Pakistan stutter to landmark win
Pakistan secured their first Test win against Australia in 15 years by nervously knocking off the 40 runs they required on the fourth morning of their second MCC Spirit of Cricket Test at Headingley Carnegie.
Pakistan’s breakthrough win had looked like a mere formality at the start of the day, when they resumed at 140 for three, but they conspired to lose four wickets in an unexpectedly tense finale.
Australia sensed the chance for a remarkable victory, after they had been bowled out for just 88 on the opening day.
But, in the end, Pakistan stumbled across the line, with Kamran Akmal's 13 never more vital, to help secure a three-wicket win and level the two-Test series at 1-1.
Umar Gul finally sealed the win with an uppish cover drive, that Australia skipper Ricky Ponting almost got a hand to, for a single that prompted jubilant celebrations amongst the Paksitan players.
It was also a dream start for new skipper Salman Butt who was was hastily promoted into the role after Shahid Afridi’s shock resignation, and retirement from Test cricket, immediately after the 150-run defeat at Lord’s last week.
Australia had set a teasing chase of 180 yesterday, but Pakistan had looked on course after Imran Farhat and Azhar Ali combined in a stand of 110 for the second wicket.
While Farhat was out for 67 late last night Azhar, in just his second Test, began the day with the chance to sew up victory alongside Umar Akmal, but both were out for the addition of just 10 runs.
Azhar cut Doug Bollinger to the boundary to bring up his maiden Test half-century in the second over, but he then feathered the next ball through to wicketkeeper Tim Paine.
There were understandably a few nerves in the Pakistan camp with Umar then edging Ben Hilfenhaus just wide of second slip for four, before a finer edge flew through to Paine to leave his side needing 30 with five wickets in hand.
Kamran had not scored when he survived a big shout for caught behind and then lbw from Bollinger but umpire Rudi Koertzen, in his 108th and last Test match, correctly turned down both appeals.
Shoaib Malik was then dropped by Michael Clarke at second slip, who was standing in place of Ricky Ponting because of an injury he suffered while batting, to add to the building drama.
Malik loosened the shackles with a couple of nudges to leg he progressed to 10 before he was brilliantly caught by Marcus North at short cover after perfectly timing a drive, leaving Pakistan needing 19 with four wickets in hand.
Kamran eased the nerves with a couple of boundaries, although Australia thought they had him five short of the target when Mike Hussey claimed a catch at gully.
The video umpire ruled Kamran was not out and, when Mohammad Aamer edged Hilfenhaus for four in the next over, the scores were level.
Kamran’s 13 had proved crucial but he too was unable to see his side hime as he cut Johnson to Hussey at gully.
Gul finally finished the morning of drama when he drove Johnson for a single and end a run of 13 successive Test defeats against Australia.