Cricket World Rewind: #OnThisDay - Pakistan register historic Test win at Lord's as Amir's fall comes full circle
July 17, 2016 - The same venue which had seen Amir's career go into a free fall became witness to his return to international cricket. The metaphorical circle had truly been completed.
On their tour of England six years ago, Pakistan were jolted when the team lost the last Test at Lord's by an innings and 225 runs, thus losing the series 3-1.
However, one man stood out for Pakistan. It was Mohammad Amir with figures of 28-6-84-6 in the first innings of the Test. Soon after the match, a News of World sting came to light which unearthed the involvement of Mohammad Amir, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif in spot fixing.
After having served his time, Amir returned to the fray for Pakistan. Coincidently, the first Test on the tour of Pakistan in 2016 was hosted by Lord's, the venue of Amir's last international appearance.
The pacer returned under much scrutiny of the media and arguments about whether or not it was the right thing to give him another opportunity.
Misbah-ul-Haq, playing his first Test match in England, struck a century in the first innings. His 114 off 199 deliveries helped Pakistan post 339 runs on the board.
Misbah also became the oldest captain to score a century in Test Cricket. More than his century, it was his press up celebration after reaching the milestone that the knock is remembered for. The celebration was a tribute to the military men who had helped Pakistan prepare for the tour with a camp before they left for England.
Mohammad Hafeez and Asad Shafiq also contributed well. Once Pakistan scored more than 300 runs, their bowlers were always going to be in the game. However, it was a surprise that leggie Yasir Shah was their top wicket-taker with as many as six wickets when the pitch was not turning as much.
Alastair Cook was the top-scorer for England with 81 while Joe Root and Chris Woakes chipped in with 48 and 35 respectively.
Pakistan were bowled out for 215 in the next innings with Shafiq and Sarfaraz Ahmed the top scorers with 49 and 45 respectively. Chris Woakes, on the back of a six-wicket haul in the first innings, picked up another fifer in the second innings, finishing with a match haul of 11 wickets.
James Vince, Gary Ballance and Jonny Bairstow did score half-centuries in the middle order but Yasir shone yet again with 4 wickets while conceding just 69 runs and completing his 10-fer. Mohammad Amir had managed just a solitary wicket in the first innings but made a bigger contribution with figures of 17.5-4-39-2 in the second essay as Pakistan won the match by 75 runs.
"It's been a remarkable turnaround after that 2010 incident. These players showed a lot of respect for the game the way they fought in the last 6 years. Winning a Test match against a top side in their home conditions speaks volumes. Everyone wants him [Amir] to play. Everyone believes he is such a good cricketer, such a fine bowler. Really special for him also that he got the opportunity. Would be a memorable day for him and it's a chance for him to prove to everybody that he is a good kid," said Pakistan captain Misbah after the win.
It was only fitting that Amir breached Jake Ball's defence to castle him and pick up the last wicket that marked Pakistan's victory. The same venue which had seen his career go into a free fall became witness to his return to international cricket. The metaphorical circle had truly been completed.
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