youngest man to lead his country, at 25; his only predecessor, the 36-year-old Houghton, remained in the team.

It was to be Waqar's match, however. He returned his best-ever Test figures of 13 for 135, five bowled and seven lbw, to set up a 131-run win. Zimbabwe did well to hold out until the end of the final day. Earlier, their sensible bowling, backed up by some impressive fielding, meant that Pakistan could not score as freely as they would have liked. On the first day they batted for 75 overs, losing only two wickets but falling short of 200. Aamir Sohail was bowled by Peall, in his first over, for 63, but the tone was set by Shoaib Mohammad's cautious 71. The next day dragged on slothfully while Pakistan scored 191 runs. The new ball was taken in the second over and helped Rennie to his first Test wicket, Shoaib for 81. Miandad was the next to go, lbw to Brandes for 70. Rashid Latif stepped up the pace slightly and Pakistan declared 25 minutes into the third day.

Zimbabwe batted bravely against the fire and fury of Waqar to reach 179 for four by the close. Though Waqar removed both openers without much cost, Campbell scored his third Test fifty, including seven fours, and Houghton almost added another. Andy Flower's 63 seemed to be setting up a very respectable total. But they crashed from 280 for five to 289 all out, with Waqar dismissing four men in 15 balls to finish with seven for 91.

In their second innings Pakistan gathered runs much more quickly, and the declaration set Zimbabwe score 266 from 68 overs. The early loss of Dekker and Campbell forced them onto the defensive before Waqar inspired another collapse, six wickets for 31 runs reducing them to a humiliating 92 for eight. Though the end seemed inevitable, Streak and Brandes made the bowlers fight for the last two wickets, holding out for more than an hour. But once Waqar had broken through he trapped the last man, Rennie, with just over five overs to spare.

Man of the Match: Waqar Younis.

Close of play: First day, Pakistan 197-2 (Shoaib Mohammad 71*, Javed Miandad 37*); Second day, Pakistan 388-8 (Rashid Latif 52*, Tauseef Ahmed 8*); Third day, Zimbabwe 79-4 (A. Flower 21*, G. J. Whittall 12*); Fourth day, Pakistan 111-3 (Inzamam-ul-Haq 47*, Asif Mujtaba 2*).

© John Wisden & Co