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December 15, 1977 – When Lahore Test between Pakistan and England was stopped due to riots

The Test match witnessed low scoring rates and the on-field invasions and riots on successive days.

Gaddafi Stadium
Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

On England’s 977-78 tour of Pakistan, the first Test match at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore turned out to be an eventful one by both on the field and off the field incidents. The Test match witnessed low scoring rates and the on-field invasions and riots on successive days that counted for the loss of time in the game. The game that began on 14th December 1977 was disturbed by riots on the 2nd day and even worse things happened on the 3rd day but a rest day that followed ensured everything got settled and no more invasions happen.

On the 2nd afternoon, a couple of spectators invaded the pitch and things got worse when the police intervened with a counter-strike after which the people started to chase the police and attack them. A group started to throw bricks and stones towards England’s dressing room and VIP arena after they found four refuges hiding there. Early Tea was taken because of the disturbance but the play resumed with the loss of only 25 minutes.

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The interesting part of this was the invaders themselves left the field by clearing off the debris they threw. Again on the 3rd day evening, the play was halted due to a riot this time a serious one and politically influenced. The police needed to fire tear gas to disperse a section of the crowd that turned up about 30000 in number. This caused a loss of 55 minutes game time at the end of the 3rd day and a rest day followed it helped the authorities bring down the tension.

The game resumed on the 4th day with a crowd turn up in only thousands and the Test ended in a draw with both sides scoring at snail pace in their respective first innings. In the game which has 8-ball overs, Pakistan declared their innings on 407/9 after batting for 133 overs. In reply, England batted 135.7 overs but managed to score 288/10. The home side was 106/3 in the 2nd innings before the game eventually ended in a draw.

Slowest Test hundred and a near hat-trick on Test debut:

Mudassar Nazar
Mudassar Nazar of Pakistan bats. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Pakistan’s Mudassar Nazar recorded the slowest Test century in their first innings by taking 419 balls for the milestone. He scored 114 off 449 balls during his 591-ball stay which was interrupted while he was on 99 when the riots happened for the first time in the game.

Later on day three, England’s debutant Geoff Cope dismissed Abdul Qadir and Sarfraz Nawaz with consecutive deliveries while Iqbal Qasim was caught in the slips on the hat-trick ball. However, Mike Brearley, the captain of England recalled the batsman as he was wasn’t sure if the ball carried to him properly.

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