Pakistan tour of England in 1996 holds a high point in the countrys cricketing history. Although Englands ODI record was far superior in this head to head battle, Pakistan were just a few wins behind in the Test cricket stakes. Pakistan won the 3 test series 2-0.
The three test series is best remembered for some outstanding performances by Saeed Anwar, Ijaz Ahmed, Inzimam-Ul-Haq & leg spinner Mustaq Ahmad. Saeed Anwar scored the highest number of runs for Pakistan in the series. Furthermore, in (captain) Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, Pakistan boasted, respectively, the men who were presently the second and third-best wicket takers of all time against England.
After a tumultuous test series between the sides on English turf in 1992, many cricket lovers in both the nations doubted that there could ever be a successful test series between the sides again. Nonetheless, the first test began on 25 July 1996 in sporting fashion, and immediately created a proud display of strong-arm bowling which set the tone for the summer. Pakistan won the first test by 164 runs at Lords.
Waqar, although no longer a fast bowler which he used to be in his devastating peak, had still retained the cunning ability to swing a ball and deceive even the best batsmen. Waqar took eight wickets in the first test and then gave way to Mushtaq Ahmed, a man by then well familiarised with English cricket through a spell with Somerset. Mushtaq was Englands nemesis, outing the team at just 243 runs and took five wickets in the innings. It was one of Englands worst batting collapses in their cricket history.
The second test at Leeds ended in a draw.
Already humiliated, England had only pride to play for in the third test at The Oval, and victory would see the hosts finish at 1-1. But Pakistan, aided by a by now possessed Mushtaq, who once against destroyed the England's batting line up by taking 6 wickets in the second innings. Pakistan got an easy target of 48 which they comfortably made and won the test by 9 wickets. Another shocking batting collapse gave Mushtaq a final tally of seventeen wickets for the series.
Captain Wasim Akram who took three wickets but in this process claimed his 300th Test wicket.
For their part, Pakistan earned the plaudits of a home crowd once filled with hate and contempt. Ultimately, it was a performance that went some way to fixing what was almost an irreparable wound in the sporting relationship between Pakistan and England.