West Indies vs Pakistan, 1st Test – 5 Tracking Points

Pakistan won the Jamaica Test match by 7 wickets with an all-round performance.

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Pakistan's captain Misbah-ul-Haq stranded at 99*
Pakistan’s captain Misbah-ul-Haq plays a shot on day four. (Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Pakistan started the 3-match Test series against the West Indies with a 7-wicket win at the Sabina Park in Jamaica. It was a good team performance by Pakistan, who did well in all three facets of the game. They started their quest of winning their first ever Test series in West Indies positively.

The home side, who were put in to bat first by Misbah-ul-Haq, lost half the match in the first session of the first day itself, as their top four batsmen were already back in the hut. The West Indies kept catching up during the entire length of the five days and eventually fell short by some distance.

Younis Khan and Misbah made telling contributions in their final series as Pakistani Test cricketers. Younis reached the much-awaited landmark of scoring 10,000 runs during his crucial innings of 58 in the first innings. Misbah remained unbeaten in both innings scoring 111 runs in the game collectively. Let us look at the five tracking points of the Sabina Park Test between Pakistan and West Indies:

1. Mohammad Amir rips through the top order

Mohammad Amir bowled immaculate lines to register his first five-wicket haul in Tests after his comeback last year. He got rid of the top order of the home team to leave them reeling at 71/5 on the first morning. Amir received support from the other end.

His new ball partner Mohammad Abbas struck on his only second delivery in Test cricket to get the edge of Kraigg Braithwaite which was safely pounced by Younis at second slip.

Amir then took control of the proceedings as he hit timber two times to send Hetmyer and Shai Hope back in a hostile opening spell. He then found the edge of the well set Kieran Powell to pick his third wicket.

The left-arm paceman then cleaned up the tail to record career best figures of 6/44. He got rid of Bishoo, Joseph and Gabriel within his last 19 balls to end West Indies’ innings at 286.

2. Wahab Riaz took a blinder to end a West Indies fightback

When opener Powell was walking back to the pavilion, there was a chance of West Indies getting bowled out on the first day itself. This is when Roston Chase and Shane Dowrich got together to rescue their team. Both applied themselves well to keep the disciplined Pakistan bowlers at bay. They were involved in a rearguard partnership of 118 for the sixth wicket as Yasir Shah toiled hard for 18 overs with no fruitful results.

It took a moment of brilliance to separate them. Chase wanted to hit Yasir over his head but miscued it. The ball went high up in the air and it looked like it will go for a boundary because there was no long-off in place. Wahab Riaz at mid-off quickly sprinted as the ball went over his shoulder.

Just when it looked like that he will not reach, Wahab dived and caught the ball with both hands, defying physics to somehow stop himself from touching the boundary cushions. It was a brilliant catch and Riaz isn’t going to hold on to a better catch in his career.

Chase had to make the long walk back for a well made 63. As they say, one brings two. His partner Dowrick was batting on 56 and was dismissed on the following delivery to end any hopes of a West Indies revival.

3. Solid display by Pakistan batsmen

There were no hundreds in the Pakistani innings but they managed to take a sizeable lead of 121 in the first innings. Babar Azam (72) and Younis Khan (58) laid the platform with a solid 131-run partnership for the third wicket. The good work was carried on by skipper Misbah and Sarfaraz Ahmed as the duo added 88 runs for the sixth wicket. Soon after Sarfaraz fell, Misbah took centre-stage. He raised his half-century off 140 balls but his job was only half done.

Misbah cut loose after reaching his milestone. He batted beautifully with the tail to get handy runs. His last wicket partnership of 34 with Abbas brought him agonisingly close to his hundred. Misbah’s contribution in this partnership was of 33 as he took the attack to the West Indies bowlers. Abbas dismissal ended hopes of a fairytale Misbah century as the skipper was left stranded on 99.

4. Yasir Shah spins his magic

With a lead of 121 runs in their bank and the wicket offering some purchase to the spinners, the stage was set for Yasir Shah to bowl Pakistan to a victory. Brought into the attack in the 11th over, Shah struck on the first ball of his spell to end a solid 22-run opening stand. He took three more wickets before the stumps were drawn to reduce West Indies to 93/4 at the end of Day 4.

They were still trailing by 18 runs and had just 6 wickets in hand and 90 overs to play out, just in case they were wondering of a draw.

Abbas, Amir and Wahab took the next 4 wickets between themselves on the 5th morning as West Indies were in danger of getting bowled out before lunch on Day 5. Yasir Shah then cleaned up the tail to register his 9th Test five-wicket haul. He returned with a highly impressive 6/63 which earned him of the Man of the Match award.

5. Misbah finishes in vintage style

Pakistan were chasing 32 runs to win and it looked like the game will be over before lunch was called. West Indies bowlers – Shanon Gabriel and Jason Holder – produced a spirited performance to send back both the openers just 19 balls into the chase.

Younis and Babar took Pakistan to lunch with just 19 needed to win. Younis then lost his wicket post lunch to leg-spinner Bishoo as he played one across the line and failed to make contact. In walked Misbah. It was only fair that he hit the winning runs for his umpteen contributions to Pakistan cricket in the last 7 years.

He did exactly that and in some style. He blocked the first one from Bishoo and then opened his shoulders on the next two to send the ball sailing over the boundary for consecutive sixes.

Misbah was the real hero with the bat for Pakistan scoring those invaluable 99 runs in the first innings. He didn’t want to muster around in the chase and made his intentions very clear to the West Indies going into the next Test at the Queens Park Oval in Trinidad.

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