Months after delivering the decisive twist in the 1992 World Cup final in Melbourne, Wasim Akram returned to haunt England again during their home summer, saving his best for the series decider at The Oval.

First published in 2008.

There have been few bowlers in history more capable of scything through a batting line-up than Wasim Akram. A master of conventional and reverse swing, in unison with Waqar Younis he formed one of the most potent bowling partnerships the game has yet seen.

Come the early Nineties, Wasim was at the peak of his powers. Having powered Pakistan to a dramatic victory over England in the 1992 World Cup final, he was a global icon by the time his side touched down at Heathrow later that same year.

Tensions between the hosts and their visitors steadily mounted throughout the series. Aaqib Javed received a warning for intimidatory bowling from the umpires during the third Test, whilst numerous accusations of ball tampering were directed at Pakistan by the English tabloids. Thriving on the animosity, Wasim and Waqar dominated the opening rain-affected matches, before a cussed 168-run partnership between Graham Gooch and Mike Atherton at Headingley levelled the series at 1-1 with just the Oval Test to play.

England won the toss and fought their way to 182-3, but an inspired Wasim was not to be denied. Bowling fast and full, he got the old ball to shape alarmingly, claiming six wickets – three of them clean bowled – as England collapsed to 207 all out. Pakistan responded with 380, before unleashing their twin speedsters once more. Waqar (5-52) dismantled the top-order whilst Wasim (3-36) annihilated the tail with searing yorker after searing yorker.

England collapsed to 174 all out second time around, and Pakistan knocked off the two runs required for victory, securing a hard-fought series that placed the art of reverse swing on the world map.