Pakistan Conquers England at Multan in 2005. England started off as a favorite due to their much-hyped performance in the Ashes series against Australia. But an unfortunate incidental injury to their Captain Michael Vaughan dampened the spirits in the English camp. But it certainly raised hopes for the home side. Home crowd and ground were other factors that weighed heavily in Pakistan’s favor.
There were a few question marks on the final selection of the Pakistan team for the match. Shahid Afridi exclusion was a gamble and with unfit Abdul Razzaq also out. Therefore, the decision of the team management was viewed with suspicion by many experts. It was indeed a difficult one Hasan Raza was considered an automatic choice after his brilliant run of form in domestic cricket as well as in the warm matches against England But all credit to Coach Bob Woolmer and Captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, for making the correct choice.
Not many could predict the type of wicket prepared for the match, and there were reports that the Pakistani captain was unhappy at not being consulted by the curators. However, the result of the match has dispelled all fears, and batsmen and bowlers had a fair chance of showing their talent. Inzamam-ul-Haq won the toss and decided to bat first on a relatively flat pitch.
Shoaib Malik and Salman Butt opened the innings and gave their team a good start. Whereas Salman Butt was subdued in the beginning, Shoaib Malik played some fluent strokes to score 31 of the 50 Runs Scored. With the score at 80, Malik was unlucky to be adjudged leg before Andrew Flintoff. Then Vice-Captain Younis Khan joined Salman and both sailed along smoothly to take the total to 161.
Shaun Udal the oldest player in England team struck to take his first Test wicket. He forced Salman to play a careless stroke and the ball bounced off Trescothick’s cap for Keeper Geraint Jones to take a diving catch. Salman Butt made a solid 74 runs off 83 balls with 11 fours. England came back into the game after this dismissal and four wickets fell for 77 runs.
Right-hand batsman Younis Khan who was shaping well also paid for a casual shot and was out leg before Harmison for 39 runs. Muhammad Yousaf (5), Hassan Raza (0), and Kamran Akmal (28) were back in the pavilion with a score of 238. At the end of the day’s play, Pakistan labored to 244 for 6 wickets with Inzamam-ul-Haq not out at 41 and Muhammad Sami at one.
Resuming on the second day, the Pakistan innings folded after 50 minutes of play with the total at 274. The last four wickets fell for only 30 runs. Inzamam completed his half-century and was out for 53 made in 147 minutes, including 4 fours. Andrew Flintoff toiled hard on the placid track and was rewarded with 4 wickets for 68, Mathew Hoggard 2 for 55, and Steve Harmison 3 for 37.
England began their innings with Marcus Trescothick and Andrew Strauss. But Mohammad Sami struck the first blow by dismissing Strauss for 9 with a score of 18. Thereafter, Trescothick took charge and leading from the front consolidated England’s position on the second day with an unbeaten century. This was Trescothick’s 13th century in 67 Tests. Ian Bell looking to entrench himself in the playing eleven looked ominous with his fluent stroke-play.
He gave admirable support to his Captain and the two of them put on 180 runs for the second wicket. This partnership was the best so far for England, and it outstripped the previous record of 168 runs made by Dennis Amiss and Keith Fletcher at Hyderabad in the 1972-73 series. Ian Bell completed his third fifty in 9 Test appearances, justifying the faith of the team management in his abilities. He scored 71 runs in his 161 ball innings. He was out to a short leg catch off Malik.
Next man Paul Collingwood did not survive long, edging Shabbir Ahmed to Kamran Akmal to do the rest. At the end of insert day’s play, England was 253 for 3 wickets, with Trescothick unbeaten at 135. Resumption of play on the 3rd day gave Pakistan an early success and Shoaib sent Hoggard back for one.
England’s Ashes hero Kevin Pietersen, yet to find comfort with the Pakistani wickets, had to struggle for his 5 runs before being dismissed by Kaneria. However, another icon, Andrew Flintoff fared better but failed to play his characteristic innings. After playing well-timed strokes, he was out just before lunch for 45. However, on the other end, Trescothick continued to cross personal milestones. He was unlucky to be out for 193 runs off Shabbir off 305 balls, including 20 fours and 2 sixes.
But during this process, he became the second-highest scorer for England in Pakistan. Ted Dexter is the highest scorer with 205 runs made in Karachi during the 1961-62 tour. This was also his highest score overseas, overtaking 180 runs he made in South Africa last winter. The visitors were all out for 418, which gave them a lead of 144 runs. Shabbir Ahmed the lanky paceman took 4 wickets for 54 runs and Shoaib Akhtar bowled admirably to take 3 for 99 in 27 overs.
At the draw of stumps on the 3rd day, Pakistan batsmen had wiped off 125 runs but lost Malik (18) and Younis (48). Younis who was playing sensibly suddenly lost concentration in the closing stages of the game and edged Andrew Flintoff to Marcus Trescothick in the slips. The fourth day provided some very exciting cricket. Pakistani opener Salman Butt showed his potential as an opening batsman and made his 122 off 256 balls with 12 fours.
Like first innings, he again got associated with Inzamamul Haq 72 off 147 balls with 8 fours, and together they defied English bowlers to such an extent that they helped Pakistan to pile up 341 runs, thus gaining a crucial 198 runs lead over England. The other major contribution was Kamran Akmal 33 and Shoaib Akhtar not out 11.
Andrew Flintoff was again in the limelight with a useful bowling performance. He took 4 for 88 in 25 overs, which gave the visitors a fair chance to win the match. When the play ended on the fourth day, England had lost the important wicket of Trescothick to Shabbir for 5 runs only. Ian Bell and Andrew Strauss saw the day off at 24 runs on the board, and England required only 174 to win on the final day.
With the match evenly poised England looked dangerous when the score reached 67 for one. Bell and Strauss were batting well, but Danish Kaneria turned the tables on England when he had both batsmen out in one over. Soon a collapse followed with six wickets down for only 101 runs.
Muhammad Sami and Shoaib were also among wickets and there was panic in the English camp. Then it was the turn of Pakistan to get worried when Gerraint Jones and Shaun Udal got together to take the score to 166. But Shoaib broke through the defense of Jones and Kaneria googled Udal to mop up the tail.
Pakistan achieved a memorable victory which will go down in history as the one in which Trescothick got his highest Test score, Shoaib Akhtar got his 150 wickets and Shabbir Ahmed got his 50 Test wickets. Shoaib Akhtar took 3 for 49, Shabbir Ahmad 1 for 25, Danish Kaneria 4 for 62, and Muhammad Sami 2 for 31. The scorecard at Cricinfo.