Former Pakistan pacer, Mohammad Asif, recently recalled the incident when Sachin Tendulkar had to close his eyes, while facing few vicious bouncers from Shoaib Akhtar.
The incident took place during the Karachi Test during the 2006 India tour of Pakistan. The first two matches of the series were played in Lahore and Faisalabad which ended in high-scoring draws. As Asif mentioned, India fielded one of the most formidable batting lineups in that era.
During the series, Rahul Dravid opened with Virender Sehwag while VVS Laxman came in number three, followed by Sachin Tendulkar at number four. The middle-order ended with Sourav Ganguly and Yuvraj Singh, with MS Dhoni coming in at number seven.
However, the action shifted to Karachi for the tie-breaker in the three-match series and started brilliantly for the Indians.
Irfan Pathan picked up a hattrick in the first three deliveries bowled in the Test match. But it was Kamran Akmal’s ton which took Pakistan to a respectable total of 240 runs.
In reply, the star-studded Indian line-up was bundled out for 238, and Pakistan posted a daunting total of 599 in the second innings. Faisal Iqbal shone in Pakistan’s second innings with a 139.
“When the match started, Irfan Pathan claimed a hattrick in the first over itself. Our morale was down. Kamran Akmal scored a century lower down the order. We scored around 240 runs,” Asif said on Pakistan TV show ‘The Burgerz’.
During the 4th innings, Akhtar took the ascendancy towards the Indians who were already on the backfoot, trying to salvage a draw. Indians could only manage 265 as Pakistan won the match by a massive margin of 341 runs.
“When we started bowling, Shoaib Akhtar bowled at express pace in that match. I was standing at square leg near the umpire and I myself saw that Tendulkar closed his eyes while facing one or two bouncers bowled by Shoaib,” added the pacer.
“The Indians were playing on the back foot, and we didn’t allow them to score even 240 in the first innings. We snatched victory from the jaws of defeat,” Asif concluded.
In the end, Pakistan won the Test series by 1-0. However, India won the subsequent ODI series by a margin 4-1.