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Pakistan and Australia play out the slowest day in Test history

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Last updated on 11 Oct 2023 | 04:30 AM
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Pakistan and Australia play out the slowest day in Test history

By the end of Day 2, only 95 runs were scored jointly by the two teams, with 12 wickets falling, thus making it the slowest day ever

While Test cricket has redeemed itself of late owing to some enthralling series like the Ashes and Border-Gavaskar Trophy and exciting players like Virat Kohli, Ben Stokes, and Rishabh Pant, it was not long ago when the longest format had few takers left with it being on the verge of extinction. 

The reason was the lackluster and lethargic proceedings of a Test match, which was the case in most games as the crowd began to attend less and less. A perfect example of such a Test match was Pakistan hosting Australia on October 11, 1956.

Pakistan had received the status of a Test-playing nation in 1952 and had managed to win just one series in the four that they could play in over four years. However, the Men in Green did come into the one-off Test match against Australia in high spirits after beating New Zealand 2-0 in a three-match Test series.

Australia, on the other hand, were the big daddies of world cricket and were the clear favourites for the match despite their lean patch preceding this Test in Karachi. The Kangaroos had managed just one series win in their last five outings against England and this one-off Test against a relatively new Test side was a bid to get back their form.

It was the first-ever game of cricket between Australia and Pakistan, and the hosts had prepared a green track to further compound their bowling strength against a fearsome Australian batting line-up. However, Australia’s star-studded batting lineup couldn’t survive 55 overs, with only four of their batters reaching double figures.

Opening the bowling for Pakistan, Fazal Mahmood ran through the Australian top and middle order like a knife in butter. Colin McDonald (17), Jim Burke (4), Neil Harvey (2), Ian Craig (0) and Keith Miller (21) were mere passengers as the visitors were reduced to 48/5 in no time.

Australia’s last hope was a probable partnership between Ron Archer and Richie Benaud, but Mahmood and Khan Mohammad would remove them in a gap of just eight runs to leave Australia struggling for breath. A late drag by Aussie captain Ian Johnson added 13 more runs to a dry scoreboard as the visitors ended their first innings with 80 runs.

With Mahmood and Mohammad taking six and four wickets, respectively, in 53.1 overs, the match was perfectly set for Pakistan to capitalize. However, Aussie pacers took early advantage of the bowling surface as well, with Archer and Miller removing Hanif Mohammad and Alimuddin for just 15 runs. By the end of Day 2, only 95 runs were scored jointly by the two teams, with 12 wickets falling, thus making it the slowest day ever.

Fortunately, the rest of the match remained relatively competitive as half-centuries from Wazir Mohammad and skipper Abdul Kardar saw Pakistan give a lead of 199 runs. 

Though Australia’s batting lineup didn’t see such a calamitous breakdown as the first innings, a late resurgence by Benaud and Alan Davidson saw the visitors setting up a target of 68 runs. Pakistan’s star bowler was again Fazal Mahmood, who would end the match with a whopping 13-wicket haul.

Batting second, Pakistan lost a wicket early before Alimuddin and Gul Mohammad chased down the target comfortably, although the match would still go to the fifth day. 

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