Fifth Test Match


Pakistan won by 16 runs to record their first series win in India, their seventh Test win against India, and only their third victory in any series outside Pakistan. The behaviour of the pitch, so encouraging to spin bowling, provided a match of riveting theatre, although both captains had anticipated seaming conditions: India had included Binny for Gopal Sharma and Pakistan preferred Saleem Jaffer to Qadir. Miandad and Tauseef were again fit.

Batting first after winning the toss, Pakistan responded to panic induced by the turning ball with extravagant strokeplay that was not so much bold as foolish. Maninder, despite mixing the bad with the good, returned career-best figures of seven of 27, including a spell of four wickets in thirteen balls. Pakistan tumbled to their lowest score against India. The home side, in turn, were made to struggle, but Vengsarkar attained the right level of aggression, hitting a six and seven fours, to place India in a splendid position at 119 for four. His first misjudgment in lofting the ball opened the way for Pakistan's counter-attack. On a wicket getting worse by the hour, the Indian batsmen followed the example of their Pakistani counterparts and a lead of 29 was all that eventuated. Iqbal Qasim, who had joined the touring party in February and Tauseef split the spoils.

The lead was erased by Imran's shrewd move in sending Miandad out to open with Ramiz, but Kapil was not so astute in keeping Maninder on when it became apparent that he was not bowling as effectively as he had in the first innings.

India's cause was not helped when they lost Srikkanth and Amarnanth to successive balls and Vengsarkar was bowled on the eve of the rest day. But on the fourth day, on a pitch which allowed even an off-spinner to bowl bouncers, Gavaskar gave a masterly exhibition of technique and judgement. Only when he was out, having batted 5 hours 23 minutes and faced 266 balls for his 96, caught at slip off a ball that kicked off a good length, could Pakistan assume victory. A late chancey charge by Binney cut the margin to 16, leaving India to consider what might have been had Kapil Dev and Shastri been able to resist the rush of blood that cost them their wickets.

© John Wisden & Co