When India were touring Zimbabwe in 2005, a 20-year-old Irfan Pathan, playing in his 15th Test, enjoyed a memorable outing by picking 12 wickets in Harare against Zimbabwe in a game which was also Heath Streak’s final Test match.
In the second match of the Test series, India elected to bowl first. Pathan proved the captain Sourav Ganguly’s decision right and demolished the batting line-up of Zimbabwe with figures of 7/ 59, helping India to restrict them to 161.
After Pathan gave a tough time to the hosts, India made steady start in the first innings by putting 366 in the board with Gautam Gambhir making 97 and Dravid scoring 98, while Pathan made 32.
However, Zimbabwe made a decent start in the second innings with Hamilton Masakadza (71), and Andy Blingnaut’s 84 helped the hosts avoiding an innings defeat. Pathan shined again and picked 5/67, totalling 12 wickets for 126 runs in the match and helped India in sealing a ten-wicket victory on Day 3.
This remains Irfan Pathan’s best performance in his Test career.
Pathan was also awarded man of the match and eventually rewarded with the man of the series title for picking a total of 21 wickets in the two Tests.