The other day I described Mahela Jayawardene’s and Thilan Samaraweera’s record partnership as a good record as it was achieved against a front rank test nation. I hereby withdraw my opinion. It was achieved on a road, a track on which, if it were in your back garden, you would back your Granny to bat for most of an afternoon and post a competitive total. At the end of the 4th day, the match aggregate stood at 1218/12. And they wonder why hardly anyone bothers to go and watch test cricket over there. At least the Antigua sandpit might have produced a result, assuming the bowlers managed to get to the crease at any stage.
Younis Khan salutes the groundsman on reaching his triple century
Younis Khan was on 306* overnight at the end of the 4th day (he was dismissed for 313 early on the 5th) in his first match as captain, a really outstanding achievement which is both enhanced and diminished, depending on the context which you choose to apply. From a mental perspective it is a tremendous effort for a man leading his country (who have not played a test for over a year) for the first time, but one which is slightly shrunk by the path of the match and the fact 2 players had already scored double centuries.
Indeed it is the first time 2 captains have scored double centuries in the same match and the first time one test has contained 2 doubles and a triple. By the time Pakistan declared after Kamran Akmal had spanked a quick 158*, the match aggregate had increased to 1409/13 and the world best spin combination, Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis, had posted combined figures of 2 for 329.
Matches like this always feel unsatisfactory. In my view Brian Lara’s 375 was a greater achievement than his 400* because it set up a potentially winning position, albeit one upon which his side did not capitalise. All his 400* did was completely kill a game which, at 3-0 down in the series, the West Indies should have been looking to win for the sake of pride. Individual achievement and the breaking of records is one of the great thrills of cricket but when it becomes the only point of interest in a match then it loses a good deal of its impact.
So this Karachi test has seen plenty of records, some huge batting performances but all of them are rendered basically meaningless and are likely to have done more harm than good for test cricket in the region.