Pakistan's Tour of Australia - Men's
Australia v Pakistan: Five famous Gabba Tests
Since their first clash at the Gabba 38 years ago, Australia and Pakistan have fought out some memorable duels at the famed Brisbane venue
10 November 2019, 02:48 PM AEST
The 2019-20 Domain Test Series summer gets underway at the Gabba, where Australia's men's team have not experienced defeat in more than three decades.
Pakistan have never won a Test at Brisbane's daunting venue, even though their historic strengths of audacious strokeplay and peerless swing and seam bowling would appear well suited to what has long been considered Australia's truest Test surface.
However, there has been some memorable duels fought at the Gabba between teams whose intense rivalry was palpable from the first occasion they clashed in Queensland 38 years ago.
1981-82 (Second Test)
Pakistan's fifth Test tour to Australia had kicked off in intemperate fashion at Perth where local hero Dennis Lillee and visiting captain Javed Miandad came to blows in the middle of the WACA Ground. It was only the urgent intervention of umpire Tony Crafter that seemingly prevented Miandad from striking Lillee with his bat after the fast bowler had aimed a kick at the Pakistan skipper's leg.
The tourists then opposed the appointment of Crafter and his fellow official Mel Johnson in the second Test at the Gabba, but that proved to be the least of their problems.
Rather, it was Lillee's bowling (5-81 including his 300th Test wicket) that saw Pakistan rolled for 291 on the opening day, and then an imperious double-century compiled by Greg Chappell that underpinned Australia's 10-wicket win.
This was Chappell's first Test series since the uproar of the previous 'underarm' summer that led him to sit out Australia's 1981 UK tour, now remembered as 'Botham's Ashes'. The reinstated captain had struggled with Pakistan seamer Imran Khan's disarming old-ball in-swing at the WACA, but relished the return to his adopted home patch 10 days later.
Chappell's 201 was hardly his most entertaining knock – it contained just six boundaries – but it was the only three-figure score of his team's innings that stretched across three days, and the sole century of the match.
Having been reduced to 8-26 (before bowled out for 62) in their first innings at Perth, Pakistan's batters were slowly coming to terms with fast, bouncy Australian pitches. However, they proved no match for Lillee on the final day at the Gabba, and to the fast bowler's very public delight his 4-51 meant he'd knocked over arch-rival Miandad in both innings.
Pakistan 291 (Zaheer Abbas 80, Lillee 5-81) and 223 (Mohsin Khan 43, Lillee 4-51, Yardley 4-77) lost to Australia 9(dec)-512 (G. Chappell 201, Wood 72, Imran Khan 4-92) and 0-3 by 10 wickets
1983-84 (Second Test)
A summer best remembered as the curtain call for acknowledged greats Greg Chappell, Dennis Lillee and Rod Marsh (leaving a yawning hole in Australia's Test stocks for years to follow) was also the one and only tour in which Pakistan were scheduled to play five Tests.
That the tourists rarely looked likely to win any of those matches was hardly surprising given the off-field turmoil that unfolded from the campaign's outset. Zaheer Abbas had been appointed captain due to Imran Khan's debilitating shin stress fracture, only for Imran to be unilaterally reinstated as skipper by the Board president on the eve of the tour, even though the great all-rounder was clearly unable to bowl.
The folly of that decision, which was accompanied by the sacking of Pakistan's entire selection panel, was evident when the team arrived in Australia with Imran so hobbled he was advised to undertake no physical activity for two weeks. Furthermore, Pakistan were without their second-best performed seamer Sarfraz Nawaz who had earned a six-month ban for criticising the same selectors who had since been removed.
Instability was partly to blame for Pakistan's innings defeat in the first Test at Perth, and would have cost them the second at the Gabba had Brisbane not been subjected to bouts of heavy rain.
As it was, the visitors were skittled for 156 on a heavy, humid opening day at Brisbane and their already flagging spirits further evaporated as Australia piled on more than 500. In his final Test appearance at his home venue, 35-year-old Chappell top-scored with an unbeaten 150 and forged a 171-run stand with another repatriated local hero, Allan Border.
At 3-82 and still 271 runs adrift of Australia's first innings, Pakistan welcomed the storms that washed out the fifth day as one of the few fortunate turns on that forgettable tour.
Pakistan 156 (Zaheer Abbas 56, Lawson 5-49) and 3-82 drew with Australia 7(dec)-509 (G. Chappell 150no, Border 118, Hughes 53).
1995-96 (First Test)
Rarely has an Australia Test summer arrived against such a sub-plot of drama and intrigue. Barely a year after a scandal-tinged tour to Pakistan, during which several Australia players (including Shane Warne) alleged they were approached by opponent Saleem Malik and offered money to under-perform, Malik was in the starting line-up for the series opener at the Gabba.
Malik had helped set the showdown scene by announcing his disdain for Australia soon after landing, but his role in the ensuing episode proved as fleeting and ineffectual as his team's competitiveness.
The former Pakistan captain featured in the game's first dismissal when he plucked a diving one-handed catch to remove Mark Taylor but, in the process, split webbing which required six stitches and he took minimal part in the Test from then on.
By contrast, Warne dominated the on-field action as well as the post-match verbals. His 7-23 in Pakistan's first innings might well have surpassed the career-best 8-71 he'd claimed against England at the Gabba a year earlier if Malik had been sufficiently fit to bat.
Instead, the visitors' innings ended 9-97 with Malik confined to the sheds, and 366 runs in arrears as they followed-on. Opener Aamir Sohail came agonisingly close to history as the first Pakistan batter to post a Test century at the Gabba, but his dismissal for 99 triggered a tailspin in which the last seven wickets fell for 23.
Among those was Malik, who had returned to the fray at number eight, with his damaged hand heavily bandaged. He endured for only four deliveries, before falling to Warne for a duck.
"It showed that there is justice in the game," Warne noted with trademark bluntness after Australia had sealed victory by an innings, and he had pocketed another player of the match prize.
Australia 463 (S.Waugh 112no, Taylor 69, Waqar Younis 3-101) defeated Pakistan 97 (Warne 7-23) and 240 (Aamir Sohail 99, Inzamam-ul-Haq 62, Warne 4-54, McGrath 4-76) by innings and 126 runs
1999-00 (First Test)
The outfit Wasim Akram led to Australia in 1999 brought with them greater hope of Test series success than any Pakistan team to have toured, before or since.
Hellbent on avenging the World Cup final defeat earlier that year, the mercurial Akram was supplemented by the world's fastest bowler Shoaib Akhtar. Pakistan's line-up also boasted batting heavyweights Inzamam-ul-Haq, Saeed Anwar and Mohammad Yousuf, all-rounders Azhar Mahmood and Abdul Razzaq, with mystery spinner Saqlain Mushtaq who was tipped to rival Shane Warne's impact.
By contrast, Australia fielded some fresh faces with Jason Gillespie still sidelined after a horror fielding mishap in Sri Lanka. Queensland coach John Buchanan took over from Cup-winning supremo Geoff Marsh, and limited-overs star Adam Gilchrist was preferred to local favourite and deposed vice-captain, Ian Healy.
Gilchrist was prepared for a hostile reception from Gabba fans, many of whom shared Healy's belief that the veteran might have been afforded a farewell home Test in recognition of services rendered. But Healy then penned a newspaper column prior to the match calling for Brisbane to get behind the new gloveman, and the fans soon found good reason to raise their voices in celebration.
Pakistan's 367 remains their best first-innings effort at the Gabba, but it was quickly dwarfed by the hosts' 575 built on an opening stand of 269 between Michael Slater and Greg Blewett, and iced by a typically crisp 81 from 88 balls by Gilchrist on debut.
When Pakistan crashed to 3-37 in pursuit of the 208-run shortfall, the hopes they had carried to Australia seemed set to vapourise in the Brisbane humidity. Anwar averted calamity with his nation's first Test ton at the Gabba, and a 177-run partnership with Yousuf. However, defeat by 10 wickets set the tone for another winless Australia tour for Pakistan as Buchanan's team set their sights on a record run and tag of 'the new Invincibles'.
Pakistan 367 (Mohammad Yousuf 95, Inzamam-ul-Haq 88, Saeed Anwar 61, Fleming 4-65) and 281 (Saeed Anwar 119, Mohammad Yousuf 75, Fleming 5-59) lost to Australia 575 (Slater 169, M. Waugh 100, Blewett 89, Shoaib Akhtar 4-153) and 0-74 by 10 wickets.
2016-17 (First Test)
The Gabba's maiden day-night Test united teams that had known diverse recent fortunes. Pakistan had briefly claimed top billing on the world Test rankings during a famous tour of the UK, while Australia's free-fall after a 0-3 loss in Sri Lanka continued at home with defeat to South Africa.
That rare humiliation brought a sharp response, with new Test caps issued to Matthew Renshaw, Peter Handscomb and Nic Maddinson, as well as a recall for keeper Matthew Wade. Pakistan's more experienced batting, led by 42-year-old captain (now national coach) Misbah-ul-Haq, coupled with the potency of swing bowler Mohammad Amir and leg spinner Yasir Shah meant the tourists arrived exuding quiet confidence.
Pakistan's only experience of day-night Test cricket had come in Dubai two months earlier, but the threat that Amir, Wahab Riaz and Rahat Ali seemed set to pose with the pink ball was expected to help negate the novelty factor.
However, it was the rebranded hosts who called the tune from the moment they consigned Pakistan to the field on day one, and the Test proved more one-sided than the final margin indicates.
Centuries to Steve Smith and Handscomb and Renshaw's maiden Test fifty lifted the hosts to 429, before Pakistan crumbled under lights to be 8-97 come the close of day two. Smith chose not to enforce the follow-on next afternoon, instead chasing quick runs to set a fanciful fourth innings target of 490.
The game was effectively decided when Pakistan slid to 7-312 on the fourth evening, and umpires agreed to extend play by 30 minutes to potentially secure the result that beckoned. But undaunted middle-order bat Asad Shafiq found sturdy support from his tailenders as the victory target reduced, and Australia's frustrations escalated.
Ultimately, Pakistan finished 39 runs short and claimed satisfaction from posting the highest fourth-innings Test total on Australia's turf. In turn, Smith lamented his recast team's inability to be "a little more ruthless" even though a redemptive series win suddenly loomed.
Australia 429 (Smith 130, Handscomb 105, Renshaw 71, Wahab Riaz 4-89, Mohammad Amir 4-97) and 5(dec)-202 (Khawaja 74, Smith 63) defeated Pakistan 142 (Sarfraz Ahmed 59 not out, Hazlewood 3-22, Bird 3-23, Starc 3-63) and 450 (Asad Shafiq 137, Azhar Ali 71, Younis Khan 65, Starc 4-119, Bird 3-110) by 39 runs.
Domain Test Series v Pakistan
Australia squad: TBC
Pakistan squad: Azhar Ali (c), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan Snr, Iftikhar Ahmed, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Musa Khan, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah.
Warm-up match: v Australia A, November 11-13, Perth Stadium (d/n)
Warm-up match: v Cricket Australia XI, November 15-16, WACA Ground
First Test: November 21-25, Gabba (Seven, Fox & Kayo)