India were Pakistan's first opponents after they gained Test status, and they took a strong side to India under the leadership of Abdul Kardar. They suffered a major blow when fast bowler Khan Mohammad was injured early in the tour, but they really paid for not possessing a quality spinner. India's pair of Vinoo Mankad and Ghulam Ahmed took 37 wickets between them, and the batting of Vijay Hazare and Polly Umrigar ensured they had plenty of runs. Mankad grabbed 13 for 131 as India won the first Test at New Delhi by an innings. Pakistan squared the series at Lucknow as Fazal Mahmood exploited a matting wicket to take 12 for 94 and Nazar Mohammad carried his bat for 124. India's batsman and an early four-wicket burst from Lala Amarnath restored India's lead with a 10-wicket win at Bombay. The fourth Test was washed out after two days, and India secured the series with a tame draw at Calcutta.
Tests: India 2 Pakistan 1 Drawn 2
India's first visit to Pakistan was pretty much dominated by the same characters and, with neither side prepared to take risks, the series was defensive throughout. In Pakistan's first home Test, at Dacca, the run rate was 1.8 an over and that set the tone for all five Tests which were played over four days - it would have taken five or six for there to have been any chance of breaking the stalemate. India had a sniff of victory in the fourth Test at Peshawar but again slow batting - Pakistan made 129 for 6 in almost 100 overs on the first day - meant they ran out of time.
Tests: India 0 Pakistan 0 Drawn 5
Another series of stalemate, and with political as well as cricketing pride at stake, it was hardly surprising that neither captain was prepared to take any risks as not losing appeared the sole aim. Not only were all five Tests drawn but all 10 tour matches as well. Pakistan started well in the opening Test at Bombay with Saeed Ahmed and Hanif Mohammad scoring big hundreds, but India then batted more than two days for 449 and that was that. Cricket often seemed a secondary interest. In the Tests Pakistan average 35 runs per 100 balls; India 39 runs per 100 balls. Scoring was so slow that on only 11 of the 25 days allotted to the Tests did the aggregate of runs reach 200, and on nearly half of these occasions the quicker tempo came on the last day when a decision was out of the question.
Tests: India 0 Pakistan 0 Drawn 5
After an 18-year gap, Pakistan gave India a warm welcome both on and off the field and the only real moment of tension came in the final one-dayer when Bishan Bedi conceded a match. India seemed on course to win the game - and with it the series - after a barrage of bouncers from Sarfraz Nawaz went unpunished. Unlike the previous two series, both captains adopted a positive approach on flat pitches and Pakistan won mainly because India's batting proved fragile when it mattered. Pakistan's batsmen, on the other hand, were in supreme form. Zaheer Abbas amassed 583 runs in five innings, Javed Miandad made two hundreds and Mushtaq Mohammad and Asif Iqbal both indicated that they could have scored many more runs had the need arisen. For India, Sunil Gavaskar stood tall with 89, 8 not out, 5, 97, 111, and 137. Despite the heat and the depressing pace of the pitches, Imran Khan and Sarfraz Nawaz captured 14 and 17 wickets respectively while India never once bowled Pakistan out. In the second Test at Lahore, a sequence of 13 successive draws was ended when Pakistan won by eight wickets after skittling India out for 199. At Karachi, India's bowling finally crumbled as Pakistan chased a tough target of 164 in 35 minutes and a minimum of 20 overs.
Tests: Pakistan 2 India 0 Drawn 1
ODIs: Pakistan 2 India 1
India gained revenge over much the same Pakistan side that had easily beaten then a year earlier in a often bitter six-Test series. The big difference was the emergence of Kapil Dev who finished with 32 wickets, as well an infusion of new players which gave them a far more aggressive feel in the field. India's selectors also kept faith, with only 12 players used in all. Pakistan missed Sarfaraz Nawaz and the side seemed to have serious internal divides caused by commercial and social distractions. They also alienated the public with complaints about umpiring (with a degree of justification) and pitch doctoring, and at one stage threatened to call off the tour. In 1978-79, India were unable to bowl Pakistan out even once in three Tests. This time they did so seven times in 11 innings, each time for totals under 300 and twice for less than 200. Apart from Wasim Raja and Javed Miandad, not one batsman averaged even 30. The most notable failure was Zaheer Abbas - a 40 in the first Test and 50 in the second were followed by 2, 11, 5, 0 and 15 and he lost his place for the final Test. The two results came in the third Test at Bombay where India won by 131 runs after bowling Pakistan out for 190 and 173, and in the fifth at Madras where Kapil's 11 wickets and 166 from Gavaskar, who led India in the first five games, was enough. Unable to tour West Indies later in the season, Gavaskar stood down for the final Test which Pakistan controlled throughout without being able to force a win.
Tests: India 2 Pakistan 0 Drawn 4
In a one-sided series Pakistan beat India by three Tests to none, their victories at Karachi, Hyderabad and Faisalabad all being achieved by large margins. They also won the series of ODIs. Imran Khan's team plundered the mild Indian attack almost to their hearts' content, breaking record after record as the season progressed. The consistency and scoring feats of Zaheer Abbas, Mudassar Nazar, Javed Miandad, and to a slightly lesser extent Mohsin Khan, destroyed the Indian bowlers. Mudassar scored four Test centuries and Zaheer three, both players also performing outstandingly in the one-day internationals. Added together Mudassar's 761 runs, Zaheer's 650 and Miandad's 594 constituted a record for the three top batsmen in any Test series. Imran, who became the first Pakistan bowler to take 200 Test wickets, bowled with such venom and fire that no Indian batsman other than Mohinder Amarnath faced him with any confidence. Sarfraz was also still a force to be reckoned with. India's poor showing was due mainly to patchy batting and weak fielding. Many catches were dropped at crucial moments. In addition, except for Kapil Dev, none of their bowlers posed any real threat to the home batsmen. Madan Lal had to return to India because of a badly bruised heel. India relied principally on their three left-arm spinners, of whom Dilip Doshi, the most experienced of them, did not show his best form after the first Test. Ravi Shastri, another of them, had injury problems, and the turbaned Maninder Singh did not enjoy the best of luck. An umpiring controversy in the middle of the six-Test series, when the manager of the Indian team, the Maharaja of Baroda, was critical of local standards, blew over with the release of a statement by Sunil Gavaskar, the Indian captain, expressing his confidence in the umpires of Pakistan. Although, yet again, politically motivated rioting marred the last Test in Karachi, the series was played, on the whole, in a cordial atmosphere.
Tests: Pakistan 3 India 0
ODIs: Pakistan 3 India 1
This tour was intended to start an annual exchange of short visits between the two countries but it was received with general indifference. Dogged by bad weather, the three Tests were all drawn, although India, the new world champions, won both ODIs, which, unlike the Tests, were well attended. Another limited-overs match, played for the Prime Minister's Fund under floodlights at an athletics stadium in New Delhi, built for the previous year's Asian Games, was a sell-out and nearly 100,000 spectators still occupied the vast terraces when the match, interrupted by an electrical fault, finished well after midnight. Only the last Test, played at Nagpur, drew a full house every day. There were various, unconnected reasons for low attendances, the one common factor being the adverse weather, while at Bangalore, the sale of tickets was depressed by the state government withdrawing the exemption of entertainment tax on sporting events. A heavy police presence and irksome security measures did not create the ideal atmosphere for a Test. Pakistan were also missing Imran Khan, Sarfraz Nawaz and Abdul Qadir. The first two Tests were so slow moving that they would most likely have been drawn even if rain had kept away. However, the pitch at Nagpur was a different proposition, and India must be given credit for striving to force a decision there, even though their batting had proved unreliable in the two previous Tests. Pakistan, although never at risk, made no corresponding effort to win.
Tests: India 0 Pakistan 0 Drawn 0
ODIs: India 2 Pakistan 0
The assassination of India's Prime Minister, Mrs Indira Gandhi, led to the tour being called off with the third Test at Karachi and the last one-day international still to be played. At the time the second one-day international was in progress and immediately abandoned. The first one-day international, at Quetta at the start of the tour, had been won by Pakistan by 46 runs, while the first two Test matches had been drawn. Once again umpires came under heavy criticism from a visiting captain, this time Sunil Gavaskar. He said after the first Test at Lahore that "despite the best efforts of the Pakistan umpires to favour the home team we have managed to draw the Test and that is a miracle. Before embarking on the tour of Pakistan we expected close decisions, but what happened in the Lahore Test was pre-planned and pre-determined." The umpiring was poor, but the comments inevitably caused a storm. The pitches were again featherbeds. The second Test at Faisalabad produced 1,174 runs for the loss of only sixteen wickets. Even the mayor of that city condemned the ground authorities for producing "heartbreaking strips", blaming them for keeping spectators away.
Tests: Pakistan 0 India 0 Drawn 2
ODIs: Pakistan 1 India 0
A run of 11 successive draws between India and Pakistan was dramatically ended in the final Test in Bangalore. After four Tests on pitches so tame as to make draws almost certain from the start, the series decider was played on a minefield with the spinners wreaking havoc. It was a test of nerve, but after bowling Pakistan out for 116, Maninder Singh grabbing 7 for 27, India succumbed for 145 and then set 221, slid to a 16-run defeat. An eighth-wicket stand of 51 in Pakistan's second innings was decisive, but Sunil Gavaskar's 96 almost took India to victory. India controlled the second and fourth Tests but slow overs rates and negative tactics allied to turgid pitches nullified any advantage. In the limited-overs series, Pakistan's superiority was beyond dispute. They had a number of utility players in their ranks, any one of whom could fashion a match-winning effort with the bat, and they won the series 5-1.
Tests: India 0 Pakistan 1 Drawn 4
ODIs: India 1 Pakistan 5
After series on series of umpiring controversies, neutral umpires - John Hampshire and John Holder - stood for the first time in the four Tests. There were still errors, but there was far less tension on the field. The Test series ended in stalemate. Pakistan had the better of the exchanges in the first two Tests but were unable to translate their advantage into victory, while India appeared happy to settle for the draw. Sanjay Manjrekar made 569 runs in the series at an average of 94.83 with a double-hundred, a hundred and three half-centuries, several of which were match-saving innings. Moreover, he made his runs with a classicism only too rare in the era of the all-pervasive one-day international. Mohammad Azharuddin and Navjot Sidhu made vital contributions in those Tests in which the bowlers had more going for them, and 16-year-old Sachin Tendulkar made runs at critical stages to bolster a fiercely motivated side playing under a new captain in Krish Srikkanth. Srikkanth himself, however, failed with the bat and was to be unceremoniously dropped after the series. Wasim Akram, with 18 wickets, was the outstanding bowler of the series but support bowling was nowhere in his class, even if Imran Khan did take 13 wickets. The one-day series never took off, the weather conspiring to deny the thrills associated with the short game. The crowds at these matches were invariably close to capacity - whereas those at the Test matches were not encouraging enough - but trouble caused by a rowdy Karachi crowd led to the abandonment of the third ODI. This disturbance accentuated undercurrents in the troubled sea of India-Pakistan relations, in which cricket had once been an island of normality.
Tests: Pakistan 0 India 0 Drawn 4
ODIs: Pakistan 2 India 0
The Indians had not toured Pakistan since 1989-90 because of political tensions, though they had continued to meet regularly for ODIs, usually on neutral territory, such as Sharjah. In fact they had played each other only a week earlier, in Toronto, where India won the Sahara Cup 4-1. They finally returned to Pakistan for a short one-day series which opened India's Golden Jubilee celebrations. Pakistan took revenge for their Canadian setback, with Saeed Anwar leading them to a 2-1 victory (Rameez Raja, the previous week's captain, had already been dropped). The crowds were mostly welcoming, though there was trouble during the second match, in Karachi, when the Indian fielders were stoned by some spectators, causing an abrupt end to Pakistan's innings. That resulted in Pakistan's only defeat, but a stunning century from Ijaz Ahmed at Lahore brought the series to a triumphant conclusion.
ODIs: Pakistan 2-1 India
This series was about much more than cricket. It was Pakistan's first Test series with India for nine years, and the first on Indian soil since 1986-87. Three previous attempts to organise a Pakistani tour of India in the 1990s had been aborted because of threats of disruption by right-wing Hindu fundamentalists. In 1998, both countries had tested nuclear weapons, adding a new dimension to their traditional tension. Though there were only two Tests (a third at Calcutta, won by Pakistan, was regarded as part of the separate Asian Test Championship), it was probably the most exciting of the 11 series between the two. Pakistan won a 12-run victory at Chennai, only for India to strike back with a massive win at Delhi. The star players were the spinners, Saqlain Mushtaq of Pakistan and Anil Kumble of India: Kumble provided the sensational conclusion to the series by taking all ten wickets in the final innings, only the second man in Test cricket to take a perfect ten; he devastated Pakistan's batting with his lift and bounce, taking his ten wickets for 47. His overall analysis was 10 for 74. Shortly before the series, activists dug up the Test pitch in Delhi, forcing the Indian board to move the first Test to Chennai. Shortly afterwards, the board's offices at Mumbai were ransacked and officials manhandled. Commandos and plain-clothes officers shadowed the Pakistani team everywhere. The board even engaged snake charmers, after rumours that extremists might release snakes in the crowds or on to the pitch. But the two Tests went off without any trouble: a victory for cricket and diplomacy (when crowd trouble came later, at Calcutta, it was of a less political nature). The Chennai Test attracted an estimated 50,000 spectators a day, and the Delhi Test nearly 40,000 a day.
Tests: India 1 Pakistan 1
Confusingly, the `third' Test of the series was designated as a separate game, part of the rather questionable Asian Test Championship, the brainchild of Jagmohan Dalmiya. The tournament was a triumph for Pakistan, who were 26 for 6 against India on the opening day at Calcutta but fought back to win by 46 runs, despite Javagal Srinath's 13 for 142. India were left grumbling about a system of bonus points which left them out of a final in which Pakistan easily beat Sri Lanka. At Lahore, Sri Lanka gained the bonus point needed to eliminate India while Wasim Akram kept himself out of the attack. Pakistan denied any wrong-doing , and India had themselves to blame too; they had squandered a winning position at Calcutta.
Test: India 0 Pakistan 1
The feel-good factor, which the then existing Indian government glorified, spread to the cricketing fields in Pakistan where India toured for a full Test series after 15 years. The Pakistan board, languishing financially due to repeated pull-outs due to security fears, simply had to host India to make amends and what followed was security usually reserved for Heads of State. It was a series where India came of age as a fighting unit under Sourav Ganguly. Karachi, then a cricket-starved city, got to witness the most amazing ODIs which went down to the wire thanks to an unbelievable catch by Mohammed Kaif. Pakistan fought back in the next two ODIs until dew and reckless batting in the early overs led to their undoing in the last two matches. India went on to grab their first ever ODI series win in Pakistan, 3-2. The Tests that followed lacked the crowd response, and India continued their momentum when Virender Sehwag blasted Pakistan out of contention with 309 at Multan, the first triple century by an Indian in Tests. How India managed to skittle out Pakistan twice in the flattest of decks with almost an entire day to spare confounded many. The pitch was again the unfortunate victim of the `blame game' and a seaming track for the next Test at Lahore greeted the teams. Umar Gul was Pakistan's messiah, picking up five Indian wickets on the first day as Pakistan levelled with a ten-wicket win. In Rawalpindi, Pakistan lost eight wickets for next to nothing, and Dravid proved too hot to handle, scoring 270. India won their first-ever Test series win in Pakistan thanks to the innings-and-131-run victory.
Tests: Pakistan 1 India 2
ODIs: Pakistan 2 India 3
The Pakistan team was cruelly tagged by the media as among the worst to reach India's shores. An attack devoid of Shoaib Akhtar and instead spearheaded by Mohammed Sami and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan meant India started as favourites. Controversy began when Pakistan's refused to play a Test at Ahmedabad, citing security reasons. It was accommodated as an ODI venue, changing the itinerary to six one-dayers instead of five. At Mohali (the first Test), with Pakistan staring at defeat with three wickets down for just ten runs after conceding a first-innings deficit of 214, Kamran Akmal and Abdul Razzaq earned Pakistan a draw. At Kolkata, Rahul Dravid took centre stage, scoring centuries in both innings, and Anil Kumble's seven wicket haul was enough for India to go one-up. The Test sparked the dream run of Younis Khan which continued in Bangalore for the third Test. Inzamam, playing in his 100th Test, struck gold with Younis, scoring 184. India looked to be safe after Sehwag's double hundred, until they ran into the Pakistan spinners on the last day. India choked, losing 9 wickets in two sessions as Pakistan gained an unlikely victory to square the series 1-1. In the ODI series, Pakistan looked flogged and weary after India took the first two games, thanks largely to Mahendra Singh Dhoni's blitzkrieg 148 at Vizag. The script changed dramatically as Pakistan took the next four games and the series. India had no answer to two players in particular - Naved-ul-Hasan and Shahid Afridi.
Tests: India 1 Pakistan 1
ODIs: India 2 Pakistan 4
The USP of an India-Pakistan clash had been diluted significantly with India making their second tour of - and playing their third series against - Pakistan in as many years. A poorly scheduled itinerary further degraded the quality of cricket. A sizable amount of time was lost due to fog during the first two Tests in Lahore and Faisalabad. The flat pitches didn't help either and the batsmen thrived: Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid added a mammoth 410 for the first wicket in Lahore - just three short of the record partnership for the opening wicket - while Mohammad Yousuf and Younis Khan in particular scored plenty in both games. Out of 12 players who got to bat in Lahore, six scored hundreds and there were half a dozen more centuries made in Faisalabad. The teams scored 2,791 runs and lost only 36 wickets, an average of nearly 78 runs per wicket during the first two Tests that ended in dreary draws. The bowlers came back strongly in the decider in Karachi with Irfan Pathan taking a hat-trick in the first over of the Test. Kamran Akmal rescued Pakistan from the throes of 39 for 6 and led them to 245, after which their bowlers skittled India to secure a seven-run lead. In the second innings, Pakistan once again plundered the Indian attack and set a target of 607. India were dismissed for 265 during the chase. Pakistan took a 1-0 lead in the one-day series that followed, winning at Peshawar by the Duckworth-Lewis method. However, India scripted a spirited fightback and took the series 4-1, largely due to splendid innings from Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Tests: Pakistan 1 India 0
ODIs: Pakistan 1 India 4
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Martin Williamson is managing editor of Cricinfo
It is 3pm in a small British bar in the tourist state of Goa about 550km south of Bombay – where the country's cricketers are harrying Sri Lanka's batsmen in the early overs of the World Cup final.
It is 28 years since India last won this most cherished of titles in a nation so crazy about the game. There are fewer than nine hours to go until it does so again. But we don't know that yet.
Mohinder Amarnath, the man of the match in the 1983 World Cup, is certain, however, that the moment has arrived to repeat his team's success. Every Indian can realise their dreams through the 11 men on the field today, he says.
He need not have worried. Corrin, the eponymous owner of the Goan bar, is reaching for a brush, and dipping it into the pot of orange acrylic paint on the table in front of her. She holds the arm of the little Indian girl in front of her, draws the first rectangle of the national flag, hands the brush to Sonny, the barman, and watches him draw the white and green stripes. The girl, the daughter of the beautician who runs the shop upstairs, beams, delighted, and skips away to show off her affirmation of support for the home team.
In the street outside, a truck thunders by, horn blaring, Indian flags fluttering in from the cab. The picture is repeated across the country; millions are glued to their televisions or radios, donning their replica shirts, daubing themselves in the national colours. India is partying; each successful delivery from its bowlers greeted by a round of beating drums. The country that has made cricket its national game is certain that this year, finally, it will capture the ultimate prize, the World Cup.
India is certain that this is no more than it is due. It has already celebrated what many in the country regard as the real final, victory over its most reviled opponent, the notoriously unpredictable – unless you happen to be a friendly bookmaker – Pakistan team, which on Wednesday managed to throw away a magnificent bowling performance to lose ignominiously.
And India was desperate for this victory; the humiliation of the Commonwealth Games corruption scandal was still fresh; the country's recent diplomatic successes – not least towards a permanent seat on the UN Security Council – has been overshadowed by fresh concerns about its aspiration to be regarded as a first world nation.
This is a nation demanding international approval: buoyed by the news that projections now show it will overtake China as the world's most populous nation by 2030, there is a sense that its time has come.
As Saturday dawned, prayers were said, puja [offerings to the gods] were made, anything to give the Indian team an edge. Across the country, people painted themselves in the blue of the national team strip or in the orange, white and green of the flag, and prepared to party.
Bars and hotels hiked prices and charged admission to the more rarefied environments. In many places, TV screens were set up and even when the big screen was not an option, the nation gathered anywhere that a television was on, peering over each other's shoulders to catch a glimpse of the match.
In Corrins', even Sonny was applauding as Sri Lanka upped the ante in their final overs, smashing the ball hither and thither. Then a nation of – according to the new census figures – 1.2 billion fell silent as top batsman Sehwag fell to the second ball of the Indian innings.
Yet important as the game was, some felt that there was a sense of anticlimax after the Pakistan game. "The excitement among people is lacking," Manoj Kumar, a hotel manager, told the Times of India.
Not so among the Sri Lankans, who had sidled into the final without the fireworks of the Indian progress. Captain Kumar Sangakkara pulled no punches when he explained what it meant to a country even more desperate for international approval after the end of three decades of bloody civil war: "It means everything. We have come through a very tough period. A lot of people have laid down lives for our country. In this new future, hopefully we can take home the World Cup, and that will be even more occasion for celebration."
Gautam Gambhir, the Indian batsman who stabilised the nation's innings after the loss of influential opener Sehwag, was no less compelling when he told a news channel that India had to win to honour the dead of the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai: "For me it will be dedicated to the people who lost their lives in the 26/11 massacre."
For India, the desire to be taken seriously by other nations in sport is perhaps more important than diplomatic point-scoring. Like its neighbour China, it has been unable to translate a mass of bodies into international sporting success. In terms of international trade, it has come on in leaps and bounds, yet still it is unable to project that power into other fields.
Such desperation for success was reflected in the way many in the country fell back on superstition in their desire to ensure success. One fan, Ritangshu Bhattacharya, from Delhi, assured journalists that he would be attempting to tip the odds in India's favour by defying nature: "I won't pee in the entire match… I feel whenever I go to the loo, a wicket falls or India drops a catch."
Even his stoicism was outdone by one politician from the state of Madhya Pradesh, who stood from 10am to 10pm during the India-Pakistan match.
In Corrins', there is no doubt about who should have won: "You have to support the team, don't you?," she said. "We live here, we have to support the local team, however it goes."
It is 10.45pm, and MS Dhoni, the Indian captain, is hammering the ball to the boundary again. Six to win, two overs. There are fireworks going off everywhere, drowning out the commentary. India knows it has won. It is the Pakistan game all over again: victory from defeat, India defiant.
Six runs, and he smacks it over the boundary. The fireworks explode. In the cities, there is madness; in the villages, too, people are hugging and screaming. The firecrackers are exploding, the night a blur of colour. India wins.