West Indies v Pakistan at Sabina Park, Kingston - 22nd to 26th April 2017



Mohammad Amir breaks through early batting – but Chase and Dowrich strike back – only for Yasir Shah to strike twice in two balls – and then the “tail” hit out

An interesting first day of several changes of fortune at Sabina ended with West Indies, having been put in to bat, scored 244-7 and perhaps held the advantage. Such a comparatively comfortable position on a pitch favouring the bowlers seemed hardly likely when Mohammad Amir (3-28) and Mohammad Abbas (1-42) broke through the early batting and the total stood at 71-5 two balls after lunch. Roston Chase (63) and Shane Dowrich (56) battled throughout the afternoon and into the evening session in a 118 runs partnership which threatened to turn the match round. Both, however, were dismissed in consecutive deliveries by leg-spinner Yasir Shah (2-91). The West Indies middle-order was weakened by the absence of their two leading batsmen, Daren Bravo and Marlon Samuels, for reasons which were known but not necessarily understood. Yet there was another twist to come as Jason Holder (30 n.o.) and Devendra Bishoo (23 n.o.) regained the initiative for the home country in an unbroken 55 runs before the umpires took the players off bad light.
Pakistan took the honours of the morning. It was the 50
th Test Match to be played at Sabina Park but there was no Jamaican in the home side. The match had hardly started when 27 year-old newcomer Mohammad Abbas dismissed Kraigg Brathwaite with his second ball in Test cricket. The Barbadian prodded unsuccessfully at a ball which left him and he was caught by Younis Khan at second slip before he had scored. 20 year-old Shimron Hetmyer, also making his Test debut, joined Kieran Powell. He mixed some good shots with other more fortuitous attempts. The new-ball bowlers seemed to be unable to control the away swing to the two left-handers. Then with the total at 24 Mohammad Amir got through the defence of Hetmyer (11) with a ball which came in sharply, beat him completely, and sent the off-stump cartwheeling. At runs later he did the same thing to right-hander Shai Hope (2).   

After the drinks-break on the first hour Powell, who had not appeared to be troubled, and 28 year-old left-hander Vishaul Singh, another Test debutant from Guyana, starting more shakily, prevented further immediate disaster and took the total beyond 50, but Abbas, particularly, was always dangerous outside the off-stump. Even so was Wahab Riaz (1-66) who at 53 caused Vishaul Singh (9) to clip the ball off his pads to square-leg for Azhar Ali, falling forward, to catch. Roston Chase (12 n.o.) remained with Powell as, not always convincingly, they took the innings into lunch at 71-4.
Coming in to tea at 143-5 Roston Chase (47 n.o.) and Shane Dowrich (27 n.o.) fought back in the afternoon after West Indies had lost Kieran Powell (33) to the second delivery after lunch with no addition to the score. West Indies, having been put into bat were then 70-5after the early batting had failed against the new-ball attack of Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Abbas. Although Pakistan, who had included only four front-liner bowlers, still held the advantage at the tea-break West Indies were in a much better position than had seemed would be likely two hours earlier.
Powell didn’t last long into the second session – edging Mohammad Amir to Younis Khan in the slips. Roston Chase and Shane Dowrich took advantage of the mid-afternoon resting of the opening bowlers, and the pitch beginning to dry, to bring some order to the middle-batting, the very positions in which the missing Samuels and Bravo were needed most, with the highest stand of the innings. Chase brought up the 5 partnership with a six over long-on off spinner Yasir Shah who with third seamer Wahab Riaz struggled to maintain the earlier impetus.

After tea Chase and Dowrich progressed competently with the occasional scare. Dowrich brought up the hundred partnership with a single off Yasir Shah. The stand was paced well with both batsmen hitting boundaries – Chase (7 fours, 1 six), Dowrich (9 fours) – and mishits among the singles. Dowrich reached his half-century with 2 runs to the off-side off Mohammad Amir. The 118-runs partnership was ended spectacularly at 189 by Wahab Riaz running back from a high lofted hit by Chase (63) from Yasir Shah, diving, clutching the ball, and sliding to a halt fractionally inside the boundary rope. From the next ball, the batsmen having crossed, the leg-spinner beat and bowled Dowrich (56). Jason Holder and Devendra Bishoo hit back with some powerful strokes at Yasir Shah’s expense. The former reached the fifty partnership with a reverse-sweep four off the same bowler. Shortly afterwards, after Mohammad Amir had bowled one over with the new ball, the players came off for bad light with 9 overs left.


Mohammad Amir and Jason Holder shine in the time available 

Rain wrecked the second day of the First Test Match at Sabina Park, permitting only slightly under an hour’s play. Even so Mohammad Amir (5-41), who took his first five-wickets in an innings, and Jason Holder (55 n.o.), hitting strongly for his half-century, used that time to advantage so that the match was still poised delicately at 278-9 when a further deluge washed out further prospect of play mid-way into the afternoon. The start was delayed by 4 hours 10 minutes because heavy overnight rain had seeped on to the pitch. So the players sat in the pavilion while the morning and early afternoon sun shone. By the time the match got underway further heavy rain clouds threatened. Jason Holder kept the score moving with off-side fours which luckily did not to go to hand. Devendra Bishoo (28), more restrained, wafted once too often outside the off-stump and edged a wide delivery from Mohammad Amir to wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed at 264 after a 75 runs partnership. Holder reached his fifty by hitting Mohammad Abbas for a clean six over mid-off, followed by a controlled four through third man. Nevertheless the captain was running out of partners – as well as weather - as Mohammad Amir, now bowling round the wicket, bowled Alzarri Joseph for no score at 274. Shannon Gabriel started his innings by driving the same bowler for four at the start of his next over. Mohammad Amir did not get to finish it as rain and poor light caused further interruption of play. Then the deluge began anew.


Mohammad Amir finishes West Indies innings - Younis Khan reaches 10,000 runs – Then Gabriel strikes 

Slowly, surely the Pakistan batsmen were not panicked by the loss of further hours to the weather as they established a strong position on the third day of the First Test Match at Sabina Park finishing 85 runs behind with 6 wickets in hand. After the rain the pitch was more placid than it had been on the opening day and Barbar Azam (72) and Younis Khan (58), who became the first Pakistani to reach 10,000 Test match runs, ground down a West Indies attack which lacked menace in a 131 runs third-wicket partnership. They were able to build on left-arm fast bowler Mohammad Amir’s fine performance which dismissed the host team 286. Shannon Gabriel (2-37) slowed their advance with a double-strike, dismissing, both late in the day.
There was further overnight rain, and a further delay at the start. Play began 30 minutes after the original scheduled time, an hour after the time re-scheduled in an attempt to make up for that which was lost, and after 13 minutes the West Indies innings was over. Mohammad Amir (6-44), in his best Test return bowled Shannon Gabriel (5) with the total at 286 from 95 overs leaving Jason Holder on 57 not out. Azhar Ali’s (15) was the first Pakistani wicket to fall, caught by wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich from a misjudged cut off Alzarri Joseph (1-35) at 23. Seven runs later Holder declined to review a rejected l.b.w appeal against Babar Azam which hawk-eye showed would have been over-turned. Ahmed Shehzad (31) had started to score more freely after a quiet start to the innings when at 54 he played over an in-dipper from Holder and was l.b.w. Lunch was taken 59-2.
In the first over after the interval the West Indies captain failed to hold a stiff caught-and-bowled chance from Babar Azam. The scoring-rate slowed almost to a standstill as Younis Khan, who had announced he would retire from Test cricket at the end of this series, set out to score the 23 which would make him the first Pakistani to reach 10,000 run in Test Matches. Babar Azam broke the strangle-hold by hitting Devendra Bishoo (0-35) for 6 over mid-wicket but it took 40 overs for the score 100 and the 50 partnership came up after 158 deliveries. At tea the score was 125-2.
Younis Khan reached his target by sweeping the second ball after tea, from Roston Chase (0-25), for four. Later in the same over Babar Azam reached his half-century with a boundary to third man. The scoring was now picking up and Younis Khan drove Chase through mid-off to bring up the century partnership. Thus encouraged he hit off-spinner Kraigg Brathwaite (0-22) for 6 over long-on in the next over and reached his fifty with a single off the same bowler. Scoring more freely now Younis Khan (58), who had dominated the spinners, was out at 185 when he drove fast bowler Shannon Gabriel to Brathwaite at cover. In the Trinidadian’s next over Babar Azam (72) chopped the ball into his stumps at 186. Misbah-ul-Haq (5 n.o.) and Asad Shafiq (5 n.o.) were together at the close in declining light with the score on 201-4 from 78.2 overs.



Misbah-ul-Haq’s vigil and Yasir Shah’s late strike give tourists the upper hand

The defiant vigil of Misbah-ul-Haq (99 n.o.) and late strike by leg-spinner Yasir Shah (4-33) gave Pakistan a very good chance of winning the First Test Match at Sabina Park – provided that thr weather holds. The day’s play ended with West Indies on 93-4 still 28 runs behind and with 7 wickets in hand. Misbah-ul-Haq’s was fortunate to survive a chance to gully in the early overs, and, indeed, the West Indies catching left something to be desired. The Pakistan captain with solid support from the middle-batting had blunted some incisive bowling by pacemen Shannon Gabriel (3-92) and Alzarri Joseph (3-71) to take Pakistan to 407 – a lead of 121 runs. Even so the match seemed destined to be an inevitable draw until Yasir Shah dismissed four batsmen late in the day.
The fourth morning started in sunshine half an hour early to make up for some of the time lost. Shannon Gabriel took the new ball almost immediately and was promptly hit for 4 wide of gully by Asad Shafiq who then took two 4s in one over from Alzarri Joseph. West Indies may well have erred in not having a short-leg for most of the innings but when Vishaul Singh was posted there he dropped Misbah-ul-Haq from Gabriel at 229. Seven runs later that batsman turned the Trinidadian for the single that brought up the 50 partnership. Without addition Asad Shafiq (22) got a thin outside edge to a ball from Gabriel, who had tested both batsmen with bouncers, and was caught by wicket-keeper Shane Dowrich. Sarfraz Ahmed soon outpaced his captain, Misbah-ul-Haq whose batting seemed to be moribund at times, and struck leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo (1-106) for 6 over deep mid-wicket. Then he hit Gabriel for the 4 through the off-side which attained the 50 partnership and brought Pakistan level with West Indies at 286. One boundary later Sarfraz Ahmed had overtaken his captain. In the last over before lunch the latter, who had just reached his half-century, was missed off a stumping chance by Dowrich off Roston Chase (1-37). Misbah-ul-Haq, throwing off the shackles closed the session by hitting the Barbadian for 6. After a morning of positive attrition Pakistan were in a sound position, 36 runs ahead on 322-5 with Sarfraz Ahmed on 53 n.o. and Misbah-ul-Haq on 47 n.o.

Two runs into the afternoon Bishoo, from around the wicket, bowled Sarfraz Ahmed (54) behind his legs at 326. Misbah-ul-Haq worked a ball from Joseph onto the on-side for a single to reach his 5,000 runs in Test Matches. His next single, pushing Bishoo to leg, brought his 50. Mohammad Amir had a let-off when he steered Joseph into – and out of – the hands of Shai Hope at gully. The left-hander celebrated in the next over by hitting Bishoo for six over mid-wicket. When Mohammad Amir (11) sparred at Joseph again he was caught by wicketkeeper Dowrich at 341. The young Antiguan maintained the pressure by bowling Wahab Riaz (9), hitting the bails, 14 runs later. Misbah-hul-Haq survived another, though difficult, chance as the diving Dowrich failed to hold a thin leg-glance off Gabriel. His next survival, off the same bowler, was more fortuitous as neither the slip-fielder involved, Kieran Powell, nor umpire Richard Kettleborough could be sure whether the ball had carried. At 373 Yasir Shah (8) set off for a run, turned back a long way down the pitch when his captain refused to respond, and was run out by a direct hit from substitute fieldsman Jermaine Blackwood.  Shortly after Shimron Hetmyer at mid-wicket let a stroke by Misbah-ul-Haq from Gabriel go through his legs for four the batsman put the tourists 100 runs ahead with a single from a no-ball (by Holder) the twelfth of the innings. Thus encouraged he clouted Bishoo for 6 over long-on and then again over long-off. Mohammad Abbas’ fine defence of 20 balls ended with his l.b.w. dismissal to Chase, bringing the innings to a close at 407 from 138.4 overs, a lead of 121 runs, and leaving Misbah-ul-Haq not out tantalisingly for 99 from 223 balls. The DRS review showed that the ball would have hit the stumps by the merest of margins. With that tea was taken.
In the second over of the West Indies second innings Mohammad Abbas got his hand to a sharp return catch from Kieran Powell but could not hold on. It was an over in which both batsmen took fours. The openers continued batting without undue difficulty until Yasir Shah came into the attack. With his first ball the leg-spinner deceived and bowled Kraigg Brathwaite (14) at 22. It was an omen from the session and day to come. Powell kept the score moving with two 4s in one over from Wahab Riaz, who had yielded two boundaries to the batsmen in his previous over too. Not to be left out of the action Shimron Hetmyer hit Yasir Shah for 6 over long-on. The bowler struck back immediately, bowling Hetmyer (20) off bat and then pads the next ball at 72. Twelve runs later Yasir Shah had Shai Hope (6). Powell (49) continued to score confidently, driving Yasir Shah through the off-side for 4. It was his last scoring stroke as later in the same over the bowler found the outside edge to be taken by Younis Khan at slip at 89. After 28 overs play West Indies finished on 93-4 with nightwatchman Bishoo and Vishaul Singh at the wicket, surviving precariously, neither of whom has scored.


West Indies batting collapses – Yasir Shah takes 6 wickets – Misbah’s coup de grace


The West Indies second innings did not last until the lunch interval on the fifth day. Yasir Khan took his haul to 6 wickets in the innings. The home side fought hard to contain the Pakistan batsmen when they went in again but with a target of only 32 for them to win it only delayed the inevitable. Even before the arrears had been cleared Vishaul Singh (9) was bowled without offering a stroke by a ball from Mohammad Amir which came in to him, just one delivery after he had hit the first 4 of the day. Roston Chase made sure that Pakistan would have to bat again with a 4 through the off-side off Yasir Shah. Mohammad Abbas (2-35) struck two blows in the same over by having Devendra Bishoo (18) caught by Younis Khan at second slip and two balls later without addition to the score trapped Shane Dowrich (O) on the crease l.b.w. Jason Holder (14) stretched far outside the off-stump to Wahab Riaz (1-29) and was caught by wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed at 151. One run later Yasir Shah (6-63) took his fifth wicket of the innings by having Alzarri Joseph (1) l.b.w. That’s where the innings ended  - at 152 from 52.4 overs - with Shannon Gabriel (0) hitting Yasir Shah high into the hands of Mohammad Abbas in the deep leaving Chase (16 n.o.) undefeated.
Pakistan started their second innings needing 32 runs to win. The West Indies fast bowlers applied immediate pressure. With the score at 7 Ahmed Shehzad (6) was caught at the wicket by Dowrich, diving across to his right, off Gabriel (1-7) and without addition Azhar Ali (1) edged a ball from Joseph (1-6) into his stumps. Lunch was taken with Pakistan on 13-2 and Younis Khan (2 n.o.) and Babar Azam (4 n.o.) together. Progress after the interval was marred only by Younis Khan (6) falling l.b.w. to Devendra Bishoo (1-19) at 24 before Misbah-ul-Haq (12 n.o.) hit the leg-spinner for 6 off two consecutive balls to see his team home by 7 wicketsfrom 10.5 overs. Babar Azam was 9 n.o.


West Indies 286 (R.L. Chase 63, J.O. Holder 57 n.o., S.O. Dowrich 56, Mohammad 6-44) & 152 (Yasir Sha 6-63) lost to Pakistan 407 (Misbah-ul-Haq 99 n.o., Babar Azam 72, Younis Khan 58, Sarfraz Ahmed 54, A.S. Joseph 3-71, S.T. Gabriel 3-92) & 36-3 by 7 wickets

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