'It was pitch black in the middle and all quite laughable'
Monday 19 October 2015 09:22, UK
After England were denied in Abu Dhabi, Nasser Hussain looks back at their win over Pakistan in the Karachi gloom in 2000...
Our 1-0 series win over Pakistan in 2000 was so special because it came from nowhere.
Everyone assumed all three Tests would be drawn and some of the press guys had already written it up as 'a boring series'.
A 0-0 scoreline did seem on the cards going into the final day of the third Test, which Pakistan began on 71-3 - 88 runs ahead.
But in that type of situation the third innings of a Test can become an absolute nightmare for the side batting because you don't know whether to stick or twist and once we took a couple of wickets I felt we had a chance.
The Pakistan players are heroes to their fans but we felt they could crumble under a bit of pressure, and that's what happened as we skittled them for 158, with Darren Gough and Ashley Giles both taking three wickets, leaving us 176 to chase in under 50 overs.
We had absolutely nothing to lose plus we had the luxury of knowing that we could really go for it with the bat because if we did get into trouble we'd always have the option to claim bad light and walk off with a draw.
I told Michael Atherton I was going to promote some of the one-day boys like Graeme Hick up the order to have a bash but he told me where to go and was completely right too as he was in magnificent nick; he had a strike-rate of around 78, as he will happily tell you, and got us off to a flying start.
But we all knew the light could be a problem and by the end of our run-chase it was absolutely pitch black in the middle. It was all quite laughable really - I remember Inzamam-ul-Haq running one way in the outfield while the ball went in the completely opposite direction! It was that tough.
These days we would never have finished that game because the umpires would have set a benchmark light reading a few days earlier that would have kicked in at around 4pm.
Steve Bucknor was one of the umpires that day. He was someone who liked to be in charge and you didn't try to wind up.
So when Pakistan started to complain about the light - as any fielding side, including us, would have done - and started to slow things down, he had a few words with their captain Moin Khan.
Bucknor was adamant that the game was going to be finished, which my batting partner at the other end, Graham Thorpe, found hilarious, and he duly wound Moin up about it.
To have Thorpey - the little master - out there at the end settled me down, and the moment he hit the winning runs was one of the highlights of my career; I'm sure it's one of his, too.
There were some quite emotional scenes as we made our way up to the dressing room.
It had been a long time since the last tour of Pakistan and we had some bridges to build after the Shakoor Rana incident with Mike Gatting in 1987.
We had a great team spirit on that trip and felt good after playing some quality cricket going into the series, beating the West Indies for the first time in 31 years.
I remember our tour song was a particular favourite of Duncan Fletcher's - 'Who Let the Dogs Out?'!
Duncan's influence in that series was huge, on the playing of spin in particular. He was also a fairly defensive coach, which was perfect for that tour. The side we had were never going to win the series 3-0. We had to sit in and be patient.
This England team will find it very different in the UAE where first innings runs will be absolutely vital; as they found out on their last tour in 2012, you can quickly come unstuck if you're left chasing even 150 in your last innings.
Alastair Cook's players will need to play a different brand of cricket in the UAE than they did in the summer as reverse swing, rather than conventional swing, and spin is going to be so important.
We ticked those boxes in 2000 as Gough and Craig White offered us reverse, while we had a quality spinner in Giles. Their potency proved pivotal in getting that series win.
Live coverage of the second Test between Pakistan and England starts at 6.30am, Thursday, Sky Sports 2. You can also watch without a contract on NOW TV.