3-0 victory: The ‘teesra’ is finally revealed

Published: February 7, 2012

Celebrations after victory in the final Test match against England at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: 

Followers of Pakistan cricket savoured a rare feeling of bone-deep satisfaction last night.

It was rare not only for being the first time in over 100 years that a team won a Test after being bowled out for less than 100 runs.

Rare, for not even the most optimistic firebrand predicted a clean sweep of the world’s number one side. Rare, for a composed, calculated approach defined Pakistan’s play throughout the most controversy-free series for the team in recent memory. Rare, for they were facing a well-rounded, superbly-skilled side that had not lost a series since 2009. Rare, because for almost six years negative headlines have followed the Pakistan cricket team from London to Jamaica to drug-testing laboratories to a roundabout in Lahore and back to London. Rare, for this time it was all smiles – and not just from the ever-beaming Younis Khan, who took the catch of the series to snare a well-set Alistair Cook.

There was much joy, as footage of spontaneous bhangra on TV channels testified. There was perhaps even more gloating, as talk of post-colonial revenge and seemingly limitless word-play on ‘whitewash’ filled the online feeds. But as the final wicket fell in a largely empty stadium in Dubai, a quiet relish filled the hearts of millions of Pakistanis watching on television.

If you had licked their hearts during the moments of crises, some of which are listed above, it would have poisoned you. Today it would taste sweeter than five cartons of mithai.

Of course, the game is just that – a game. But tell that today to the chai wallah, the chief executive, the cynical cricket correspondent: he will laugh at you louder than those watching Ian Bell flap, flail and fail against Saeed Ajmal.

The win has lifted a nation. In these under-funded, over-nuanced days, this is a considerable achievement. As a metaphor for a wounded animal – some of the wounds self-inflicted, others not – which has risen with measured intelligence, reasoned aggression and, above all, grace, the success of the Pakistan cricket team should be lionised for many moons.

On the field, England had been set 324 to win. The spinners, Ajmal and Abdur Rehman, slowly spun Pakistan into hunting distance, before an Umar Gul spell set the victory parade in motion, England falling short by 71 runs.

Monty Panesar was the last man to get out, unfortunately showing no sense of occasion when, clearly without a hope of overturning his lbw verdict, he suspended celebrations by ‘going upstairs’ for a television review. It was perhaps a suitable end for a series, which has highlighted the effectiveness but also lingering question marks over the DRS system. The series also had the most lbw decisions ever in a three-match series: Monty’s was the 43rd.

Pakistan are now unbeaten in seven series under Misbah ul Haq. Aside from the team, the captain himself has lived out a real-life version of the phoenix myth. Yet it is the entire squad and its backroom staff and, dare we say it, the much-maligned Pakistan Cricket Board which must be credited for rising from the ashes since those very long, very dark nights of the soul when the spot-fixing scandal broke in mid-2010. It is already one of the great sporting stories of the generation.

The sun-baked pitches of Dubai and Abu Dhabi have also proved a surprise. Many expected dull games: essentially batting paradises masquerading as cricket matches. Before the series, 0-0 was a serious prediction, perhaps even more plausible than 3-0 to Pakistan.

We have all been proved wrong. Rarely has that felt so good.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2012.

on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook

Reader Comments (21)

  • Hafiz Shah Ali
    Feb 7, 2012 - 6:29AM

    We are pround of our team.They have given the nation something to cheer about and be happy.
    Corruption,bad governance,inflation had made us all sad and loose hope

    Pakistan Zindabad!

    PS: India; how about a re-match of the World cup Semi Finals?

    Recommend

  • Feb 7, 2012 - 7:24AM

    I like the post.Truly depicted

    Recommend

  • Feb 7, 2012 - 7:30AM

    We are just 10, 9, 3, and 3 points behind England, South Africa, Australia and India and hence reaching the top slot is quite possible and should now be the goal of our team. Our batting and catching too needs to be improved. Go ahead Pakistan cricket team and clinch the top slot!

    Recommend

  • Salahuddin
    Feb 7, 2012 - 7:34AM

    Imran, excellent piece, you have beautifully put on paper the feelings of the cricket loving nation.

    Recommend

  • Sweet Dee
    Feb 7, 2012 - 8:06AM

    This goes to show Pakistani resilience. The phoenix(Pakistan) will rise from the ashes soon, God Willing.

    Recommend

  • Overcautious
    Feb 7, 2012 - 8:57AM

    Mission Green Accomplished!!!!

    Recommend

  • Fahad
    Feb 7, 2012 - 9:11AM

    Congrats for Green Shirt.Hope they will show the same kind of play in future.Wish you good Luck.
    Puri qaum ko mubarak.

    Recommend

  • The Pointer
    Feb 7, 2012 - 9:24AM

    Boom Boom Pakistan :)

    Recommend

  • Eye opener
    Feb 7, 2012 - 9:27AM

    The series also had the most lbw decisions ever in a three-match series: Monty’s was the 43rd. thats kind of funny :)

    Recommend

  • meekal ahmed
    Feb 7, 2012 - 9:34AM

    excellent!

    Recommend

  • syed
    Feb 7, 2012 - 9:58AM

    Justice has been served. Our players were set up by News of the World

    Recommend

  • ahmad
    Feb 7, 2012 - 10:55AM

    What will PTI chief Imran Khan say now. When team was not performing well he used to say ” jaisa mulk ka SADAR hota hay wasi hey teem bhi ho gee”. Now what……

    Recommend

  • Beatle
    Feb 7, 2012 - 11:29AM

    While sharing the hearty pleasure and deep appreciation for the team, I think its high time now to plan as to how we can sustain the winning streak. Our bowlers may not find similar tracks on foreign tours. We have to be equally prepared for ‘fast pitches’, which are preferred overseas. Otherwise, God forbid, we may have to face the situation like India is in today. You know they are being touted as “Ghar Ka Sher”.

    Recommend

  • Feb 7, 2012 - 11:33AM

    By eliminating trouble makers, our team produced classic result. We should kick out all those who ever created confusion in dressing rooms. Malik and Rana Naveed should not be recalled again for their revolt against Younus Khan. Younus proved how sincere he is for Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • M. Akram
    Feb 7, 2012 - 11:53AM

    Having surgically removed the corrupt, trouble making and self centered jailed Trio the Pakistani team has delivered on national pride. The Cancer has been removed and a lesson of honesty, professionalism, hard work, team spirit and Pakistan first delivered to all new comers in this game as well as those harboring such intentions in the future. Keep up the good work and success will be yours Team Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Reema Shakeel
    Feb 7, 2012 - 11:58AM

    You trap our players… we kick you in you-know-where! Way to go Team Pakistan!

    Recommend

  • sid
    Feb 7, 2012 - 1:31PM

    they played for Pakistan, and after 1992 world cup, i saw the players yearning and fighting for glory, may Allah grant us more smiles and more victories amen! Well done team Pakistan, Pakistan Zindabad

    Recommend

  • A
    Feb 7, 2012 - 2:45PM

    I really liked this piece of writing very truly reflecting our feeling. I wish you would have also mentioned Rare, for a team who were playing on neutral venue.

    Recommend

  • Feb 7, 2012 - 6:44PM

    What a marvellous victory!after kardars oval test victory against england and Imrans Wrld cup victory this is as substantive achievement for misbahs team .This proves that motivation and sincerity of purpose is the art to groom the team to take the country to these heights.Well done boys .we are proud of you.

    Recommend

  • Amir Wins
    Feb 7, 2012 - 10:46PM

    I like the headline, good piece Imran

    Recommend

  • Muneeb
    Feb 8, 2012 - 12:11AM

    Hats off for “Imran Yusuf”.A very well written and sensational reading. Good work, Imran.

    Recommend

More in Sports