On this day: Irfan Pathan’s memorable Test hat-trick against Pakistan

While Pakistan were always known to have an upper-hand against India in the 1980s and 90s, there came a change in fortunes at the turn of the century. Sachin Tendulkar had already become the most stupendous batsman of the game. Indian cricket had received its new ruthless chief in Sourav Ganguly. Ganguly not only vowed to make India win overseas but had also infused some dazzling youngsters in the dressing room.

The likes of Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh and MS Dhoni became legends of Indian cricket. But in between them, there came a prolific left-arm medium-pacer who carried a reputation of being a highly-ranked lieutenant. Especially, when the battles were fought against Pakistan. It was on this day, fifteen years ago that Irfan Pathan took a memorable Test hat-trick in the first over of the third Test in Karachi.

Prior to this momentous occurrence, Irfan’s bowling figures were 1-133 in the first Test at Lahore and 0-106 alongside 1-80 in the second Test at Faisalabad. Both Tests were a collective run-fest being procured by Indian and Pakistani batters. But the sight of a modest green-top wicket at Karachi quickly propelled skipper Rahul Dravid to opt for a bowl.

The First Wicket (Salman Butt)

Now regardless of the first three deliveries exhibiting a display of out-swing, the pitching of the fourth delivery was a further up from the previous three deliveries. The ball lands in line with the middle-stump and while swinging away there comes a faint edge being nicked from left-hander Salman Butt’s bat. Stationed at his customary first slip position, skipper Dravid takes a regulation catch at least by his standards.

The Second wicket (Younis Khan)

If the first wicket being fetched was a dazzling nightmare, the second wicket of Younis Khan became an immaculate plumb LBW hitting the middle-stump mark. Yet again, a much further up full-pitched delivery along with a late swing had trapped Younis, thus hitting him below the knee roll. Without hesitation, umpire Simon Taufel raised his index finger.

The Third Wicket (Mohammad Yousuf)

Mohammad Yousuf’s wicket is probably one of the best deliveries that Irfan Pathan may have bowled in his career. Now although both Salman and Younis had got their bodies and bat to cause a block, Yousuf got bowled through the gates. Again, a delivery being aligned fuller along with the ball moving in the air and off the wicket breaks through Yousuf’s guard.

Watch the hat-trick here: