On February 10, 1973, Pakistan all-rounder and the youngest Test cricketer and centurion at the time, Mushtaq Mohammad, wowed the Dunedin crowd with a fabulous all-round performance. The Kiwis had no answer to Mushtaq’s recklessness as Pakistan recorded a memorable Test win in New Zealand. Jaideep Vaidya has more…
Pakistan had never won a Test series in New Zealand when they landed in the island nation in the summer of 1973. The reverse tour in Pakistan four years earlier had resulted in a 1-0 win for the Kiwis after they clinched the Lahore Test by five wickets. So, revenge was on the cards when Intikhab Alam’s men arrived in Wellington for a three-match series.
After a weather-interrupted start to the first Test in the capital, which had resulted in a draw, the two teams took field at Carisbrook, Dunedin, on February 7, for the second. Intikhab won the toss and readily put his team in to bat first. Pakistan were 107 for two when the inclement weather was back to ruin play. On Day Two, Mushtaq Mohammad built on the good start provided by his brother Sadiq, and was joined in the mischief by Asif Iqbal.
The duo recorded the highest fourth-wicket partnership for Pakistan in Tests, sharing 350 runs in 270 minutes between them. Pakistan declared at 507 for six after Mushtaq was out for a magnificent 201 and Iqbal for 175. The youngest of the Mohammad brothers had hit 20 boundaries in his marathon 383-minute knock. Interestingly, his first 50 runs came in 165 minutes – almost three hours – whereas his next 150-odd took just 218 minutes.
Intikhab was so delighted with his batsmen that he went on a rampage during New Zealand first innings. He took seven for 52 as the Kiwis were skittled for 156. Intikhab was not done and put the Kiwis back in to follow-on. Here, he was joined by Mushtaq, who wanted to have some fun with the ball as well. The duo shared nine wickets between them as the Kiwis managed to get just 33 runs more than their first innings effort. Mushtaq’s figures read five for 49, while Intikhab took four for 78 (one run out).
The match was done and dusted with on Day Four, capped by a superb all-round performance from Mushtaq, ably supported with the bat by Iqbal and with the red cherry by Intikhab. Doing so, Mushtaq became only the second Test player to score a double century and take a fifer in the same match, after West Indian Dennis Atkinson in 1954-55.
The youngest Test cap and centurion for many years to come had another feather in his cap of records. The performance at Dunedin was one of the finest displays of all-round brilliance in a cricket match ever to be witnessed. Many years after the game, Mushtaq said in an interview with ESPNcricinfo that fellow all-rounder Sir Garfield Sobers was “the greatest cricketer I have seen. It was a pleasure to watch him on the field. Whether he was batting, bowling or fielding, it was class and authority.”
If Sobers had watched that performance at Dunedin, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine him saying, “Right back at you, sir!”
(Jaideep Vaidya is a multiple sports buff and a writer at CricketCountry. He has a B.E. in Electronics Engineering, but that isn’t fooling anybody. He started writing on sports during his engineering course and fell in love with it. The best day of his life came on April 24, 1998, when he witnessed birthday boy Sachin Tendulkar pummel a Shane Warne-speared Aussie attack from the stands during the Sharjah Cup Final. A diehard Manchester United fan, you can follow him on Twitter @jaideepvaidya. He also writes a sports blog - The Mullygrubber )