Written By: Omair Alavi
Pakistan’s Cricket team may not be performing to the best of their abilities at the moment but the ‘Men in White’ have been there, have done that! They have completed their 400 Tests and we are acknowledging their effort by picking out the top memorable moments from early 90s till recently, the era that covers some 200 odd Test matches. Be ready for the many matches where the Green Caps delivered the best performance and even stunned their greatest critics by being true ambassadors of the game.
Records Galore at Karachi – 1993
Pakistan Cricket started a new era under Wasim Akram after Javed Miandad was stripped off captaincy in 1993; however, it was Waqar Younis’ debut match as Captain (he was named Wasim’s deputy) that found its place in the record books. First, the Burewala Express was the youngest captain to lead Pakistan in a Test match at 22 years and 15 days, breaking Javed Miandad’s record of 22 years and 260 days. It was also the last Test series in which Javed represented Pakistan. The first Test of the series was played at Defence Stadium in Karachi which became a Test centre with the match. Waqar Younis took as many as 13 wickets in the match (7 in the first, 6 in the second innings) to wrap up a famous victory by 131 runs.
Waqar’s Kandy Krush – 1994
There was a time Sri Lankans were considered minnows of Test Cricket; they began their resurgence in the mid 90s but their fightback was no match for Waqar Younis, on top of his game. His 11 wickets at Kandy (6 in first innings, 5 in second) helped Pakistan win the match by an innings and 52 runs. Inzamam-ul-Haq’s unbeaten century was also the highlight of the match where Basit Ali and Aamer Sohail also scored half centuries.
Wasim’s Wellington Wreck – 1994
Wasim Akram stepped down as captain after the revolt of 1994 that was led by most of the players in the side except Saleem Malik who took over the captaincy. On the tour of New Zealand, Wasim returned with vengeance, taking 11 wickets in the match, with 7/119 his best in Tests being the highlight of the second innings. An entertaining innings of 169 runs by Saeed Anwar was followed by 140 not out by skipper Saleem Malik and unbeaten 135 by Inzamam-ul-Haq and helped Pakistan win the match by an innings and 12 runs!
Mushy’s Sydney Coming – 1995
Before this Test, Mushtaq Ahmed, the leg spinner, was considered a second fiddle to the two Ws, one who was asked to bowl when Wasim and Waqar got tired. It all changed after the third and final Test of the series where Mushtaq triumphed over Shane Warne (8 wickets in the match) and finished the match with as many as 9 wickets. What was more important was the fact that after this match began Mushy’s golden period where whatever he did, won matches for Pakistan!
Too Hot To Handle – 1996
When Pakistan Cricket team left for England in 1996, they were supposed to give tough time to the hosts. Under Wasim Akram’s captaincy, they proved to be too-hot-to-handle for Atherton and his men, winning as many as 2 out of the 3 Tests. Inzamam-ul-Haq, Ijaz Ahmed, Saeed Anwar, Moin Khan and Saleem Malik finished the tour with centuries while Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Mushtaq Ahmed used their experience with English counties to keep the hosts on the backfoot.
Zimbabwe Wasim-ed! –1996
Wasim Akram was on top of his game when Zimbabwe came to Pakistan in 1996; in the first Test he ensured the match ended in a draw as he rescued Pakistan from a horrific position with his 257 not out that included the then world record 8th wicket partnership of 313 with Saqlain Mushtaq; in second Test, he finished with 10 wickets (6 wickets in the first innings, 4 in the second) to solidify his credentials as a world class all-rounder with no equal in international circuit.
Gaggu Mandi’s Zahid Takes 11 on Debut – 1996
Before there was Shoaib Akhtar, there was Mohammad Zahid who came, who saw and who took 11 wickets on his Test debut against New Zealand. In the first innings, the extremely quick Zahid combined with Mushtaq Ahmed to topple the Kiwis but in the second, he was the tormentor in chief with 7 wickets as the hosts won the match by an innings and 13 runs. Zahid’s pace and accuracy was what dreams are made of and had he not been injured, he might have had a great career for Pakistan.
Devastation at Durban – 1998
It took the combined might of 2 Pindi boys – Azhar Mahmood and Shoaib Akhtar – to get Pakistan their first win in South Africa. Aamer Sohail was leading the side in the second Test of the series in Rashid Latif's absence; in the first innings 132 of the 259 runs were scored by Azhar; Shoaib Akhtar then dismissed 5 South Africans without the help of the fielders (4 bowled, 1 leg before) to restrict the hosts to 231. Saeed Anwar's 118 ensured that the Proteas got 255 run target, which proved to be 29 runs too more for them as they fell prey to Mushtaq Ahmed's 6 wickets in the second innings and 9 wickets in the match.
When Pakistan Conquered Chennai – 1999
If there ever was a ‘Test Match of the last 20 years’ award, it would have gone to the Chennai Test where Pakistan won a battle against all odds. Saqlain Mushtaq's 10 wickets in the match (5 in each innings) were as crucial to Pakistan’s cause as Shahid Afridi's 141 and although the Match Referee Cammie Smith gave Sachin Tendulkar the Man of the Match award for his 136, Pakistan came out as the better side. Not even the 6-wicket hauls of Anil Kumble or Venkatesh Prasad were able to stop Pakistan from winning the match by 12 runs!
Shoaib Akhtar Rattles Kolkata – 1999
Shoaib Akhtar to Sachin Tendulkar… and he has bowled him! That was a career defining moment for the fastest bowler in the world who castled the best batsman on the very first delivery he faced. The first encounter of the Asian Test Championship between the two nations was won by Pakistan but not before they were reduced to 26/6 in the first session! The visitors staged a comeback through Saeed Anwar’s 188 not out despite Javagal Srinath’s 13 wickets in the match. The stadium had to be cleared after a riot in the second innings that erupted after Sachin Tendulkar was declared run out after a minor collision with that man Shoaib Akhtar who finished the match with 8 wickets, including that of Rahul ‘The Wall’ Dravid – twice.
Double Trouble at Dhaka – 1999
Pakistan and Sri Lanka reached the final of the first Asian Test Championship, which was played at a neutral venue – Dhaka. After Arshad Khan's 5 wickets saw Sri Lanka get dismissed for 231, it was left to Ijaz Ahmed and Inzamam-ul-Haq who scored 211 and 200 not out respectively in Pakistan’s only innings score of 594. Sri Lankans were dismissed for 188 in the second innings, thanks to Wasim Akram's second hat trick in as many matches, and against the same opponents!
Kaneria Bamboozles Bangladesh at Multan – 2001
It was a batting paradise where Bangladesh won the toss and elected to field; Danish Kaneria bamboozled them with his variations and ended their innings at 134, finishing with 6 wickets in the first innings. After all (Saeed Anwar, Taufeeq Umar, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Yousuf Youhana and Abdur Razzaq) but one batsmen from the top 6 scored centuries (number 3 Faisal Iqbal made 9), Bangladeshis were again bowled out for 148, leaving Pakistan with a victory by an innings and 264 runs. Danish Kaneria was declared Man of the Match for his 12 wickets on a batsmen friendly track.
Inzamam Demolishes Kiwis With 329 – 2002
Any match where the main batsman scores a triple ton runs and where the team gets dismissed for 643 runs is going to be one-sided. Thanks to Inzamam's 329 runs which remains the second highest Test score by a Pakistani (after Hanif Mohammad’s 337) and Imran Nazir's 127, Pakistan ended the second day with a huge advantage. The Kiwis couldn't survive Shoaib Akhtar's 6 wickets in the first innings as they were bowled out for 73, while in the second innings, Danish Kaneria played the destroyer-in-chief role perfectly with 5 wickets. The hosts won the match by an innings and 324 runs and the Kiwis were left wondering what they did wrong!
Inzi Saves the Day at Multan – 2003
Inzamam-ul-Haq had to prove his credentials after his failure in World Cup; he was recalled for the match against Bangladesh in Multan and not only did he prove his worth, he entered the race of the best batsman in the world with his match winning knock of 138 not out. He single handedly snatched victory from the mouth of visiting Bangladeshis who were sure of the win when they dismissed the 8th batsman at 205. Chasing 261, Inzamam managed to hit the winning runs with debutante Yasir Ali – the last man – on the other end!
Younis’ 267 Too Good To Be True – 2005
It was always going to be a smooth ride after Younis Khan and Inzamam-ul-Haq scored 324 runs for the third wicket against India in the 3rd Test at Bangalore. Pakistan had to win the match to level the series and that's exactly what they did as the visitors managed 570 runs in the first innings. Younis managed to score 267 runs in the first innings while Inzamam managed 184; Virender Sehwag replied back with 201 but Danish Kaneria's 5 wickets restricted the Indian innings to 449. Half centuries from top 3 helped Pakistan post a target of 383 to win for the hosts who could only manage 214!
Indians Krash Land in Karachi – 2006
After a disastrous opening day, Pakistan came back into the match with the help of its bowlers who were phenomenal to say the least. Thanks to Kamran Akmal's 113 and Abdur Razzaq and Shoaib Akhtar's 45 each, Pakistan was able to survive Irfan Khan's hat trick in the first over of the day. Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Asif and Abdur Razzaq shared 9 wickets to fall in the Indian innings while Faisal Iqbal's only Test century and nervous 90s from Abdur Razzaq and Mohammad Yousuf ensured Pakistan posted a humungous target on board. Chasing 607 to win, the visitors were dismissed for 265 that included hilarious dismissals of Indian batsmen including Sachin Tendulkar who had no answer to Mohammad Asif’s magic! The pacers shared 8 wickets to fall in the second innings as well while Kamran Akmal was declared Man of the Match!
The Calendar Year of Mohammad Yousuf – 2006
Mohammad Yousuf may have been dismissed for 0 in the Karachi Test but he was in phenomenal form that year as he scored 461 runs (at an average of 92.2) against the Indians at home; 631 runs (at an average of 90.14) against England in England and 665 runs (at an average of 133) against the West Indies when they toured Pakistan. His magical run saw him score as many as 1788 runs (at an average of 99.33) and he not only broke Viv Richards’ record of 1710 runs but also scored 6 centuries in 5 matches – during August and November – something even Don Bradman had not been able to do (his best was 6 centuries in 6 matches)!
Historic Win at Headingley – 2010
Before the spot fixing scandal came to fore, Pakistan was doing well in the international arena especially in Tests. Under their new skipper Salman Butt, the young team triumphed over Australia at Leeds by 3 wickets. The pace twins Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif took 3 wickets each as the famed Aussies batting line up was dismissed for 88 runs in their first innings. Pakistan managed to score 258 in their first innings while the pacers proved too good for the Aussies who managed just 349 in their second outing. Thanks to Imran Farhat's 67 and Azhar Ali's 51, Pakistan managed to reach the target of 180 runs with 3 wickets to spare.
England Paki-Stunned – 2012
Mohsin Khan’s return to Cricket pitted him against the very nation he scored a historical double century against England. He took over at a time when the team was in shambles yet in 3 Tests he shaped the destiny of Pakistan’s Cricket team. With Misbah-ul-Haq executing his instructions perfectly, Pakistan managed to beat the World Number 1 side by 3-0. Saeed Ajmal finished with as many as 24 wickets in 3 matches while Abdur Rehman wasn't far behind with 19. Azhar Ali (251), Younis Khan (193), Mohammad Hafeez (190) and Misbah-ul-Haq (180) were the leading scorers for the hosts who did nothing wrong on the tour, when in whites.
Summer of Records – 2014
Pakistan won home series against Australia in United Arab Emirates but it is the way they won the series that’s commendable. In the first innings of the first Test, Younis Khan and Sarfraz Ahmed scored tons while Misbah-ul-Haq, Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali managed half centuries; in the second it was Ahmed Shehzad who scored a century alongside Younis Khan. The spin twins Zulfiqar Babar and Yasir Shah shared 9 wickets to fall in the final innings as Pakistan won the match by 221 runs. In the next outing, Azhar Ali and Misbah managed centuries while Younis scored a double ton that was followed by century in both innings by Azhar and Misbah, again. The captain's knock was at that time the joint fastest century off 56 balls and it enabled Pakistan to post a huge target on board. Zulfiqar Babar took 5 wickets to dismantle the Aussies who lost the match by 356 runs!