Specials – Best of the Tests : Australia v Pakistan

  Australia and Pakistan are set to play each other in a Test series after more than four years. Just like the previous series in England in 2010, the absence of a third Test in the series is disappointing. Nevertheless, the two teams are playing a Test series in the sub-continent after twelve long years and it promises to be a riveting duel on the dry tracks of the UAE.

  With four days to go for the first Test in Dubai, let us go down memory lane and revisit five of the best Test matches played between Australia and Pakistan, in chronological order:-

1) 3rd Test, Sydney, 1972-73

  This was the final Test of Pakistan’s first proper series in Australia – they had earlier played just a one-off Test in 1964-65. Coming into this game, Australia had already sealed the series by winning the first two Tests. On a greenish wicket, visiting captain Intikhab Alam elected to field. Australia’s top order laid a strong foundation and guided the score to a healthy 315/5.

  However, they lost their last five wickets for just 19 and folded for 334. Ian Redpath top-scored with 79 while Ross Edwards made 69. Sarfraz Nawaz picked up 4/53. In reply, Pakistan slipped to 131/4 before Mushtaq Mohammed (121) and Asif Iqbal (65) added 139 for the fifth wicket. The visitors eked out a narrow lead by ending up at 360. Greg Chappell took 5/61, the only five-wicket haul of his Test career.

  Pakistan’s pace duo of Nawaz (4/56) and Saleem Altaf (4/60) then rattled the Australian batting in the second innings, as the hosts crashed to 44/4 and further to 94/7 with two days still left. John Watkins and Bob Massie attempted a recovery by putting on a crucial stand of 83 for the ninth wicket, which helped the score swell to 184.

  Pakistan’s target was 159 with ample time left, and were well poised to record their maiden Test win in Australia. But the moderate target proved to be tricky for the visiting batsmen, who failed to cope up with the pace of Dennis Lillee and Max Walker.

  When Zaheer Abbas fell for 47, the score was 83/4 and the game was even. But Walker produced a remarkable spell of swing bowling as he grabbed the last five wickets for three runs in 30 balls. He finished with 6/15 as Pakistan lost their last five for 13 to be bowled out for 106.

2) 1st Test, Melbourne, 1978-79

zdazas     Sarfraz Nawaz bowled a sensational spell at Melbourne in 1979-80 to inspire Pakistan to a 71-run win (source – cricketcountry.com)

  This Test was the first in a two-Test series. On the opening day, fast bowlers Rodney Hogg and Alan Hurst collected seven wickets amongst them to condemn Pakistan to 196. No batsman made it past the thirties and after slipping to 40/4, they were always on the back foot.

  But Imran Khan (4/26) brought Pakistan back in the game by denting Australia’s top order. The hosts were bowled out for 168, giving Pakistan a narrow lead. Pakistan’s second innings was built around opener Majid Khan’s knock of 108. Helped by contributions from the middle order, they declared at 353/9 on the fourth day, setting Australia a difficult target of 382.

  Australia began the final day at 117/2. At 128/3, Kim Hughes (84) joined Allan Border in the middle and the two turned the tide in their team’s favour with a fourth-wicket stand of 177. Australia needed only 77 runs with seven wickets in hand, when Sarfraz Nawaz bowled Border for 105. This triggered a sensational collapse as Nawaz proceeded to rip through the rest of the Australian battting.

  In one of the greatest spells in Test history, he took 7 for 1 in 33 balls to leave the home crowd stunned. From 305/3, Australia were bowled out for 310 in a matter of 11 overs, with four of the last seven wickets being ducks. Nawaz returned figures of 9/86 and single-handedly guided Pakistan to a famous win. Australia drew the series by winning the second Test.

3) 1st Test, Karachi, 1994-95

  Australia were searching for their first Test win in Pakistan in 35 years when they began this series at the fortress of Pakistani cricket – the hosts had not lost a single Test at the National Stadium. After new captain Mark Taylor elected to bat, Australia managed to score 337, for which they were thankful to debutant Michael Bevan (82) and Steve Waugh (73) who stitched together a fifth-wicket stand of 121 to rescue their side from 95/4.

  In reply, Pakistan were cruising at 153/1, at which point Saeed Anwar fell for 85 to start a middle-order collapse. The hosts were suddenly 181/6 before eventually finishing at 256. All the front-line Australian bowlers took at least two wickets each. With a cushion of 81 runs, Australia had given themselves a real chance of winning the Test.

  In their second innings, the game was Australia’s to lose with the score reading 171/2 and David Boon and Mark Waugh (61) looking comfortable in the middle. But the deadly fast bowling duo of Wasim Akram (5/63) and Waqar Younis (4/69) had other ideas as they turned around the game with a fine bowling display. Wickets fell in a heap even as Boon, who finished unbeaten on 114, held up one end. Australia lost their last five wickets for 19 runs to be bowled out for 232.

  Pakistan required 314 runs to win, more than anything they had ever successfully chased in a Test. Anwar (77) starred again and his composed batting led Pakistan to 155/3 at the start of the final day. An Australian victory looked likely when the score slipped to 184/7. With the score at 258/9, Mushtaq Ahmed came out to join Inzamam-ul-Haq (58*).

  At this point, three main Australian bowlers were injured, with only Shane Warne (5/89) left as a threat, albeit on a turning wicket. The last pair took advantage and put on 56 off just 8.1 overs to give Pakistan a thrilling one-wicket win, in the process keeping their record in Karachi intact. Pakistan went on to win the series 1-0.

4) 2nd Test, Hobart, 1999-00

zgillo    Justin Langer (left) and Adam Gilchrist shared a sixth-wicket stand of 238 to script Australia’s victory at Hobart in 1999-00 (source – perthnow.com.au)

  After clinching a ten-wicket win in the series opener, Australia looked certain to lose before an amazing last-day fightback from Justin Langer and Adam Gilchrist gave them a famous win. Steve Waugh inserted Pakistan in and his bowlers did not disappoint, limiting the total to 222. Opener Mohammed Wasim made an attacking 91.

  In reply, Australia were in a commanding position at 191/1 with Michael Slater (97) and Langer (59) in ominous form. But Pakistan somehow conjured a comeback, guided by the wily off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq (6/46). Australia were dismissed for 246, losing their last eight wickets for just 40 runs. Trailing by just 24, Pakistan then took control of the game with a solid batting display in the second innings.

  Saeed Anwar (78) took charge at the top before Inzamam-ul-Haq (118) and Ijaz Ahmed (82) put on 136 for the fourth wicket. Shane Warne (5/110) bowled impressively, but Pakistan went on to score 392. Australia needed 369 to win the Test and the series, which looked a distant dream when they fell to 126/5 on the fourth evening.

  They began the final day at 188/5 and Pakistan were well on top. But the overnight batsmen Langer and Gilchrist were not deterred and went on to add a record 238 runs for the sixth wicket. While Langer made a solid 127, it was Gilchrist’s assault that jolted Pakistan.

  The wicketkeeper cracked an unbeaten 149 off 163 balls – a remarkable knock given the situation. The Australians eventually reached 369/6 – then the third highest fourth innings victory chase – as Pakistan were left to rue a missed opportunity. Australia swept the series 3-0.

5) 2nd Test, Sydney, 2009-10

  Ten years later, Pakistan were yet again at the receiving end of a brilliant Australian comeback. This Test was an apt example of a team snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Trailing 1-0 in the series, Pakistan had a perfect start as Australia, after electing to bat, were shot out for just 127 on the opening day.

Mohammed Sami took three early wickets to leave the hosts 10/3, after which Mohammed Asif (6/41) took over. At one point, the score read a woeful 62/7. Pakistan replied with an opening stand of 109 between Imran Farhat (53) and Salman Butt (71) and helped by other vital contributions, ended their first innings at 333.

  In their second innings, in spite of Shane Watson’s 97, Australia were reduced to 257/8 – effectively 51/8 – late on the third day and a Pakistani win was inevitable. The hosts found their saviour in Michael Hussey, who shared an invaluable 123-run partnership with Peter Siddle.

  Helped by some abysmal fielding and wicketkeeping from the Pakistanis, Hussey scored an unbeaten 134 as the innings ended at 381 (Danish Kaneria 5/151). Even then, Pakistan needed only 176 to win and had plenty of time to achieve the target. Instead, they went on the attack and eventually imploded.

  From 50/1, they crashed to 77/5. Umar Akmal (49) kept the visitors alive, but the last four wickets fell for just six runs as Pakistan were bowled out for 139 with Nathan Hauritz scalping 5/53. Australia won one of the most extraordinary Tests by 36 runs within four days and went on to complete a 3-0 whitewash.

Watch Sarfraz’s 9/86 

Watch Gilchrist’s 149*


Test cricketers who played international field hockey

  Over the course of history, there have been many talented men and women who have represented their nation in cricket as well as another sport. While most of them played international football or rugby in addition to cricket, a select few were good enough to play field hockey as well.

  In this post, we will look at the Test cricketers who also played field hockey at the international level :-

Brian Booth (Australia)

  New South Wales’ Brian Booth was a regular fixture in the Australian middle order in the early sixties. In 29 Tests, he scored 1773 runs at 42.21. In just his third Test, he made 112 in the 1962-63 Ashes opener at Brisbane.

  In 1964-65, he enjoyed his most productive series, logging 531 runs in four home Tests against South Africa, including a career best 169 at Brisbane. A good five years before his Test debut, Booth had the privilege of being part of the Australian hockey team at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne.

  He was not selected for the league games as Australia failed to make the semi-finals, but he did play in the classification matches against Belgium and New Zealand (Australia finished fifth), without scoring a goal.

Trevor Laughlin (Australia)

  Victorian all-rounder Trevor Laughlin played only three Tests in his career and he got his chance only because of the Packer exodus in the late seventies.

  He did manage to take a five-wicket haul with his medium pace, collecting 5/101 against the West Indies at Kingston in 1977-78. Besides, he was a also a hockey international for Australia. He is the father of fast bowler Ben Laughlin, who played five ODIs for Australia in 2009.

zbaba       Australia’s Brian Booth played international hockey for his country, including two matches at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne (source – espncricinfo.com)

Rachael Heyhoe-Flint (England)

  Women’s cricket legend Rachael Heyhoe-Flint is regarded as one of the best batswomen to play Test cricket. In a career spanning from 1960 to 1979, she played 23 Tests and scored 1594 runs at a healthy 45.54.

  Her career best of 179 came against Australia at the Oval in 1976, an innings which helped England draw the Test after a 245-run first innings deficit. She was the first ever captain – female or male – to win a cricket World Cup, in England in 1973. In 1964, she represented the English women’s hockey team as a goalkeeper.

Jack MacBryan (England)

  One-Test wonder John ‘Jack’ MacBryan was a decent batsman for Somerset. In his only Test, against South Africa at Old Trafford in 1924, he could not get a chance to bat as the game was washed out after just two sessions on the first day.

  He represented the gold medal-winning Great Britain hockey team at the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, which was the only time he played hockey at international level. He played one game in the round-robin stage, in which Great Britain thumped Belgium 12-1.

Nawab of Pataudi, senior (India/England)

  Ifthikar Ali Khan, known as the senior Nawab of Pataudi, is the only man to have played Test cricket for both England and India. He is also one of the three Indian princes to score an Ashes hundred on Test debut – he scored 102 at Sydney in 1932-33.

  He played only six Tests in his career, three each for England and India (captaining the latter in 1946) and failed to cross fifty in nine innings after his debut century.

  In 1928, the year he made his first-class debut for Oxford University, he was part of the Indian hockey team which won the gold medal at the Olympics in Amsterdam. His son Mansur Ali Khan went on to become an Indian cricket captain as well.

Morapakkam Gopalan (India)

  Morapakkam Gopalan is another in this list to have played just one Test, against England at Calcutta in 1933-34. He did little of note, taking one wicket with his fast-medium pace and scoring 18 runs. Playing for Madras against Mysore, he bowled the first ever ball in Ranji Trophy history in 1934-35.

  In 1935, he starred as a half-back for the Indian hockey team on the tour of Australia and New Zealand. India won every single game on the tour, including all the three Tests in New Zealand. In 1936, Gopalan faced a tough choice, as he was picked for the cricket team to tour England as well as the hockey team for the Berlin Olympics.

  He opted for the former, which unfortunately proved to be a wrong decision – he was hardly played on the England tour whereas India won the hockey gold medal in style. At the time of his death in 2003, he was the oldest surviving Test cricketer at 94.

Edwin McLeod (New Zealand)

  Yet another one-Test wonder, Edwin McLeod played his only cricket Test against England at Wellington in 1929-30. This was New Zealand’s second Test overall. He played in New Zealand’s first ever hockey Test match, against Australia in 1922 at Palmerston North, a game which New Zealand won 5-4.

  In 1935, he was the captain of the New Zealand hockey side which took on India in a three-Test series at home. Just like Gopalan above, McLeod too was the oldest surviving Test cricketer at the time of his death in 1989, aged a month away from 89.

Keith Thomson (New Zealand)

  Keith Thomson, a middle-order batsman from Canterbury, played only two Tests for New Zealand, both at home against India in 1967-68. In his very first innings, at Christchurch, he scored 69.

  His hockey career was much better – he had a reasonably good record while playing for the Black Sticks in 28 Tests from 1961 to 1971. At the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, he played in eight games and scored three goals – one each against India, East Germany and Belgium as New Zealand finished seventh.

Jonty Rhodes (South Africa)

zjontyu      Fielding great Jonty Rhodes could not take part in the 1992 Olympics as the South African hockey team failed to qualify (source – ibnlive.in.com)

  One of the best fielders to have played cricket, right-handed middle-order batsman Jonty Rhodes played 52 Tests for South Africa in which he scored 2532 runs at 35.66. The world first took notice of Rhodes’ fielding skills in 1992, when he ran out Pakistan’s Inzamam ul-Haq with a stunning dive in a World Cup match in Brisbane.

  He had a good start to his Test career, scoring 91 and 86 in his respective second and fourth Tests, against India in 1992-93. His best performance with the bat came against England at Lord’s in 1998, when he scored a career-best 117 after coming in at 46/4 in the first innings, eventually helping South Africa to win by ten wickets.

  He was a key part of the South African hockey team which attempted but failed to qualify for the 1992 Olympics. South Africa qualified for the 1996 Olympics, but this time Rhodes missed out due to injury.

Russell Endean (South Africa)

  Like Rhodes, Russell Endean too was an excellent fielder and already a hockey international before his Test cricket debut. In just his third Test, he scored an unbeaten, career-best 162 against Australia at Melbourne in 1952-53. In the same series, he displayed his great fielding skills for the first time.

  His batting – he also scored 70 as an opener in South Africa’s successful chase of 295 in the final Test at Melbourne – and fielding played a key role in South Africa drawing the five-Test series 2-2.

  Though he was also a wicketkeeper, most of his 41 catches were taken as a fielder. He was the first batsman to be out handled the ball in a Test, against England at Cape Town in 1956-57. In all he played 28 Tests, scoring 1630 runs at 33.95.

Thami Tsolekile (South Africa)

  Despite being a regular on the South African domestic scene since 2000, wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile has played only three Tests till date, all of them in 2004-05. Recently he was selected for the 2012 England tour, but could not play a Test due to an already packed Proteas middle-order.

  The Cape Town lad has also played international hockey for South Africa, scoring a goal in his debut match in 1999.

Maurice Turnbull (Wales/England)

  Middle-order batsman Maurice Turnbull, regarded as one of Glamorgan’s best captains, was a versatile sportsman – he played Test cricket for England and rugby union and field hockey for Wales.

  He could muster only one half-century in his nine-Test career spanning from 1930 to 1936. He played hockey for Wales in 1929 and rugby in 1933.

David Houghton (Zimbabwe)

  Dave Houghton became Zimbabwe’s first Test captain, when he lead the African nation in its first Test against India at Harare in 1992-93. In that game, he also became Zimbabwe’s first Test centurion, making 121 in the first innings from number six as his team achieved a draw.

  He holds the record of Zimbabwe’s highest individual Test score as well – 266 against Sri Lanka at Bulawayo in 1994-95. He was part of Zimbabwe’s first ODI win (against Australia at Trent Bridge in the 1983 World Cup) as well as their first Test win (against Pakistan at Harare in 1994-95). In 22 Tests, Houghton scored 1464 runs at 43.05.

  In the late eighties, he made his name as a highly dependable goalkeeper of the Zimbabwean national hockey team.