Wasim Akram Waqar Younis

Wasim Akram (left) and Waqar Younis picked up 10 wickets or more in a Test match 18 times between 1990-1994 © Getty Images

On October 15, 1990, Pakistan registered a massive innings and 43-run victory over New Zealand in the first of the three-match Test series at Karachi. Pakistan’s celebrated pace duo of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis proved why they can be devastating together for the first time. Prakash Govindasreenivasan has more.
 
 
In Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, Pakistan found an explosive fast-bowling pair who would hunt for them for a decade. They brought together the art of swing and the impact of sheer pace together, dipped well in pin-point accuracy. While bowling in tandem, Wasim and Waqar were devastating, to say the least.
 
 
The Beginning…
 
On a seaming track at the National Stadium in Karachi, New Zealand’s worst fears came alive when Javed Miandad won the toss and put them in to bat first.
 
The Kiwi openers took tentativeness to a new level, as they only looked to block or let go testing deliveries from Wasim and Waqar. The Pakistani duo ran in and bowled with full rhythm and pace to give the Karachi crowd enough to cheer about. It was perhaps not the most ideal debut for opener David White. In his nascent steps as a Test cricketer for New Zealand, he had to deal with excruciating pace and swing from two of the most fired-up fast bowlers of that time.

White and his opening partner Trevor Franklin could not resist for too long, Wasim and Waqar accounting for a wicket each before the teams headed for lunch on the first day with the score on 45 for two. Skipper Martin Crowe, who was at the crease at the end of the first session, perished soon in the afternoon session, giving Waqar his second scalp of the innings.
 
 
The Kiwi resistance
 
Crowe’s wicket was a big blow for the Kiwis. The dressing room atmosphere would have been sombre with the thought of a long, gruelling series starting to linger in their minds. Ken Rutherford (79) and Mark Greatbatch (43) helped ease that situation, if only for a brief period. The middle-order duo added 116 runs for the fifth wicket.  
 
Having done well to settle down and stand tall against Wasim and Waqar, Greatbatch threw his wicket away when he was caught and bowled by Ijaz Ahmed. Once Greatbatch fell, Aaqib Javed was brought on and he dismissed Rutherford and the Kiwis finished on 175 for five on the first day.

The Wasim and Waqar show – Part 1
 
After a modest beginning on the first day, the Pakistani pace duo were in their elements and ran through the second half of the New Zealand batting line-up within the first hour of the morning session on Day Two. The Kiwis could add just 21 runs to their first day’s total of 175 and were bundled out for 196. Wasim and Waqar took the major share of the wickets, bagging four each. The visitors had no counter for the prowess that duo showed in using the old-ball to perfection.
 
When the Pakistan batsmen walked out to the field, the pitch seemed like it had nothing left for the bowlers. It was as if Wasim and Waqar had sucked the life out of the wicket. Whether or not that was true, the Pakistan openers — Rameez and Shoaib Mohammad — tormented the New Zealand bowlers with a 172-run stand for the first wicket. While Raja tested New Zealand’s resolve with a 201-ball knock of 78, Mohammad’s innings was much more free-flowing. He managed 203, an innings that was laced with 23 boundaries. While Raja fell early on Day Three, Shoaib was unmoved. He went on to slam an unbeaten double in his 10-hour long stay. It was a memorable knock for Shoaib who happened to equal his father Hanif Mohammad’s highest score in Tests.
 
 
The Wasim and Waqar show – Part 2
 
With a deficit of 237 to cover up, and Wasim and Waqar charging in, New Zealand were not in the most favourable position. Two early strikes from Wasim, cleaning up both openers put New Zealand further of the back-foot and they never recovered. When Greatbatch and Rutherford fell, the Kiwis were heading towards a massive defeat. Captain Crowe put up a bit of a fight but ran out of partners as both Wasim and Waqar dealt timely blows to not let a single partnership blossom. Middle-order batsman Dipak Patel became Akram’s third victim of the innings when he was trapped in front of the stumps, while Waqar opened his account in the second innings when he managed to induce Grant Bradburn to edge a delivery to wicketkeeper Saleem Yousuf. Waqar then went on to breach Ian Smith’s defence to reduce the visitors to 119 for seven.
 
Akram picked up his fourth wicket when he sent Danny Morrison back to the pavilion for a fourth-ball duck while Waqar and Abdul Qadir wrapped up the innings at 194, giving Pakistan a victory by an innings and 43 runs. Wasim finished with figures of four for 60 while Waqar returned with three for 39 in the second innings.
 
What followed
 

  • This was the first instance where Wasim and Waqar picked up 10 wickets or more in a Test match. They had 15 to their name in this game.

 

  • Pakistan’s Shoaib Mohammad was named the Man of the Match.

 

  • The hosts went on to thrash New Zealand in the following two Tests and win the series 3-0.

  • Wasim and Waqar formed a deadly partnership and repeated this feat of picking up 10 or more wickets between them in 18 of the 24 Tests played between 1990 and 1994.

 Brief scores:
 
New Zealand 196 (Mark Greatbatch 43, Ken Rutherford 79; Wasim Akram 4 for 44, Waqar Younis 4 for 40) and 194 (Martin Crowe 68*; Wasim Akram 4 for 60, Waqar Younis 3 for 39) lost to Pakistan 433 for 6 decl. (Shoaib Mohammad 203*, Rameez Raja 78; Danny Morrison 2 for 86) by an innings and 43 runs.
 
Man of the Match: Shoaib Mohammad

(Prakash Govindasreenivasan is a reporter with CricketCountry. His Twitter handle is @PrakashG_89)