Pakistan in Sri Lanka 1975 – Dispelling Some Notions
Any belief that pundits had that Sri Lanka cricket is second-rate in comparison to what other great nations have achieved cricket-wise, must be dispelled forth-with after their performance against India and Pakistan. After a close series in India in the latter half of 1975, with the balance t ting this way anti the other, the cricketers (ruin the sunny isle took on the mighty Pakistanis on home wickets.
True, both India and Pakistan were never really at full strength when they met the lads from Sri Lanka in unofficial four-day ‘Tests’, but that is no fault of the Ceylonese. Both the Indian and Pakistan cricket Boards took the risk of not pitting their best against Sri Lanka, not because they wanted to see their friendliest neighbor endowed with full Test status, but because they were in the process of team-building for their own benefit.
After the first ‘Test’ at Hyderabad, big names in Indian cricket as Gavaskar, Chandrasekhar, and Prasanna were left in ‘cold storage:’ How well Sri Lanka grasped the opportunity when they had the Indians on the run with two cliff-hanger decisions that might have gone in favor of the Ceylonese with a bit of luck.
So it was with the Pakistanis when they risked their reputation without regular stars like the mercurial Majid Khan, Asif Iqbal, the dogged Muhammad brothers, Mushtaq Muhammad and Sadiq Muhammad, and Nasir Malik for the tour of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka cricket on the eve of being admitted to the ICC as a full member is now in the box seat by squaring the series one-all and showing an overwhelmingly superior attitude in `instant cricket’ humbling the Pakistanis in both the eight-ball 40-over `Internationals’’
For skipper Intikhab Alam and his men, it was a depressing and disappointing tour almost ending up as a fiasco. But thanks to good judgment prevailing in the Ministry of Sports and the Board of Control, the Pakistanis left the shores eventually as the best of friends.
On the face of what happened in the first ‘Test’ at the Colombo Oval, when they were beaten well and truly by four wickets, it is difficult to pass judgment on the Pakistan fast bowlers Sarfraz Nawaz, Asif Masood and Oxford “blue” Imran Khan. I personally think that Sri Lanka has teething problems when it comes to competitive Test cricket in taking objections to the antics of Nawaz, Masood, and Khan, the so-called offenders.
In the melee that preceded the visitor’s first `Test’ defeat, some unprecedented things happened on the fourth and last day’s play. In the two-hour session of play between the start and lunch, only seven eight-ball avers were howled. So one could imagine the rumpus that took place. An overdose of bouncers went helter-skelter, sometimes dangerously close to defense-less batsmen. This type of intimidator bowling of short-pitched bumpers, no doubt, aroused the anger of the spectators and a barrage of continuous booing interrupted play.
The spectators, being naturally partisan, objected vehemently ally to this time-wasting tactic which they thought was done on purpose to drag the match to a draw. Nothing could be farther from the truth for no pace man running 30 yards for each delivery in the boiling sun, would like to bowl indefinitely.
The real reason for the plethora of no-balls hurled by Sarfraz Nawaz, Asif Masood, and Khan which often extended an over’s to 12 balls was that the bowling crease was overleaf clearly marked being continuously rubbed off as a result of the bowler trampling it. It was allged that Sarfraz Nawaz in particular was most abusive to the umpire and the batsman and the unsavory incident that followed in the revealing of Nawaz to Pakistan sparked off much ill-feeling.
At Kandy in the next match, Sarfraz Nawaz was almost unplayable with of course the use of the usual bouncer when he dispatched five of the best Board XI batsman in a sustained spell of fast bowling. But on the third day when the match was taking an interesting turn, Sarfraz Nawaz was absent from the field, orders by then had come from the highest source in Islamabad and the disgruntled Nawaz was dispatched to Colombo by car on the first leg of unfortunately journey back home.
In the 2nd unofficial Test at the Colombo Cricket Club ground, Maitland- Crescent, the Pakistanis played like the great cricketers they are without having to, resort to art excess of bouncers or even no-balls, and how well they acquitted even without their most dynamic weapon Nawar to win the match and halve the series by four wickets Sri Lank-a must not be carried away with their superb performance against Pakistan as things are altogether not in their camp.
Some quarters were of the opinion that skipper Anura Tennekoon was not the best leader on the island. Per I think this is unfair because, with the limited resources at hand, Tennekoon did a magnificent job. One thing is certain: if Sri Lanka is to be admitted to the portals of international cricket, they must search the vaults for at least two more seamers to partner Tony Opatha, one of Sri Lanka’s ablest all-rounders, and this must be done quickly Lalith Kaluperuma proved to be a batsman of the highest class, in addition to his classy close-in fielding and his off-spin bowling.
Kaluperuma’s 97 in the first Test against a bumper barrage talks highly of his guts and determination. Brief Scored Cards: I. Vs Sri Lanka Board XI: Pak 315 for 4 declared. (Shafiq Ahmed 94, Zaheer Abbas 84, Haroon Rashid 66), SLB XI: 145 J. Woutersz 35, Naeem Ahmed 6-46) and 144 for 5 wickets (W Warnapura 65). Match drawn.
Vs Sri Lanka, first `Test’ at Colombo Oval: Pak 175 Imran Khan 46, Wasim Bari 37, Tony Opatha 3-58, D. S. De Silva 3-33) and 202 (S. Ahmed 77, M. Nazar 42, Javed Miandad 41, D. S. De Silva 5-69, Kaluperuma 3-37). Sri Lanka 190 (Kaluperuma 96, Sarfraz Nawaz 3-S2, Imran Khan 3-26) and 188 for 6′ (Kaluperuma 50, Imran Khan 3-28). Sri Lanka won the Match by 4 wickets
Vs Sri Lanka Board XI: Pak 455 for 8 declared: (Mudassar Nazar 80, Wasim Raja 71, Javed Miandad 131, Haroon Rashid 102, R. Abeynaike 6-131) and 81 for 3 (Zahir 38, M. Nazar 33). SLB XI: 172 (David Heyn 40, Ranasinghe 59, S. Nawaz 5-45) and 363 G. Woutersz 100, A. Ranasinghe 70,R. Dias 74, Alam , 4-94). Pakistan won the match by 7 wickets.
Vs Sri Lanka, second ‘Test’ at C.C.C. ground: Pak 279 (S. Ahmed 122, Zaheer Abbas 30, D. S. De Silva 3-105, Kaluperuma 3 for 55 and 196 for 6 (Zaheer Abbas 81, A. De Silva 4 for 61). SL 212 Runs. (Fernando 40, Tennekoon 78, Intikhab Alam 5 for 58 and Imran Khan 3 for 82) and 262 (Kaluperuma 41, Imran Khan 4 for 67). Pakistan won the match by 4 wickets.
Pakistan vs Sri Lanka 40-overs One day game: Pakistan 114 runs, Intikhab Alam 26. Sri Lanka 117 for 8 wickets. Dulip Mendis 30, Imran Khan 3 for 23. Sri Lanka won the match by 2 wickets.