Five things from Pakistan’s first Test win over West Indies

We look at five talking points from the first Test between West Indies and Pakistan and how it sets up the rest of the series.

Barnaby Read
by Barnaby Read
26th April 2017

article:26th April 2017

Pakistan were convincing in victory.
Pakistan were convincing in victory.

Despite the best efforts of the Jamaican rain, Pakistan sealed a dominant victory in the first Test of three at Sabina Park on Tuesday.

It leaves the hosts needing to win both remaining matches if they are to secure an unlikely first series win since Denesh Ramdin led them to a 2-0 victory over Bangladesh in September 2014.


There were plenty of talking points from this first Test, even if the inevitable looking outcome was only delayed by rain fall, rather than competition.

Here, we look at five of those talking points and how this first Test sets up the rest of the series.

AMIR FINALLY GETS REWARD

Since making his highly anticipated – and hotly contested – return to Test cricket, Mohammad Amir has had a few things nagging at the back of his mind, but none more so than his paucity of wickets.

Amir's Test best

  • 6-44: 2017 vs West Indies (Sabina Park)
  • 6-84: 2010 vs England (Lord's)
  • 5-52: 2010 vs England (Oval)
  • 5-79: 2009 vs Australia (MCG)

Going into this match, he had managed just 30 wickets in 11 Tests since coming back into the Test cricket fold last year and went into the game having gone wicketless in his last two outings in Australia.

In that time, even Wahab Riaz – so often the workhorse and not the wicket-taker – had three more wickets in two fewer Tests than Amir, which could be perceived as a slight on both houses and their need to improve when it comes to making breakthroughs but also a reflection of Pakistan’s reliance on Yasir Shah in that time.

Post-spot fixing, Amir has been superb with his economy, he and Wahab so often building the kind of pressure that allows Shah to thrive and illustrates how this Pakistan attack can compliment each other but a tearing through of a top-order has been lacking somewhat.

With his Test best figures of 6-44 at Sabina Park, Amir finally did so with a masterful example in swing and seam bowling that was far too good for West Indies.

A LITTLE ASSISTANCE BRINGS BEST OUT OF YASIR

The tours of New Zealand and Australia were brutal for Yasir Shah, Pakistan’s premier spinner unable to influence matches in any shape or form.

Four Tests brought eight wickets as Yasir struggled for pace and rhythm as Misbah-ul-Haq scratched his head and both struggled to combat the Aussies with the visitors’ greatest asset.

But in Kingston, on a pitch so generously playing into his hands, the Yasir of old was in full effect.

Once more, the 30-year-old turned up to tear apart West Indies in their second innings, fully building on Pakistan’s first innings lead with 6-63 that ensured Pakistan’s required fourth innings chase was a mere formality and the loss of nearly an entire day’s play meaningless.

BABAR IS THE FUTURE

All the talk of the past four or five years over who and how will Pakistan plug the gaps left by Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan now has a formality with the duo retiring at the end of this series.

It is well and truly a dilemma for Pakistan cricket but in Babar Azam they have found a man capable of taking up the daunting gauntlet.

Babar’s rise since a hat-trick of hundreds against West Indies in the UAE last year has been remarkable.

He has become the number three of choice in Tests, ODIs and T20Is and backed it up with a fine 72 in the first innings of this Test that he will be frustrated to have not turned into a first Test ton.

Fear not, there are plenty of them to come from this man.

WEST INDIES ISSUES ALL TOO FAMILIAR

Where do you start with the West Indies?

Their sad demise in Test cricket has lasted more than a decade now, one of the world’s greatest sides in history reduced to being known as the third worst team on the planet and, considering Bangladesh’s vast improvement, facing the very real prospect of having only Zimbabwe beneath them.

Time and again the playing XI have been let down by their cricket board and no longer do fans turn out in their droves to watch this side – who could blame them?

There is enormous talent in the team but something has to give, with players, board members and the West Indies Players Association the only people who can salvage anything from what has been a bitter dispute that is costing the country’s cricket.

MISBAH WILL BE MISSED

Now, this was obvious from the get-go that Pakistan’s most successful Test captain will be sorely missed when he retires at the end of this series.

But it was driven home in the most Misbah of manners on day five.

After a turtle-like chase of 31, Pakistan were reduced to 24-3 with no-one looking like wanting to win the Test.

Cue Misbah, who dotted up the first delivery he faced before lumping Devendra Bishoo for two consecutive sixes, end the madness and make victory the formality it always should have been.

It was vintage Misbah.


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