NEW DELHI: The 1999 Chennai Test between India and Pakistan is one of the most widely talked about matches in the longest format between the two sides. India’s chase of the target of 271 alone was an affair that kept swinging both ways before Pakistan finally secured a 12-run win.
Waqar Younis led the Pakistan bowling attack along with captain Wasim Akram that also featured spin legend Saqlain Mushtaq, who picked five wickets in the second innings to derail the Indian chase.
“We took a new ball and first Nayan Mongia hit one in the air. I think he was in a rush or I don’t know what went through his mind,” Waqar said on The Greatest Rivalry Podcast. “He thought the game was over and they won that game, and they got a little complacent, especially Mongia. And once he got out, we were still sort of thinking, ‘That’s not going to happen, we are not going to win this game. Till the time Sachin is there, it’s not going to happen.'”
Pakistan captain Wasim Akram (left) and Indian skipper Mohd Azharuddin shake hands after the toss on the first day of the first Test on January 28, 1999. (File Pic – Photo by John Macdougall/AFP via Getty Images)
Pakistan’s good start in the fourth innings was somewhat undone by a 136-run stand between Nayan Mongia and Sachin Tendulkar for the sixth wicket. Even after Mongia’s dismissal, Tendulkar was standing between Pakistan and victory and it was only a mistake from him that led to his fall on 136.
“I don’t really know, to be honest, what Sachin was thinking at the time. Because they were cruising, it was not an issue, they still had four wickets in hand and they needed, I think, 16 runs,” Waqar said.
“The way he was batting, it was just out of this world. And then in the very next over, I think, to Saqlain, Sachin hit one in the air and that was it. That confidence, that belief started creeping in that now we will not allow them to get those 15-16 runs, whatever was required.
“And then Saqlain just got all over them. It was hard for them to defend, or to hit out and they were losing wickets. And I think they lost all four wickets in something like five or six overs, or maybe less. It was some Test match. I would say one of the best Tests I watched, I played and I witnessed.”
India were 254/7 when Tendulkar departed and within the next six overs, they were all out for 258 with Saqlain dismissing Sunil Joshi and last man Javagal Srinath and Wasim dismissing Anil Kumble. Famously, the Chennai crowd ended up giving a standing ovation to Pakistan for their performance.