If you thought ground staff at the MCG
deserved a hard time for delaying the start of play at the Boxing Day Test,
spare a thought for the curators at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
It’s no secret that the Test between Pakistan
and India was doomed to a draw thanks to a sub-standard pitch. It was a
batsman’s paradise, and at the same time, a bowler’s worst nightmare.
Virendar Sehwag set the highest ever score
at over a run per ball (254 from 247 balls). He also recorded the second fastest
double century in history (only 182 balls), his second successive double
century against Pakistan.
Meanwhile, opening partner Rahul Dravid
notched his first ton as Indian captain. The pair compiled 410 before Sehwag
was dismissed, falling just four runs short of topping the greatest opening
stand of all time – currently at 413, set by Pankaj Roy and Vinoo Mankad in
1956. The pair swamped the previous best opening partnership against Pakistan,
and Pakistan also batted with impunity in their first innings, compiling 7 for
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While these innings should be celebrated
for their size and speed, they barely rate a mention when compared to, say,
Ricky Ponting’s match saving 156 at Old Trafford during the last Ashes series,
Kevin Pietersen’s series winning 158 in the last Test at the Oval, or any
number of crucial innings played by Pakistani and Indian players over the
Perhaps Virender summed it up best.
“It’s not a good wicket for a Test match and if we have to play a drawn series,
there is no use coming here.”
That ought to startle the ICC. Even the
players who have just batted themselves into the history books think such games
are a waste of time.