When Kamran Akmal put on one of Test cricket’s greatest counter-attacks
On the latest episode of the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast, Wisden Cricket Monthly editor-in-chief Phil Walker, WCM editor-at-large John Stern and wisden.com managing editor Ben Gardner joined host Yas Rana to pick out Wisden’s men’s Test team of the 2000s.
Adam Gilchrist was a unanimous selection in the XI but Ben thought that Kamran Akmal’s 113 against India at Karachi in 2006 was worth a mention, even if Akmal didn’t actually threaten Gilchrist’s spot in the side.
Akmal boasted an impressive record against India during his Test career. Four of his six Test hundreds came against India and in the period between his Test debut in November 2002 and his final Test in August 2010, Younis Khan was the only cricketer in the world to have scored more Test hundreds against them. His innings at Karachi was the finest of the lot.
With the series evenly poised at 0-0 going into the final Test, Irfan Pathan made Test history by taking a hat-trick in the first over the game, leaving Pakistan 0-3 with Salman Butt, Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf already back in the pavilion. Faisal Iqbal, Shahid Afridi and Imran Farhat fell soon after to leave Pakistan 39-6 as Akmal strode out to the crease.
“Kamran Akmal played one of the innings of the decade as a wicketkeeper-batsman,” said Ben on the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast. “Against India when he came in at 19-6 [39-6] scored 113 and they ended up winning that Test. Obviously he doesn’t come close to Gilchrist but if we’re doing honourable mentions, maybe he doesn’t come close as a wicketkeeper or a batsman, but maybe we should say his name anyway.”
Akmal put on 115 for the seventh wicket with Abdul Razzaq and a further 82 for the eighth wicket with Shoaib Akhtar to propel Pakistan up to a first innings total of 245. In response India were bowled out for 238 before Pakistan, led by Faisal Iqbal’s only ever Test hundred, piled on 599-7 in their second innings. Despite a quickfire fourth innings hundred from Yuvraj Singh, Pakistan ended up winning the game by a comfortable 341-run margin.
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