The big steal
A flashback to 15 years ago, when Pakistan famously put one over Australia in Karachi
A flashback to 15 years ago, when Pakistan famously put one over Australia in Karachi
Pakistan 256 (Anwar 85) and 315 for 9 (Anwar 77, Inzamam 58*, Warne 5-89) beat Australia 337 (Bevan 82, S Waugh 73) and 232 (Boon 114, Akram 5-63) by 1 wicket
Dickie Bird called it the best Test he stood in. For five long days, under the baking sun, Pakistan and Australia slugged it out, trying to come to grips with the many ebbs and flows in the game. Amid all the on-field drama, there was dressing-room intrigue as well: Pakistan captain Saleem Malik was alleged to have offered bribes to a couple of Aussies to fix the Test. Regardless, the tempo never faltered and it went down to the wire.
The pitch had been laid just six weeks prior to the Test. Michael Bevan, making his debut, helped Australia recover from 95 for 4 to post a competitive 337.
David Boon, Australia opening batsman On each of the occasions I have played at Karachi the wicket was spinner-friendly. This particular one was no different. Steve, Michael and Ian [Waugh, Bevan, Healy] all batted extremely well with a positive attitude.
Ian Healy, Australia wicketkeeper Before the Karachi Test I wrote, "Going to have a dirty big go here - won't be easy." This, of course, was a return to the scene of my Test debut, and I was determined to make up for that defeat.
Saeed Anwar provided the initial thrust for Pakistan, but they couldn't sustain it and ended up conceding an 81-run lead. Mark Taylor made a pair, but Australia seemed to have gained the upper hand thanks to a century from Boon, but there were the two Ws to be reckoned with.
Healy By late on the third afternoon we were 171 for 2, a lead of 252. There was hardly any time left, and I started to pack up my gear, but Warney [Shane Warne] saw me and quipped, "Geez Heals, you wouldn't want a couple of wickets to fall."
I just laughed. Seven balls later, I was out there, after Pakistan's awesome pace duo, Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram, blasted out Junior [Mark Waugh], then Bevo, then Tugga [Steve Waugh]. I was in such a rush I forgot the inside thigh pad for my back leg - and we all know where the first ball I faced was going to hit me.
Tim May, Australia offspinner I can remember the old ball swinging all over the place at good pace - it was almost impossible to survive for too long.
Inzamam ul Haq, Pakistan middle-order batsman One of the turning points of the game was when Waqar got Mark Waugh clean bowled and then Wasim bhai did his job with the old ball and restricted Australia from taking away the game.
Boon Wasim and Waqar were definitely two of the best bowlers in the world at that time, both with the new and old balls. My personal plan was to play each ball on its merit and bat as long as I could in partnerships to create a total that would allow us the opportunity to win.
Australia finished on 232. Pakistan had five sessions in which to get their 314. At the end of day four they were 155 for 3.
May The game was pretty much in the balance at that stage, but we were confident of victory. I think that we just had a meal in one of the hotel restaurants and then went back to our rooms - that was pretty much the standard routine when touring Pakistan in those days.
Boon The game was in the balance at all times because of the nature of the pitch. At every stage we believed we could take wickets in quick succession.
Inzamam A target of 315 was big enough and quite difficult. It was a question of partnerships. We had planned for short partnerships, but it was proving to be difficult for our batsmen.
There was more drama on the fourth evening. That was when Saleem Malik allegedly made his infamous telephone call to Shane Warne and Mark Waugh, offering them money to play badly.
May Probably the only thing running through my head was, "Wow, match-fixing in cricket really does occur?" We all had had suspicions, but we just couldn't believe that it actually happened. As regards deciding what to do: it simply was not in our culture or our team ethic to accept such offers. It was rejected straightaway.
Healy If he and May bowled badly, and Pakistan won, there would be US$200,000 for each of them, Shane was told. Warney came back to Maysie, his room-mate, and told him what had just happened, and Maysie replied, "I hope you told him where to go." But Warney was so stunned, he hadn't said anything.
On the final morning Australia woke up to other problems. May had a crick in his neck and Glenn McGrath a hamstring injury. Still, they had Shane Warne.
Inzamam Warne bowled really well throughout the match, especially on the last day, when he was alone.
Boon The optimism and desire we had to win was really big. The whole team including the captain kept as calm as we could. We believed that if we maintained our self-belief, that if we kept doing the basics and creating opportunities, we could win.
Healy We started brilliantly, with Warney causing problems with his flipper. He quickly took three wickets, [Jo] Angel chipped in with the key scalp of the Pakistan captain [Malik], and at 184 for 7 it looked as if a rare Australian victory in Pakistan was about to occur.
Inzamam was fast running out of partners, and the Aussies smelt a win, but Pakistan refused to give up.
Rashid Latif, Pakistan wicketkeeper The wicket took a lot of turn on the last two days. Warne and May were always going to be the danger men. We lost early wickets on the final morning, and Warne had found his groove very early. I walked in with a bit of fever, and the first 30 minutes were quite difficult.
Surprisingly Taylor asked for the new ball, and that turned into a sort of advantage for us. I managed to hit a few boundaries off Angel and Steve Waugh, and all that pressure that had built up was released. It suddenly seemed that the wicket had turned into a batter-friendly one. Before I was trapped by Steve Waugh, I managed to make 35 of the 52-run eighth-wicket partnership.
Waqar made only 7 before he followed Latif. Inzamam only had Mushtaq Ahmed for company and 56 runs to get.
Latif We knew that Mushy would support Inzamam, but our belief was not so strong that we would actually go on to win the Test. Inzy never spoke much and was completely concentrating on the job at hand. Especially admirable was the way he handled Warne, whom he tried playing mostly on the back foot. He also made sure he shielded the batsman at the other end.
Inzamam When I was left with Mush, my only aim was to take as much of the strike as possible. After five-odd overs I realised Mush was playing the ball well, so we started rotating the strike instead. After we lost nine wickets we still needed about 55 runs for victory. In a way, finding ourselves steadily inching closer to the target put more pressure on us.
May He [Inzy] was just a cool-headed bloke.
It came down to three needed. That was when Healy blew it.
Healy From round the wicket Warney bowled a beauty and Inzamam, I'll never forget it, went to work it through the leg side, his feet came together, and the ball spun through him, between bat and pad. I thought it was going to bowl him and got a bit stiff with my gloves and body - if your eyes don't stay with the ball as it spins past the bat, you are in trouble. The height wasn't a problem, but my glove didn't move to the ball, so when it missed the off stump it buzzed low between my legs and down to the boundary. Four byes! It wasn't an easy stumping but I should have made it, especially in that pressure situation. I couldn't believe it. While my team-mates choked on appeals and held their heads, in total despair I kicked over the stumps.
Inzamam They took out the midwicket trying to tempt me to step out and hit through that region. I tried to do exactly that, but completely missed the ball.
Latif The ball pitched on leg, Inzy moved forward, played and missed, and the ball turned and moved towards the blind area of the wicketkeeper. And since the ball kept low it was very difficult for Healy to attempt the stumping.
The 57-run last-wicket stand sealed it for the hosts and put them 1-0 up in the series.
May Just one of those things that happens in cricket I suppose. As a partnership progresses, the more frustrated and desperate you become. You win some and you lose some.
Boon Heals felt terrible, but in no way could he be held responsible. The last-wicket partnership between Inzy and Mushy won it for Pakistan. They just batted well, and we couldn't create the opportunities.
Ian Healy quotes from Hands and Heals, HarperSports, 2000. Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo. This article was first published in the print version of Cricinfo Magazine
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