On This Day: Hanif Mohammad plays a marathon knock

On this day 66 years ago, Hanif Mohammad played a historic knock resulting in Pakistan drawing a test match against the West Indies.

On 23rd January 1958, Hanif Mohammad from Pakistan played a marathon knock which etched his name in the history of the sport. The Pakistani opener batted for a whopping 970 minutes ensuring his side does not face the defeat at the hands of the mighty West Indies. Here is a look at what happened in the historic match.

West Indies batters make use of home advantages

In the first test of the Pakistan tour of the West Indies at Bridgetown, West Indies skipper, Gerry Alexander won the toss and decided to bat first. Alexander’s decision to bat first was well-backed by his batters as they scored 579 runs while batting for 172.2 overs. Opening batter, Conrad Hunte scored 142 runs while Everton Weekes missed out on his double-century scoring 197 runs. Garry Sobers and Collie Smith too scored half-centuries. 

Advertisement

From Pakistan, Fazal Mahmood and Mahmood Hussain were the two positives as the duo picked up seven wickets between them. Fazal dismissed Hunte, Rohan Kanhai and Eric Atkinson while Hussain dismissed Sobers, Weekes, Denis Atkinson and skipper Alexander.

West Indies skittle out Pakistan for 106 runs

Facing a massive total of 579, Pakistan’s batters were rendered useless in the second innings facing the West Indies bowlers. Fast bowler, Roy Gilchrist took four wickets while half-centurion from the first innings, Smith also picked up a three-fer. 

For Pakistan, opening batter, Imtiaz Ahmed top-scored with 20 runs while Hanif and Wallis Mathias, the first non-muslim player to play for Pakistan scored 17 runs. Pakistan only managed to score 106 runs with six players recording fewer runs than the nine extras.

Hanif Mohammad saves Pakistan

After conceding a lead of 473 runs, Pakistan was asked to follow on. The top scorer from the second innings, Imtiaz stuck with Hanif for a long time sharing a 152-run opening partnership. Imtiaz was dismissed by Gilchrist but Hanif was not done and had his work cut out. A 112-run second-wicket stand with Alimuddin and a 154-run third-wicket stand with Saeed Ahmed weren’t enough as Pakistan were still behind the eight ball with the West Indies still leading by 55 runs at the fall of the third wicket. A 121-run stand with Wazir Mohammad for the fourth wicket helped Pakistan to clear the deficit. 

Among all these century stands, Hanif was the common name as he batted for 970 minutes (more than 16 hours). He made it into the record books by batting for 970 minutes as the longest innings in test cricket a record which was previously held by Englishman, Leonard Hutton for 17 years. Hanif’s record still stands strong after 66 years.

His historic brave knock did not only help Pakistan to bat for 319 overs eventually drawing the match but his 337 runs also helped Pakistan to gain a sizeable lead of 184 runs. When Pakistan declared at 657/8 the West Indies were left with a target of 185 runs and only 11 overs to bat. The hosts batted out the 11 overs remaining in the game without losing a wicket as the visitors ensured a famous draw courtesy of Hanif Mohammad.