Australia reached Islamabad to play their first Test in Pakistan in 24 years under heavy security. The three-match series began in Rawalpindi on March 04.
Here we present a list of five memorable past Tests between the two nations as they renew a rivalry that stretches back over 66 years:
1956 — Crawl in Karachi: The first-ever encounter between Pakistan and Australia saw just 95 runs scored on the first day as 12 wickets fell on a matting pitch — still the least scored in a full day’s play in Test history. The Ian Johnson-led Australians had landed in Pakistan just two days earlier after flight delays and then were humbled for 80 as police superintendent-turned seamer Fazal Mahmood took 6-34 and pace partner Khan Mohammad 4-43. Pakistan were 15-2 at the close before being all out for 199 on the second day. Mahmood and Mohammad then again ran through an Australian line-up containing greats such as Neil Harvey, Keith Miller and Richie Benaud as they crawled to 187 all out off 109.5 overs, Benaud top-scoring with 56. Mahmood finished with 7-80 and 13 wickets in the match and Mohammad took 3-69 as the seam pair accounted for all 20 wickets and Pakistan secured a famous nine-wicket victory.
1977 — Imran shines in Sydney: Legendary fast bowler Imran Khan, now prime minister, took 12 wickets — six in each innings — as Pakistan registered a first Test victory on Australian soil at the Sydney Cricket Ground. It was a turning point for Pakistan which, despite having world-class players, had struggled to win outside their own country. The performance started the elevation of Imran among the era’s great all-rounders alongside England’s Ian Botham, India’s Kapil Dev and New Zealand’s Richard Hadlee. It also enabled Pakistan to draw the three-Test series 1-1, one of the rare times they had avoided defeat away from home.
1979 — Sarfraz Melbourne magic: Maverick Pakistan pace bowler Sarfraz Nawaz unleashed a miraculous spell of swing bowling to turn the first Test in Melbourne on its head as Pakistan won by 71 runs.
Facing a target of 382 for victory, Australia were cruising at 305-3 with Allan Border on 105 when Sarfraz, who had earlier removed both openers, launched an astonishing burst of seven wickets for one run. Australia collapsed to 310 all out, Sarfraz finished with 9-86 in the innings and 11 wickets in the match as Graham Yallop’s side were stunned. The hosts bounced back in the second Test in Perth, winning by seven wickets to tie the two-match series 1-1
1980 — Lillee frustration in Faisalabad: legendary Australian pace bowler Dennis Lillee described the Iqbal Stadium pitch in Faisalabad as “a graveyard of fast bowlers” and it proved it was devoid of life as only 12 wickets fell in 337 overs. Bad weather washed out the first day and Australia then batted for two and a half days with Greg Chappell scoring 235 and Graham Yallop 172 in their 617 all out. Lillee, one of the all-time masters of the seam bowling craft, bowled 21 wicket-less overs as Pakistan replied with 382-2 with Taslim Arif scoring an unbeaten 210 and Javed Miandad 106. Only medium-pacer Geoff Dymock took a wicket with the ball, the only other to fall was from a run-out as all 11 Australian players turned their arms over as the match headed for an inevitable draw. Even wicketkeeper Rod Marsh swapped gloves for ball and sent down 10 overs of part-time off-breaks, conceding 51 runs.
1981 — Miandad comes out fighting: Images of Javed Miandad threatening to hit Dennis Lillee with his raised bat flashed around the world during a feisty first Test in Perth. Miandad and Lillee nearly came to blows as the Pakistan batsman took a quick single and then collided with the pace bowler. Both players claimed the other had been at fault. Miandad accused Lillee of pushing and kicking him while Lillee said Miandad had sworn at him. The bowler enjoyed the last word — Pakistan were bowled out for 62 in their first innings, with Lillee claiming 5-18, and Australia won by 286 runs. They went on to take the three-match series 2-1.
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