On this day: England pull off a sensational Test victory at Karachi

When England faced Pakistan in the third and last Test at Karachi during their 2000-tour in the subcontinent, the visitors had a daunting task ahead of them. The series was levelled with both of the previous Tests ending in a draw. At Karachi, Pakistan had never faced defeat in a Test since the inaugural Test against India in 1954-55. Out of the 34 Tests that Pakistan played on this ground until then, they won 17 and effected a draw in the remaining as many.

With centuries from Inzamam-ul-Haq (142) and Mohammad Yousuf (117), the hosts took their first-innings score to 405 before being dismissed. For England, both Ashley Giles and Darren Gough shone with the ball as they bagged four and three wickets respectively. In their first innings, led by Mike Atherton’s resolute century – 125 from 430 balls – England responded well as they posted 388.

Three wickets each by Darren Gough and Ashley Giles in the second innings broke Pakistan’s back, who had their highest scorer in Saleem Elahi (37), whereas all the other major batsmen and the centurions from the first innings succumbed. On the final morning in Karachi, Pakistan crumbled as they lost their last seven wickets for 80, setting England 176 to win in a minimum of 44 overs.

During the chase, England lost three of their key batsmen for 65 to Saqlain Mushtaq, who was on song and was responsible for all three scalps. However, Graham Thorpe’s gritty knock alongside Graeme Hick’s 40 gave the visitors a much-needed respite. Realizing that the end of the day was approaching, Pakistan slowed the over-rate, however, umpires Steve Bucknor and Mohammad Nazir refused to bow to such antics. England had close to 20 runs to chase and it was dark as night at the Karachi Stadium.

The batsmen were barely able to spot the ball, whereas the opposition fielders complained to the umpire about the unfit playing conditions, although the match continued. Waqar Younis bowled from one end as Thorpe somehow managed to hit the ball and keep the runs flowing. England eventually chased the target playing while in the near-dark atmosphere. With this victory, England also clinched the series 1-0 and registered its first series win in Pakistan since 1961-62. What was equally remarkable was the fact that England’s win ended Pakistan’s incredibly long unbeaten run at National Stadium, Karachi.