After the domination of the Men in Blue during their tour to Pakistan in 2003-04, the Men in Green needed a fitting response in the return series in 2004-05.
Just like India, Pakistan too arrived in their arch-rivals’ backyard after quite a long period of time. The Sourav Ganguly-led Indian team had won both the Test and ODI series in Pakistan so the pressure was immense on Inzamam-ul-Haq and his men when they arrived in India.
Pakistan would have fallen pray to that pressure in the opening game itself and the outcome of the series would have been way different had it not been for 2 boys Abdul Razzaq and Kamran Akmal.
Pakistan only had 4 wickets in hand and a tender lead of 53 runs at the start of Day 5 of the first Test in Mohali.
India’s bowlers led by Lakshmipathy Balaji, who had taken a five-for in the first innings, were in scintillating form and it was just a matter of time before Pakistan’s finalk four wickets fell and India chased down the target to go 1-0 up. However, Akmal and Razzaq provided stunning resiliency.
The duo forged a mammoth 186-run stand for the 7th wicket to deny the hosts what at first looked like a likely victory.
Akmal smashed 109 off 154 balls while Razzaq was dismissed for 71 as Pakistan managed to secure a draw.
Recalling how those two innings that motivated the Pakistan side, Inzamam, who was the skipper of Pakistan in that tour, said the juniors gave the belief to the seniors.
“When a junior cricketer performs the seniors feel ‘if they can do it, why can’t we’. This has happened many times in cricket. We were playing in Chandigarh in 2005, where Razzaq and Kamran Akmal put together a partnership to save the Test match. Akmal scored a century and Razzaq scored 70 odd. Me, Younis Khan, Mohammad Yusuf were sitting inside the dressing room and we realized if two junior cricketers can fight like this and then why can’t we?” said Inzamam on his YouTube channel.
The former Pakistan skipper went onto say how the Akmal-Razzaq stand had motivated his side for the entire series.
“The entire result of the series changed because of those two boys,” said Inzamam.
Pakistan lost the next Test match at Kolkata but came back strongly in Bengaluru to square the series.