Pakistan v Afghanistan at Sharjah, Only ODI

Pakistan.

Let’s talk about Pakistan.

I was planning on making this one, long post. But writing about the entire cricketing history of a test playing nation is a fool’s errand. So much would have to be omitted that the flavor of the country’s history would be diluted; the poetry and the magic would be gone. So I am going to split this up into multiple posts. Their test history, their ground history, their one day history…etc.

Today we go back to where it all started: Independence, and the first Test series against India, in India.

The country itself was conceived in the 1930s by the Muslim League, who wanted to create a Muslim state within India. This led to the Lahore Resolution in 1940, which called for a more active role for Muslims in British India.

In 1947, the British left. And an agreement between the Sikhs in the South and the Muslims in the left created what is now known as Pakistan: the country was officially established on August the 14, 1947.

Millions of Muslims streamed North. Millions of Sikhs streamed South.

War broke out in 1948 over Kashmir. Over 5,000 Indians and Pakistanis were killed in the conflict.  It was the first of four short wars between the two nations over the region.

Four years later, the two nations faced each other not on the rocky foothills of the Pir Panjal mountain range, but on a cricket field: specifically, a Test match in Delhi at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground.

Cricket has been played at the ground since 1883, and it hosted its first Test match in 1948, and continues to host them to this day, despite an ODI in 2009 being abandoned due to a dangerous pitch.

It seats 48,000, is home to the IPL’s Delhi Daredevils, and is famously known as the preferred haunt of leg spinner, Anil Kumble, who took 63 wickets there in 11 matches, including a 10-fer there in a test match in 1999 – one of only two bowlers in the history of test cricket to take all 10 wickets in an innings.

But I digress.

The first Test match between India and Pakistan ended disappointingly for the visitors, as India won by an innings and 70 runs. The match lasted only three days after India won the toss and put Pakistan in the field. The hosts went on on to score 372, and then scuttled Pakistan for 150 all out and 152 all out.

The highest score in that match for Pakistan was a 52 from Hanif Mohammad. He also famously played the longest Test innings in history in 1957 in Bridgetown against the West Indies: 970 minutes. 16 hours at the crease.

(In case you have failed to notice, my jaw still drops when I think about long stints of batting.)

Pakistan, however, won the second match of the series at the University Ground in Lucknow.

India were bowled out in the first innings for 106 thanks to five wickets from Fazal Mahmood, while Nazar Mohammad scored Pakistan’s first test cricket century: 124 not out. He carried his bat too and was out there batting for almost nine hours: leading his team to a respectable total of 331.

In India’s second innings, Mahmood took another seven wickets, and the hosts were all out for 182.

Pakistan won the match by an innings and 43 runs.

India won the third test by 10 wickets, and the final two matches ended in draws, so India won the series 2-1. But the match in Lucknow will long surely be remembered by Pakistani cricket fans the world over.

Interesting side note: the match at Lucknow’s University Ground in October of 1952 was the only international match ever played there.

***************************************************************

Back on the pitch:

Last night Australia defeated Sri Lanka by five runs at the WACA in Perth; while in Sharjah Pakistan (hey!) are chasing Afghanistan’s respectable total of 198 in their only One Day International.

I am off to follow the chase.

Until next time.

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