Dubai: Mohammad Asif, the prodigal son of Pakistan cricket, recalled it was some express fast bowling from Shoaib Akhtar and resolute batting in the second innings which had the hosts clinching victory from the jaws of defeat against India in the third and deciding Test match in Karachi in 2006.
The first two Tests in Multan and Faisalabad were high-scoring draws and the series decider was played at the National Stadium in Karachi from January 29 to February 1.
Speaking on a Pakistan TV show ‘The Burgerz’, Asif - whose talents in making the ball talk is still rated highly till he was banned in 2010 for the spot-fixing scandal in England - said it took a remarkable turnaround from Pakistan to recover from their setback in the first innings which saw young fast bowler Irfan Pathan take a hat-trick in the very first over of the match.
“If you remember the Indian team that came to Pakistan in 2006, they had a solid batting line-up. (Rahul) Dravid was scoring plenty of runs, (Virender) Sehwag smashed us at Multan. During the Faisalabad Test, both teams scored 600 runs each. We were a bit worried as their batting line-up was deep, MS Dhoni was batting at number seven or eight,” Asif recalled.
The Indians were playing on the backfoot and we didn’t allow them to score even 240 in the first innings. We snatched victory from jaws of defeat
In the third and final Test, Pakistan were bowled out for 245 in the first innings, where a century from Kamran Akmal (113) which helped them post a respectable first-innings total to withstand the initial shock of Pathan’s hat-trick. However, they came out with a splendid bowling performance as they bundled India to 238. owli
“When the match started, Irfan Pathan claimed a hat-trick in the first over itself. Our morale was down. Kamran Akmal scored a century lower down the order. We scored around 240 runs,” said Asif.
In the second innings, Pakistan posted a mammoth 599 for seven, riding on the superb century from Faisal Iqbal (139) and went on win the match by 341 runs as they bundled out India for 265 in the final innings.
“When we started bowling, Shoaib Akhtar bowled at express pace in that match. I was standing at square leg near the umpire and I myself saw that Tendulkar closed his eyes while facing one or two bouncers bowled by Shoaib.
“The Indians were playing on the backfoot and we didn’t allow them to score even 240 in the first innings. We snatched victory from jaws of defeat,” he added.