Quite a few heartbeats were missed on October 26, 2015 before Pakistan’s Yasir Shah took wicket number 10 of England’s second innings to lift the spirits of the whole nation which at that time had been experiencing extremely tense moments due to the powerful earthquake that had jolted a very large part of the country at around 2 pm.
What at one moment had looked like a walkover for Pakistan when England were 193 for seven with about fifty overs to play, gradually started heading towards a nail-biting finish. The stand between Wood and Rashid took ominous dimensions before the first-named was dismissed by Babar much to the delight of his countrymen. But with only 45 balls left to play out, the match was still in balance. England’s last man Anderson had twice in the past stayed doggedly at the wicket for nearly two hours. And I remembered at least three occasions in the past when the last pair had frustrated Pakistan’s bowlers to deny them victory. Once it had happened in New Zealand against Intikhab Alam’s eleven. Once against South Africa in Lahore against such a mighty duo of fast bowlers as Wasim Akram and Waqar. And once against West Indies when Walsh had destroyed Pakistan’s celebrations. This time too the frustrated bowlers had been the two mighty. Ws.
Yasir Shah however foxed Adil Rashid into playing a stroke he would not like to remember the rest of his life. Pakistan was not denied deserved victory.
In Shakespearean words Misbah and Younus proved that age had not withered nor years blunted their infinite variety. Both sealed their place in the list of Pakistan’s immortals. Yasir Shah was truly inspiring. And Wahab produced yet again a magical spell. Babar and Imran too bowled well. And Asad Shafiq added to his stature. Hafeez didn’t disappoint either. In nutshell it was a great team performance.
Precisely why I was disappointed to hear Miandad comment that Pakistan disappointed by letting the match go into the last overs.
He had probably not known that in 1960, Australia’s last pair Mackay and Meckiff had batted for four hours to deny Frank Worrell’s team a certain victory.
Pakistan in the end did not let that happen. And credit goes to the whole team. Misbah deserves all praise for moulding his boys into a team of world –beaters.