For five days at the Bridgetown Stadium in Barbados, West Indies’ cricketers displayed heart and guts, hustle and hard work to underpin some of the virtues required to unlock the door to success in Test cricket. The young bunch of cricketers were able to erase the fine lines of pain and agony of losing the first Test at Kingston to overcome the more experienced Pakistan side by 106 runs and level the three-match Test series 1-1 on Thursday (May 4). Shannon Gabriel was the star performer for the home team, picking up a five-fer.
Going into the final day, the second Test was evenly poised, with West Indies in front by 183 runs. Yasir Shah, however, wrapped up the innings quickly on Day 5 to ensure Pakistan had to chase down a rather modest total of 188. However, on a track that offered plenty of variable bounce, Gabriel and Co. ran riot to secure a memorable victory for the hosts.
It was Gabriel, who flung open the door for West Indies to script a turnaround, by dismissing the first innings centurion, Azhar Ali, with a short ball. Babar Azam (0) then fell to a strangle down the leg-side off Alzarri Joseph. With the score reading 11 for 2, Younis Khan (5), the veteran, walked to the middle with a brisk gait. However, he too couldn’t survive for long as he was trapped in front to a delivery that kept low and snaked in from well outside the off-stump. Younis took the review but to no avail.
It was followed by Gabriel snaring the scalp of Misbah-ul-Haq (0). Initially, the LBW appeal was turned down. The hosts, though, took the review and replays suggested that Misbah had eked out an inside edge, with Shai Hope pouching the catch at gully. As a result, the on-field umpire had to reverse his decision with Misbah trudging back to the pavilion.
Asad Shafiq (0) and Ahmed Shehzad (14) were dismissed on either side of the Lunch break. Mohammad Amir and Sarfraz Ahmed (23) flared briefly by collecting a few boundaries. For a while, it felt as if there were a few jitters in the West Indian camp, especially with Kraigg Brathwaite dropping a sitter at first slip to give Amir a reprieve.
Amir, though, didn’t last long as he soon spooned a catch to Vishaul Singh off Gabriel. The sturdy pacer and Holder provided the finishing touches by picking up the last two wickets to bowl out Pakistan for 81. Gabriel returned impressive figures of 5 for 11.
The evolution of a team is an unending business as they look to overcome flaws and strive for success. The young West Indies side has had to wade through a slew of losses in the recent past. However, this victory against an experienced Pakistan side should lift the spirits of the camp. The backroom staff would be pleased by the fact that not just the bowlers but young batsmen like Roston Chase and Hope also made an impact. The home team will look to wrap up the series when they take on Pakistan in the final Test in Dominica.
Brief scores: West Indies 312 (Roston Chase 131, Jason Holder 58; Mohammad Abbas 4-56, Mohammad Amir 3-65) and 268 (Shai Hope 902017; Yasir Shah 7-94) beat Pakistan 393 (Azhar Ali 105, Misbah-ul-Haq 99; Shannon Gabriel 4-81) and 81 (Sarfraz Ahmed 23; Shannon Gabriel 5-11) by 106 runs.