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The Test match played between England and Pakistan at Lord’s in 2001 started on May 17. Bharath Ramaraj looks back at what was a thoroughly professional performance from England which helped them to thump the visitors in their 100th Test at Lord’s.
In 2000, England and the West Indies played out a nerve-tingling Test match at Lord’s. It was also the 100th Test played at the hallowed turf. England went onto win the game. They filled columns in newspapers and won appreciation for their performance.
In 2001, England were again playing at Lord’s and this time around, it was the 100th Test played by them at the manicured lawns in the ‘Home of Cricket’. They were up against a mercurial Pakistan setup. Incidentally, England had played with guts and determination during the winter of 2000-01 by winning Test series in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, respectively. When they took on Pakistan at Lord’s in May 2001, it was about continuing with their form and consistency.
The first day of the game on May 17 though, was washed out due to heavy rain. When the toss took place, Pakistan captain, Waqar Younis won it and elected to bowl. He must have been expecting a bit of moisture underneath the surface to help his pacers. However, even the experienced duo of Wasim Akram and Waqar couldn’t bowl the right lengths for the track. Shoaib Akhtar, the tear away fast bowler, coming back after a long layoff, looked short of match fitness. It was Azhar Mahmood, the plucky all-rounder, who extracted seam movement off the surface by pitching it up. It helped him to take a few wickets. Marcus Trescothick, England’s eye-catching opener, would have been cursing himself, as he threw away a fine start by losing his wicket to Abdul Razzaq caught by Azhar at gully.
It was senior pros, Graham Thorpe and captain Nasser Hussain, who were ready to bide their time at the crease. Thorpe (80) played with poise, balance and fluidity at the crease and invoked respect and reverence from everyone in the ground. The left-hander was able to bisect the gaps in the field with needlepoint precision. Unlike his partner, Hussain (64) didn’t exactly touch exalted heights, but played a typical tenacious knock that you associate with the Essex stalwart. Alec Stewart (44) too chipped in with useful runs for England, as England finally ended up with 391 runs on the board in their first innings. Azhar was the pick of Pakistan’s bowlers, as he snared four wickets.
It was time now for the formidable bowling pair of Darren Gough and Andy Caddick to exploit the helpful conditions on display. The duo didn’t disappoint their captain by running through Pakistan’s batting line-up. Even Saeed Anwar and Inzamam-ul-Haq couldn’t counter the conditions. Anwar looked edgy at the crease and was eventually, caught in the gully by Michael Atherton off Gough. Only Younis Khan was able to stand toe-to-toe against the English pacers and compiled a fine half-century. As the follow-on target was reduced to 150 runs due to an entire day being washed out, Pakistan had to bat again after being bowled out for 203.
Second time around too, Pakistan’s batsmen fell like nine pins. Only Razzaq, the all-rounder amassed a fifty. Dominic Cork, who had bowled short and wide in the first innings, also joined in the fun for England by taking three wickets. However, it was Caddick and Gough, who rightly won the plaudits for their fine performances. Between them they ensnared 16 out of 20 wickets to fall. Pakistan were bundled out for 179 in their second innings. England thumped Pakistan by a margin of an innings and nine runs.
Pakistan made a sterling comeback in the second Test at Old Trafford by getting the better of hosts in a keenly contested game. However, that game is unfortunately remembered more for the usually redoubtable umpire, David Shepherd missing a slew of no-balls.
England, who were riding high after their first Test win, suddenly lost their way and found themselves in rubble. They were then smashed to smithereens in the Ashes 2001 series by Australia.
England 391 (Michael Atherton 42, Nasser Hussain 64, Graham Thorpe 80, Alec Stewart 44; Azhar Mahmood 4 for 50) beat Pakistan 203 (Younis Khan 58; Darren Gough 5 for 61, Andy Caddick 4 for 52) and 179 (Abdul Razzaq 53; Andy Caddick 4 for 54, Darren Gough 3 for 40, Dominic Cork 3 for 41).
Man of the Match: Andy Caddick
(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)
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