Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Pakistan to Manchester

Manchester was home for me between 2009 and 2011 and while I spent two magnificent years in the city, I was quite disappointed when England did not schedule a test, or for that matter neither an ODI or a T20I, at Old Trafford during Pakistan's tour in 2010.

I did manage to watch a couple of T20 games between England and Australia at Old Trafford and also made my way down to London on the weekends to catch a few days play at Lords and Oval in 2010, I feel like I missed out not watching Pakistan play in Manchester during my two years there.

Pakistan have pretty good memories associated with Manchester, however with mixed results.


The test played there in 1992 is fondly remembered because of Aamer Sohail's belligerent knock of 205. It was an unbelievable knock that came in very quick time with the Pakistan opener posting a double century that included 32 hits to the fence.

Despite that fabulous knock and a 5 wicket haul from Wasim Akram, rain robbed Pakistan of time to press for a win and the match ended in a draw.


In 1996, there was no test at Old Trafford, but Pakistan returned to the venue in 2001 for the final test of a 2-test series after being comprehensively beaten in the first test. Pakistan needed to win the test to maintain their undefeated run in England that stretched back 14 years to 1987.

Looking to maintain their record on England soil, Pakistan posted 400 in the first innings on the back of a classic century by Inzamam Ul Haq who was well supported by Younis Khan (65) and Rashid Latif (71). England's response was emphatic with both Vaughan and Thorpe posting centuries, however once their 267 run partnership was broken, Saqlain and Razzaq combined to send England's next 7 wickets crashing for 75 runs giving Pakistan a 50 run lead.

Another Inzamam classic innings of 85 in the second innings helped Pakistan set an improbably 370 run target, which proved too much for England, even though Trescothick (117) and Atherton (51) set up the chase with a 146 run opening partnership.

Not many teams lose tests after three of their batsmen score centuries, but the two Ws along with Saqlain and Razzaq were a handful for the remaining batsmen.


Pakistan returned to Manchester in 2006 with the series level 0-0 after a draw in the first test. Unlike the tests in 1992 and 2001, which went the distance into the final session of day 5, England finished the game inside 3 days in 2006.

Rather, it was Steve Harmison and Monty Panesar who dashed Pakistani hopes at Old Trafford. The two combined to take 19 Pakistani wickets, which would have been all 20 had Danish Kaneria not run himself out to give England a win by an innings.


Much like 1992, Pakistan will reach Manchester 1-0 up in the series. Back then they had also won the previous test at Lord's. While Manchester's weather is always unpredictable and typical overcast conditions will create seaming conditions, the word is that Old Trafford has become quite a batsman friendly pitch in recent years.

There are also whispers of the pitch suiting Yasir Shah more than the one at Lord's, which will prove to be quite dangerous for England's batsmen.

England have already strengthened their squad by recalling Anderson, Stokes, and Rashid. They are contemplating playing two spinners; whatever XI they pick for Old Trafford, Pakistan will face a much tougher challenge in this test from a hurt English team. But have no doubt that Pakistan will be ready.

It is still arguable whether this is Pakistan's strongest team team or not, however what is clear is that this Pakistan team mean serious business.

They are well prepared, more than any Pakistani outfit before them; they are hungry for success; they are determined to prove their detractors wrong; they are motivated to bring honors to the green and white flag; and they can't wait to bring out the push ups and the salute once again.

Make your pitch on this post...

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  1. Unknown said...

    This was the best moment ever when Pakistan defeated England in first Investec Test at Lords. Yasir Shah got close to beating world record of fastest Cricketer taking 100 test wickets and Misbah scored a hundred. I hope they can win this Test series, and make some new records. Good Luck Pakistan cricket team.

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