KINGSTON: Pakistan captain Miosbah-ul-Haq credited the bowlers for his side’s seven-wicket win in the opening Test of the three-match series against West Indies at Sabina Park on Tuesday (partly reported in Wednesday’s edition).
The 42-year-old, playing his final series along with record-breaking batsman Younis Khan, was rewarded for his bold decision to bowl first after winning the toss on Friday.
Though West Indies made what appeared a respectable 286 in their first innings, it did not prove enough once Pakistan compiled 407 and a familiar second innings collapse left them pondering another home defeat.
West Indies have also now gone seven Tests at home without a win.
“The bowlers did well, especially [Mohammad] Amir in the first innings and Yasir [Shah], especially in the second innings getting six on a pitch still good enough for pitch,” Misbah said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
Misbah also added that he had no plans to reconsider his decision to retire after the current series. “I have always said if you are not enjoying, you need to go. I am not the kind of person who lingers on. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the boys.”
Earlier, it was Misbah who ended the match in dramatic fashion by smashing two straight sixes.
Chasing only 32 for victory, the visitors ended on 36-3 in their second innings after an early scare on 7-2. Both openers went cheaply first Ahmed Shehzad (6) caught behind off Shannon Gabriel, and then Azhar Ali (1) after hitting the ball onto his stumps to Alzarri Joseph’s delivery.
Pakistan went to lunch at 13-2 and needing another 19 runs. While the result was never really in doubt, West Indies claimed one more wicket as Younis, who reached 10,000 Test runs in the first innings, was the third man out. Devendra Bishoo trapped the veteran right-hander leg before wicket for six.
Misbah had clearly had enough. He came out in the fifth over after lunch, blocked his first ball and then let rip with two straight sixes against Bishoo as Pakistan went 1-0 ahead in their pursuit of a first Test series win in the Caribbean.
Earlier, West Indies resumed the final day on 93-4 and still trailing by 28 runs. The hosts survived just under 25 overs to be all out for 152, losing their last six wickets in a disastrous morning session for only 59 more runs.
Leg-spinner Yasir cleaned up the innings with two more wickets for 6-63 and was man-of-the-match with 8-154 overall.
“It was tough for me during the last series in Australia and I was happy to get back among the wickets here,” Yasir said after receiving his award. “Those rough areas on the pitch were very helpful to me and I hope I can continue with this sort of performance for the rest of the series.”
The result left West Indies captain Jason Holder a disappointed man.
“It’s pretty frustrating because we need to see our young players learning and improving at the top of the batting order,” Holder said later. “Our bowlers tried really hard but we didn’t help ourselves in the field with the number of chances that we missed.”
The second Test starts from Sunday at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados.
WEST INDIES (1st Innings) 286 (R.L. Chase 63, J.O. Holder 57 not out, S.O. Dowrich 56; Mohammad Amir 6-44, Yasir Shah 2-91).
PAKISTAN (1st Innings) 407 (Misbah-ul-Haq 99 not out, Babar Azam 72, Younis Khan 58, Sarfraz Ahmed 54; A.S. Joseph 3-71, S.T. Gabriel 3-92).
WEST INDIES (2nd Innings) 152 (K.O.A. Powell 49; Yasir Shah 6- 63, Mohammad Abbas 2-35).
PAKISTAN (2nd Innings):
Azhar Ali b Joseph 1
Ahmed Shehzad c Dowrich b Gabriel 6
Babar Azam not out 9
Younis Khan lbw Bishoo 6
Misbah-ul-Haq not out 12
EXTRAS (LB-2) 2
TOTAL (for three wkts, 10.5 overs) 36
FALL OF WKTS: 1-7, 2-7, 3-24.
BOWLING: Gabriel 3-1-7-1; Joseph 3-1-6-1; Bishoo 2.5-0-19-1; Holder 2-1-2-0.
RESULT: Pakistan won by seven wickets to lead three-match series 1-0.
UMPIRES: R.K. Illingworth (England) and R.A. Kettleborough (England).
TV UMPIRE: B.N.J. Oxenford (Australia).
MATCH REFEREE: B.C. Broad (England).
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Yasir Shah.
SECOND TEST: Bridgetown, April 30-May 4.
THIRD TEST: Roseau, May 10-14.