Pakistan v West Indies, 1st Test, Day One – 5 Talking Points

Pakistan v West Indies, 1st Test, Day One – 5 Talking Points

Pakistan batsman Azhar Ali
Pakistani batsman Azhar Ali (L) raises his bat as he celebrates after scoring a century (100 runs) next to his teammate Sami Aslam on the opening day of the first day-night Test between Pakistan and the West Indies at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in the Gulf Emirate on October 13, 2016.
(Photo credit AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Pakistan dominated the Day one of the historic Pink ball Test, piling on 279/1 after Misbah-ul-Haq won the toss and elected to bat first. Openers Azhar Ali and Sami Islam made a merry of the toothless West Indies bowling attack in batting friendly conditions, putting up a double century stand. The Pakistanis began as favourites after the routing the visitors in the limited overs competition.

But, West Indies were expected to come up with better performance in the longer format. However, that couldn’t happen. Jason Holder and Shannon Gabriel were made to sweat out the whole day without any success. Spinners Devendra Bishoo and Roston Chase also found nothing from the surface and posed no threat to Azhar Ali and Sami Islam. Their bowlers didn’t seem excited at all and played in an extremely dull fashion in front of the handful of the crowd which had come to watch the game.

1. 400th Test for Pakistan

The first ever Pink ball test at the Dubai International stadium was also the Pakistan cricket team’s 400th test. Pakistan was given Test status on 28 July 1952, following a recommendation by India, and made its Test debut against India at Feroz Shah Kotla Ground, Delhi under their first captain Abdul Hafeez Kardar.

The team which had legends like Hanif Mohammad and Fazal Mahmood in its line-up in its inaugural Test which they lost by an inning and 70 runs. Out of the 399 Test matches they have till now, Pakistan has won 128, lost 113 and drew 158. The team has the third-best win/loss ratio in Test cricket of 1.13, and the fifth-best overall win percentage of 32.08%.

2. Run fest:

It was an easy day for the Pakistanis. Azhar Ali ended his dry run while Sami Islam was unfortunate to have missed out on his century by 10 runs. Both dominated the West Indians throughout the day, putting up 215 runs for the first wicket before Sami Islam fell in the 68th over. No.3 Asad Shafiq (33 off 66) kept Azhar’s company at the end of the day.

The stand was highest opening wicket stand in the UAE. The previous highest opening stand in the UAE was the 178 run stand between Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez against New Zealand in Abu Dhabi in 2014-15. Azhar and Aslam’s partnership is the first double-century partnership for any team in the UAE.

3. Azhar Ali slams the first Pink ball century:

Azhar finally was back to his old rhythm after facing a lean patch. Ali came in as an opener and batted throughout the day to finish unbeaten at 146. Azhar as an opener, he had made only 193 runs in seven innings prior to this match.

He had not made a single fifty; his highest was 49. But, a placid batting track and an ineffective bowling attack meant he faced no trouble in garnering runs and reach hi 11th test century. All his previous ten centuries were scored at No. 3.

4. Sami Islam – The exciting young talent:

Pakistan is currently undergoing a sort of transition phase across all the three formats. But, they aren’t facing any difficulties in the as the change has been going along smoothly with some exciting youngsters making headlines. Inzamam-ul Haq’s strategy to infuse of young blood has revitalised Pakistan.

Babar Azam batted like a run machine in the limited overs format and now, in the first test, Sami Islam has done the same. The left-hander impressed in the England tour continued to shine and hit a fabulous 90 run knock batting with senior pro Azhar Ali.

5. No Swing, No Reverse swing:

The pitch at the Dubai International Stadium had the typical batting friendly look to it. It was dry and there wasn’t any grass on the surface. The bowlers were left completely at the mercy of the batsman. There was not one moment in the entire day’s play were West Indies bowlers could assert pressure in the Pakistan openers who looked immovable.

There was no wing on offer with the new Kookaburra Pink ball. Fast bowlers Jason Holder, Shanon Gabriel and Miguel Cummins bowled short most of the time with a fear of getting hit. It was anticipated that the ball would do something under the lights as it got older. Holder and pace battery would have though trying to reverse the ball. But, the old ball did not give any hint of that also.