Most new Test playing nations have to wait some time before they can claim a win away from home against more experienced opposition.
This wasn’t true of Pakistan. On their very first tour of England in 1954 they forced a dramatic win in a low-scoring match at the Oval to draw the series 1-1. But it would be another 28 years before they claimed their first victory at the Home of Cricket.
The Pakistan side of 1982 was packed with talent. At the heart of the batting line-up were the experienced Zaheer Abbas – the first Pakistani to reach 100 first-class centuries – and the brilliant and often volatile 25 year-old Javed Miandad. Among their bowlers were the inventor of reverse swing, Sarfraz Nawaz, and the leg-spin genius Abdul Qadir. Under the captaincy of the great all-rounder Imran Khan, Pakistan were beginning to show the self-belief and bullish determination that would take them to a World Cup win ten years later.
They arrived at Lord’s 1-0 down in the series. That they levelled the series with a stunning and convincing win was down to contrasting contributions by their opening batsmen. Mohsin Khan had finally made his breakthrough in Test cricket – four years after his debut – with a century against Sri Lanka a few months before. His new-found confidence was on display at Lord’s as he struck 23 fours on his way to exactly 200 over the course of more than eight hours at the crease. Bolstered by 75 from Zaheer, Pakistan’s total of 428 gave them a solid foundation in the game.
England’s batting never looked up to the task. Five of the top six got out with scores between 29 and 33; no-one else reached double figures. Sarfraz got rid of England’s strange opening combination of Derek Randall and Chris Tavaré, then the middle order got into a tangle against Qadir. When last-man Robin Jackman fell to Imran for a duck, England were all out for 227, two runs short of the follow-on target. Their second innings started with disaster. Ambling in from the Nursery End and bowling at a gentle medium pace, opening batsman Mudassar Nazar claimed three wickets in two overs without conceding a run. First Randall missed a drive at a ball that nipped back and clipped the top of off stump, Allan Lamb was trapped lbw, then David Gower was caught behind off an airy drive. Tavaré and Ian Botham righted matters somewhat with a stand of 112 until Mudassar returned, switching to the Pavilion End. He bowled a delivery to Botham that was short and wide, Botham took aim and slapped it straight to backward point. It was just the sort of sucker punch Botham himself had a habit of applying as a bowler. A few runs later, Mike Gatting too was tempted by a long-hop and edged it to the ‘keeper. Mudassar had his sixth wicket when he swung one in to trap Iain Greig lbw. The tail added a few to get England’s score up to 276, but it was never enough.
Mudassar ended with figures of 6 for 32; a remarkable haul for a part-time bowler who had hitherto claimed only 11 wickets from 24 Tests. Drained by his effort, he remained in the Pavilion while Mohsin and Javed knocked off the 77 required without loss and took Pakistan to an historic victory.