July 29, 1996 – When England lost nine wickets in a session to lose a Test match

July 29, 1996 – When England lost nine wickets in a session to lose a Test match

Pakistan bowlers turned the game on the final day which was heading towards a draw.

Simon Brown
Simon Brown. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

England began the 1996 home season with 1-0 Test series win against India after spending nearly two years without a Test series victory. Pakistan was up next to face the English team during a 3-match Test and ODI series. Pakistan was a bit scratchy going into the Test series despite coming from a one-off Test win in New Zealand. Pakistan lost three of the four series played before defeating the Kiwis and the lone series win in 1995 came against Zimbabwe that too by 2-1 margin only.

The series kicked off at the Lord’s on July 25th where Pakistan lost two wickets for 12 runs on the board after electing to bat first. Inzamam-ul-Haq, who walked to bat at No.4, showed aggression with the bat as he scored boundaries at will. He along with opener Saeed Anwar put on 130 for the 3rd wicket in about two hours. Anwar fell after scoring a 120-ball 74 with ten boundaries but Inzamam didn’t reduce the pace of his innings even without any support from the other end.

The first collapse!

Inzamam went on to score 148 from 218 balls by smashing 18 fours and a six during an innings that was spread over five hours. Pakistan ended the day on 290/9 but reached 340 thanks to a 45-run knock from Khalid Latif. England’s top-order couldn’t make big runs but their contributions put the team on the top. At 260/5, England was set towards securing a decent first-innings lead but a turnaround happened when Graham Thorpe played one on to his stumps for 77 in Ata-ur-Rehman’s bowling just before lunch break.

This put an end to the 80-run stand between Thorpe and keeper Jack Russell (41*) for the 6th wicket. England lost their last five wickets for just 25 runs in about 40 minutes. The first four wickets of this collapse came in a period of 16 balls for four runs. Ata-ur-Rehman and Waqar Younis handed a 55-run lead to the Pakistan team by running through the opposition’s lower-order. The opening pair of Pakistan lasted more than three hours in the second essay but only 136 runs were scored.

Game heads towards a draw!

Saeed Anwar made 88 from 144 balls while his partner Shadab Kabir scored only 33 runs despite facing 151 deliveries. Ijaz Ahmed (76) and Inzamam-ul-Haq (70) took the responsibility of guiding Pakistan to a big lead as they put on 118 runs for the 4th wicket. The visitors declared their second innings on 352/5 after playing out 113.2 overs. England was set a target of 408 runs with a minimum of 124 overs were to be bowled in four sessions if the rain didn’t make an appearance.

England lost the wicket of Nick Knight at the start of the chase but skipper Michael Atherton and Alec Stewart put hosts in a safe place. The duo saw through the 4th day’s play as the home team went to stumps at the score of 74/1. Atherton didn’t bother about the number of runs made as he scored only 24 while Stewart amassed 46 runs. The resilience of the pair continued on final morning as the Test headed towards a draw. Atherton and Stewart got 78 runs for no loss in the pre-lunch session.

Pakistan swallows England’s wickets for lunch!

England, confident about a draw, began the second session at the score of 152/1 but little did they know what was to follow. Shortly after the resumption, Atherton was caught by slip fielder trying to play a leg-break from Mushtaq Ahmed towards mid-wicket. This brought an end to Atherton’s gritty knock of 64 that came off 211 deliveries. He was involved in a partnership that was spread over four hours accumulating 154 runs for the 2nd wicket with Stewart.

In his very next over, Mushtaq saw Stewart’s innings coming to an end on 88 when the English batsman was caught at silly point. The twin strikes from Mushtaq turned the match into Pakistan’s grasp. In a little over an hour’s space, England lost seven wickets for only 18 runs as they were stranded at 186/8 from 168/1. The leg-spinner got the better of Thorpe and Mark Ealham while Waqar Younis sent back Graeme Hick, Jack Russell and Dominic Cork. All these five England batsmen were dismissed for single digits.

Ian Salisbury tried to delay Pakistan’s victory with a 58-ball 40 that included seven fours but could take England’s total to 243 only. England lost nine wickets for 75 runs in the extended second session. Pakistan skipper Wasim Akram had a quiet game as he took only two wickets; the first one of England’s first innings (Michael Atherton) and the last scalp of the second essay (Ian Salisbury) that wrapped up the game. Pakistan won the final match of the Test series at the Oval by 9 wickets to win the series by 2-1.