On This Day October 11th, 1956: Fazal Mehmood destroys the Australian batting line up


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Mar 4, 2013
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This was the first test match between Pakistan and Australia. The mighty Australians were on their way back from a tour of England when they made a stopover to play one Test in Karachi. They had many big names in their squad.

Fazal, maintaining an accurate length and varying his swing with a mixture of leg-cutters and breakbacks, began Australia's troubles by taking the first six wickets for 26 in sixteen overs. Khan Mohammad, the only other bowler used, was responsible for the remaining wickets, and Australia were all out shortly after tea.

Fazal got 7 wickets in 2nd inning so a total of 13 wickets in this match. In the end Pakistan won the match by 9 wickets.

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Just look at the AUS bowling line up, Pakistan achieved it 4 years after getting its Test status and winning its first Test match vs India in India and 2 years after beating England in England in a Test match and levelling the series 1-1 (4).

All of that thanks to

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^This was our first Test match against Australia and we won it. There was no 3rd bowler involve in 1st innings so Fazal and Khan both bowled 50+ overs together in 1st innings.
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Former Test cricketer Imtiaz Ahmed, who played in that match and optionally is the first WK to score +200 in a Test innings, recalls the victory, and Fazal Mehmood's memorable role

...we had two outstanding fast-medium bowlers, Fazal and Khan Mohammad. They were almost unplayable on the Karachi track, which offered them a fair bit of support. Together, they didn't allow the Australian batsmen any opportunity to relax. Fazal never wavered in length and direction, and he moved the ball both ways intelligently. He would bowl the middle- and off-stump line, then used the seam smartly to make the ball go down close to leg stump, which made it uncomfortable for the batsman. For one whole over from Fazal in the first innings, even the great Miller had no clue.

At the other end Khan Mohammad bowled with sustained accuracy. Both kept pegging away with great stamina, and they kept picking up wickets at regular intervals, so Kardar didn't take them off. The two of them bowled right through the Australian innings, for over 50 overs, dismissing the visitors for 80.

The wicket did take vicious turn on the second day and Ian Johnson took four. Richie Benaud bowled intelligently too. He sent down a half-volley to me, which I tried to drive. The ball got the outer edge of my bat and I was caught at slip.

Personally, I can never forget the fourth day of the match. Australia had been bowled out for under 200 and we needed 69 to win. The scoreboard moved at a snail's pace all day, almost exhausting the patience of the 20,000-odd spectators who had paid to watch the game. They were impatient for Pakistan to win, and they began yelling at and booing the batsmen. It got so bad at one stage that Alimuddin, who was at the crease, offered his bat to the crowd in disgust. We should have wrapped things up that day but ended up needing six runs to win on the last.

The fifth day was a public holiday to mark the death anniversary of Liaquat Ali Khan, Pakistan's first Prime Minister. When play resumed the day after, we eventually got the required runs without any further struggle. Fazal finished with 13 wickets in the match; Khan Mohammad took seven. We won by nine wickets. The crowds finally got their due after they had held their excitement in check for over a day.

On This Day : Fazal Mehmood took 13-fer against Mighty Aussies.

11 Oct 1956
An insomniac's dream in Karachi, as Pakistan and Australia blocked their way through the slowest day in Test history. They mustered only 95 runs between them in a yawn-inducing full day's play, for the loss of 12 wickets. The match itself eventually went to Pakistan, thanks mainly to a Herculean performance from Fazal Mahmood. On a matting pitch, he returned match figures of 75-28-114-13 as an Australian side that included Harvey, Miller, Benaud and Davidson were skittled for 80 and 187. The one-off Test was the first between the sides.
IMO they were fitter than modern players endurance wise.
95 runs in a full day's play, for the loss of 12 wickets!

Must have tested crowd patience!