The Chennai Test match between the two longtime rivals is remembered affectionately not only for the batting prowess of Sachin Tendulkar and the spin wizardry of Saqlain Mushtaq, but also for the victory lap taken by Wasim Akram and company after denying India an easy victory.
At Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium in 1999, India and Pakistan played in a highly anticipated Test encounter. As the tense game neared its conclusion, the team needed only 17 runs to defeat their bitter rivals. The Master Blaster, Sachin Tendulkar, was the inspiration behind India’s assault and left a lasting impression with his outstanding batting performance. Tendulkar looked to be leading Team to triumph after he smashed two consecutive boundaries off Pakistan’s master spinner Saqlain Mushtaq. The stadium was tense as spectators anxiously anticipated the result.
Tendulkar was getting ready to make the game-winning shot when Mushtaq executed a masterful “doosra” throw. When The Little Master mistimed his shot and was out, the Team batting order unexpectedly crumbled, and the Pakistani squad shocked everyone by winning. Every cricket supporter will always have a bittersweet memory of India’s heartbreaking defeat in that game, which was snatched away from them just as they were about to win.
Pakistan shocked the cricket community with a historic victory over the Asian giants in their own territory thanks to Mushtaq’s deception of Tendulkar and the lower order of team falling like ninepins. Tendulkar’s poorly timed lofted shot allowed Akram and company to mount a late recovery in the gripping match in Chennai Test. Therefore, how did Pakistan defeat Tendulkar? Recently, former Pakistani captain Akram explained how the Sultan of Swing planned the Master Blaster’s jackpot catch.
“The Chennai Test holds a particular place in my heart. We were able to use reverse-swing because of the intense heat and bare field. Saqlain Mushtaq, one of our top spinners at the moment, was another asset. The doosra delivery he was making at the time was unpickable. After the opening session, Sachin [Tendulkar] played him effectively. Sachin always attempted the lap shot just behind the keeper when bowling the doosra. He perfected a very difficult shot to play against the doosra of the off-spinners, which is why Sachin was among the best of all time “Akram spoke with Sportstar.
When Sourav Ganguly was eliminated by spin-bowling legend Mushtaq in the 42nd over, the team was reduced to 5-82. India mounted a comeback when asked to hunt down the 271-run target in the second innings thanks to Tendulkar, who smashed a magnificent century to keep the hosts in the match. In Madras, Tendulkar teamed up with Nayan Mongia (52), and the two were successful in putting India in the lead. However, after Akram had dismissed Mongia in the 92nd over, Tendulkar followed the circuitous route back to the pavilion.
“The contest was extremely close, as I recall. Tendulkar was batting on 136 when they (India) required 20 or so runs to win, and I just remembered talking to Saqlain one ball earlier. I instructed Saqlain to deliver his doosra outside off-stump and to give it some air because I anticipated Sachin would attempt to hit it through midwicket with every fielder on the boundary and Sachin facing. That is precisely what took place. He top-edged a six through midwicket, and as I got under the ball, I kept telling myself to “balance, eye on the ball, balance,” “Akram remembered.
To finish off the legendary batting player’s elimination, Akram made the game-changing catch. After Tendulkar left, Pakistani spinners were able to run amok, destroying the Indian team’s back end and securing a victory by 12 runs. The Chennai Test match between the two longtime rivals is not only remembered for Tendulkar’s masterful batting and Mushtaq’s deft use of spin, but also for the victory lap Akram and company took after denying India a straightforward success.
“In the split second before the grab, I was talking to myself while 40,000 people were screaming. Although winning in India was an enormous accomplishment, the standing ovation we received from the audience stunned all of us. Because of the drama, the standing ovation, the tour, and the circumstances, that Test will always hold a unique place in my heart as one of my favorite Test matches. So, thank you Chennaiters residents “continued Akram.