Ahead of England’s first Test series in Pakistan in 17 years, Sky Sports Cricket’s Nasser Hussain recalls winning in the gloom of Karachi in December 2000…
Our 1-0 win over Pakistan in 2000 was so special because it came out of nowhere.
Everyone assumed that the three tests would be drawn and some journalists had already written it off as « a boring series ».
A 0-0 scoreline looked on the cards heading into the final day of the Third Test, which Pakistan started 71-3, leading us by 88 points.
But in this type of situation, the third inning of a Test can become an absolute nightmare for the side hitter because you don’t know whether to stick or twist – and once we’ve taken a few wickets, I felt we had a chance.
The Pakistani players are heroes to their fans, but we felt they might crumble under a bit of pressure, and that’s what happened as we beat them for 158, with Darren Gough and Ashley Giles both taking three wickets, leaving us 176 to chase in under 50 overs.
We had absolutely nothing to lose, plus we had the luxury of knowing that we could really go with the bat because if we got in trouble we would always have the option of claiming a bad light and walking away with a game. bad.
I told Michael Atherton that I was going to promote some of the day boys like Graeme Hick to order to have a party, but he told me where to go and he was absolutely right too!
He was in a magnificent moniker – he had a strike rate of around 78, as he’ll happily tell you – and got us off to a great start.
We all knew the light could be an issue and by the end of our chase it was absolutely dark in the middle. It was quite laughable really.
I remember Inzamam-ul-Haq running one way in the outfield as the ball was going in the completely opposite direction! It was so hard.
These days, we would never have finished that game because the refs would have set a baseline reading a few days earlier that would have started around 4 p.m.
Steve Bucknor was one of the referees that day.
He was someone who liked to be in charge and you weren’t trying to wrap things up, so when Pakistan started complaining about the light – like any field team including us would have – and started to slow things down, he had a few words with their captain, Moin Khan.
Bucknor was adamant that the game was going to be over, which my batting partner on the other end, Graham Thorpe, found hilarious, and he duly hurt Moin about it.
Having Thorpey – the little master – there at the end calmed me down. We were always confident when he was there because he was a man for pressure situations and a fantastic player.
The moment he hit the winning runs was one of the highlights of my career. I’m sure it’s also one of his. There were some pretty emotional scenes as we made our way to the locker room.
It had been a long time since the last Pakistan tour and we had bridges to build after Shakoor Rana’s incident with Mike Gatting in 1987.
We had great team spirit on this trip and felt good having played quality cricket before the series, beating West Indies for the first time in 31 years.
I remember the song from our tour was one of our coach Duncan Fletcher’s favorites: “Who Let the Dogs Out?
Duncan’s influence in this series was enormous, on spin gaming, in particular.
He was also quite a defensive coach, which was perfect for this tour. The team we had was never going to win the series 3-0. We had to sit down and be patient.
It will be completely different this time around with Brendon McCullum saying the aggressive cricket that served England so well during this year’s home summer will once again be the model in Pakistan.
I still think Joe Root’s ability to bat long will be crucial, something he was excellent at in Sri Lanka and India a few years ago.
It’s going to be a fascinating series.
Matches between Pakistan and England
- First test, Rawalpindi (1-5 December) – Start at 5am, ramp up from 4.30am on Sky Sports Cricket
- Second test, Multan (9-13 December) – Start at 5am, ramp up from 4.30am on Sky Sports Cricket
- Third test, Karachi (December 17-21) – Start at 5am, ramp up from 4.30am on Sky Sports Cricket
England test squad for Pakistan series
Ben Stokes (captain), Rehan Ahmed, James Anderson, Harry Brook, Zak Crawley, Ben Duckett, Ben Foakes, Will Jacks, Keaton Jennings, Jack Leach, Liam Livingstone, Jamie Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Joe Root, Mark Wood .
Watch England’s three Test series in Pakistan live on Sky Sports Cricket. Coverage of the opening match begins at 4.30am Thursday before a 5am start in Rawalpindi.