Gavaskar's last test and Kapil Dev sent him out for
the toss. It was a befitting gesture to bid
farewell to a legend.
Imran won the toss and decided to bat first. In the
first session itself, it was noticed that the ball
was playing all kinds of tricks. The bounce being
uneven, the spinners could purchase big turn by
rolling the ball with their fingers without the use
of their wrist. It was a dream wicket for the
spinners, emphasized by the fact that 35 out of the
40 wickets were taken by the slow bowlers.
India was given a good start by the seamers. Kapil
took the first two wickets, those of
Rizwan-uz-Zaman for zero and Rameez Raja for 39. It
was very difficult to score runs, and the batsmen
needed to be patient.
The next hurdle for the Pakistani batsmen was the
spinners. The introduction of Maninder Singh kept
the batsmen on their toes. His variation and turn
kept them guessing, and they slumped to 74 for 8.
They finished with a score of 116, with the
tail-enders throwing their bat around. Maninder
finished with career-best figures of 18.2-8-27-7.
Imran Khan had set a defensive field for the
openers, Gavaskar and Srikkanth, and the runs were
flowing in singles. Then came the Pakistani
spinners and dropped the run rate drastically. The
next 25 overs yielded only 25 runs.
The pressure of not getting the ball away
ultimately won over the experience of Gavaskar and
Srikanth and both were bowled by Tauseef. Qasim was
not as lethal as Tauseef, but more accurate. He
conceded a miserly 13 runs of 14 overs, which put
tremendous pressure on the batsmen.
Then followed the great Indian collapse with
wickets falling at regular intervals. Vengsarkar
was the only one who showed some mettle with a
gutsy 50. He played with controlled aggression,
mixing caution and attack beautifully. After the
fall of his wicket, the Indian innings folded up
within 19 runs for 145.
Qasim and Tauseef had all the skills to take
advantage of the track. They shared the burden,
bowling a total of 57 overs of the total 64 overs
bowled by Pakistan.
In the second innings, Miandad opened with Rameez.
They played the Indian attack confidently and with
lot of determination. All the Pakistani batsmen
followed the same and chipped in with 30s and 40s
and took the score to a respectable 249.
India, set a target of 221, had to bring all their
experience into play. Though not a very stiff
target, the situation demanded immense
concentration and the eschewing of flashy strokes.
However they lost two wickets very quickly in the
form of Srikkanth and Mohinder Amarnath. Wasim
Akram played spoilsport. Vengsarkar was greeted
with a loud bat-pad appeal that was turned down by
umpire R.B. Gupta. He was playing well before
Tauseef gulped him. India lost Kiran More before
It rained on the rest day but the pitch wasn't
affected. Gavaskar and Azharuddin batted well the
next day and the Indians felt assured, but a twist
was waiting round the corner. Azharuddin was
brilliantly caught and bowled by Qasim. Gavaskar
changed gears with Shastri's arrival, who did not
last long. Nor did Kapil Dev. India were 161 for 7,
needing 60 more to win.
Binny, who came in next, batted superbly and
together with Gavaskar took the score to 189. Then
the Gods smiled on Pakistan and Gavaskar fell for a
masterly 96 to a dubious decision.
India could have had the last laugh had the little
master batted with greater urgency while making his
96 runs. But that was not to happen and Pakistan
ran home with India falling short by 16 runs.
An Indo-Pak encounter is always a high-pressure
drama and this was no exception. There were lots of
umpiring errors, tantrums from the players,
accusations of bias on the umpires and
finger-pointing. The pressure was not only too much
to handle for the players but also for the umpires
who succumbed to some irrelevant appeals.
All said and done, the match will be remembered for
Imran's astute and inspired leadership and
Gavaskar's brilliant batting display.