Rivalry Week: Inzamam v Glenn McGrath
Take a closer look at the rivalry between Pakistan's great batsman Inzamam-u-Haq and legendary Aussie quick Glenn McGrath
29 July 2018, 01:06 PM AEST
For more than a decade, in eight different countries and across two World Cups, two literal giants of modern cricket faced off on almost 40 occasions. Glenn McGrath and Inzamam-ul-Haq were never regarded as fierce adversaries, but their status as among a handful of the best players in the world meant their individual duels would often prove decisive at international level. In unforgettable Test matches in Karachi, Peshawar and Hobart, and memorable World Cup encounters in Leeds, London and Johannesburg, the pair copped as many blows as they landed on each other and played an important role in the success – or failure – of their respective nations.
Matches played: 39 (13 Tests, 26 ODIs) Times McGrath dismissed Inzamam: 10 Runs scored by Inzamam: 1149 (one century, 12 fifties)
When Inzamam beat McGrath
The 1999 Hobart Test will always be best remembered for Australia's final-day heroics, but the fact the hosts had been backed into a corner in the first place was due in no small part to Inzamam. With the tourists effectively 3-98 when their No.5 walked to the crease early on day three, Pakistan's batsmen needed to show something they have frequently failed to display on Australian soil – middle-order defiance. In union with Ijaz Ahmed, Inzamam shared a 136-run partnership as the right-hander scored his one and only Test ton on Australian soil, a patient 118 against a side so desperate for a breakthrough that eight different players had a turn at the bowling crease. Facing up to an attack led by McGrath, Shane Warne and Damien Fleming, Inzamam stood firm for more than four-and-a-half hours before a once-in-a-lifetime catch from Mark Waugh at slip finally ended his impressive vigil. His knock helped set Australia an improbable 369 to win, a run chase that remains the standout memory from an unforgettable Test.
When McGrath beat Inzamam
Australia's 1998 tour of Pakistan is best remembered for Mark Taylor's record-breaking score of 334 not out in the northern city of Peshawar, an iconic performance in what proved to be Australia's second-ever Test series win in the country and their only triumph there since the late 1950s. But in a series that was so dominated by spin that both teams picked just one frontline quick in their side at stages during the tour, McGrath's return of 12 wickets from three Tests, in his first series following a 10-month injury lay-off, underlines a triumph against the odds. McGrath dismissed Inzamam twice from five innings and he deserved to have made it three; two inexplicable LBW decisions in two deliveries went against the Australian in the second Test when the Pakistan batting ace had just arrived at the crease, the fast bowler's fury only increasing when Inzamam pushed on to a score of 97, the only time he made more than 25 for the series. With Shane Warne missing the tour through injury, new spinner Stuart MacGill earned the plaudits with a nine-wicket haul in the decisive first Test, but coach Geoff Marsh credited McGrath's working over and dismissal of captain Aamer Sohail in that game as the fire-starter that paved the way for a breakthrough triumph. In a series where 11 batsmen averaged more than 40 and McGrath was the only fast man to take more than five wickets, it's a performance that, while easily forgotten in McGrath's glittering career, should not be underestimated.
What they said
"I felt really good, my rhythm was perfect ... when I tried to swing it a little bit, it was swinging. I guess I was in my zone. Wickets kept falling one after the other. It just all clicked." - McGrath reflects on his haul of 8-24 at the WACA in 2004, which included Inzamam for a first-ball duck.