West Indies v Pakistan, 2nd Test, St Kitts, 1st day May 20, 2011

West Indies control rain-hit day


Pakistan 180 for 6 (Azhar 67, Akmal 56, Rampaul 3-40) v West Indies
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Ravi Rampaul played a role, but the thoughtlessness of Pakistan's batting played a bigger one as they limped to 180 for 6 on a rain-affected first day of the second Test in St Kitts. The tourists won the toss and the surface looked blameless; no undue movement, good, even bounce and a history of high scores. Yet only Azhar Ali and Umar Akmal realised its true worth, and their half-centuries were sandwiched between two collapses.

It was difficult to know which collapse was worse. The second came as Pakistan were recovering, not entirely composed but firmer than they had been. Ali was providing the calm, Akmal the oomph. The pair had come together at 74 for 4, with nearly half the day gone. The impetus was provided by Akmal, who played an attacking shot to every ball he faced initially.

There was some beauty - a front foot cut off Rampaul for instance - but it was hidden among skittishness. The innings' 44th over, from Devendra Bishoo, was typical: Akmal beaten by a legbreak, then slicing an ugly slog, then sweeping fine and almost popping a catch to cover.

But tea came 40 minutes early because of rain and it instilled in Akmal some of the calm of Ali. There were still strokes - how can there not be? - such as a lovely, clipped three through midwicket off Darren Sammy, before the shot of the innings, a dancing loft over long-off against Bishoo. But these increasingly became the exception, as he put his head down and, like a recovering amnesiac, remembered how Test innings are built.

Ali was as much a contrast as he could be in a 93-run stand, nervous to begin, eventually composed if not ever authoritative. Sammy troubled him, again bringing the ball in off a good length. Ali treated it first as some unfathomable delivery thrown down by a freak concoction of Dennis Lillee, Muttiah Muralitharan and Paul Adams. He fairly crawled to lunch, unsure and jumpy in allowing four of the last six overs to pass as maidens.

But Ali's bubble acquired greater robustness in the shortened afternoon session. He reached out to Bishoo to drive and then, when the legspinner erred short, he cut him through cover. After tea, a back foot punch off Sammy - now much more decipherable - brought a seventh Test fifty, though there was also a sharp chance to slip soon after.

Akmal brought up his sixth fifty just before the fourth and longest rain-break of the day and just as all appeared well, he slipped back into his coma. Chasing a Sammy ball wide enough to be wided, he top-edged the slog to third man. Four overs later Ali went, run-out in a careless mix-up with Mohammad Salman; only Asoka de Silva was more careless in not spotting that Salman should've been out because he grounded his bat after Ali at the non-striker's end. Pakistan ended the day with no recognized batsmen left, no total on the board.

Those late wickets restored the natural order of the day, of a committed West Indies and thoughtless Pakistan. As good as Rampaul's figures for the morning looked - 3 for 13 - and as well as he did bowl, it's difficult to pick out what was so exceptional about it. As in the last Test, he ran in precisely with the enthusiasm of a man unable to believe how his career has suddenly soared, racing in so the dream doesn't suddenly end.

The control was exemplary and if the pitch didn't offer the movement of last week, it offered bounce. Otherwise there looked nothing to suggest anything other than what has gone in two previous Tests here: big runs, forgotten draws.

And yet, by the time of a nine-minute rain interruption just after the first drinks break, Pakistan's top order was done and dusted. It took Rampaul four overs to strike and then he couldn't stop. Taufeeq Umar went first, gloving one that bounced while trying to leave it; Mohammad Hafeez went next, edging essentially a straight ball that bounced a fraction more; Asad Shafiq fell the over after, cutting a wide ball straight to point and Pakistan were tottering at 24 for 3.

Misbah-ul-Haq helped put on an even fifty with Ali, but when he fell, needlessly swiping Bishoo to mid-on, he did nothing to dispel the day's most vivid impression: more than just poor batting - much more worrying in fact - maybe Pakistan's batting is simply not up to it; still or yet, depending on who you're looking at.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on May 21, 2011, 13:50 GMT

    why all are saying that chandrapaul should not play...i agree he should focus in test cricket rather then modern oneday and t20s...he should be base of windies struggling batting order...he is the most experienced then any other playes...so gain something from him...

  • Dummy4 on May 21, 2011, 13:13 GMT

    after winning a test in almost two years and if a win in this last test match WI will reach 6 position .. wow look how badly test cricket is shaping up.. its shocking to see

  • Ernie on May 21, 2011, 12:25 GMT

    mystic well well well done WI i hope you guys come through and please give our captain credit for what he is doing i think he is doing a damn good job

  • S.Selvamurugan on May 21, 2011, 9:20 GMT

    @principle I agree with u,if Samuels find his true form and Fidel Edwards finds his fiery pace it will give more pressure for Dwayne Bravo and co for their spots in Windies 11 My squad for future series C.Gayle,L.Simmons,M.Samuels,R.Sarwan,Darren Bravo,B.Nash,C.Baugh,D.Sammy, F.Edward,K.Roach,D.Bishoo

    A.Barath,R.Hinds,S.Chanderpaul,A.Russel,S.Benn,R.Rampaul,J.Taylor and Dwayne Bravo in bench strength

    We Can Include Pollard,Dwayne Smith,Chris Barnwell and Danza Hyatt for Limited Overs .West Indies have Good Players but the only problem is their availability and form

  • Mughees on May 21, 2011, 8:14 GMT

    @clint hughes, Team is looking in good shape and there is no need of adding gayle which will only take the team where it was. Gayle is indeed a champion but for himself cauz the his role in the team makes other guys so dependant on his performance and the rest we all know. This team is doing well and more importantly progressing gradually, simmons has cemented his place and braithwaite or barath can be his partners specially in t20s and odis. Samuels is the one who will replace chanderpaul in the team as he is getting old now and will leave anytime. Even Dwayne Bravo and pollard will struggle to find a place in the current scenario. Darren sammy is the best we got right now so why still discussing his inability and making nash the captain. I guess we should all accept the improvement made by this team in recent months and must support sammy in his efforts which we all know are truly exceptional. Go sammy get the no. sixth ranking spot after such a long time.

  • Dru on May 21, 2011, 6:55 GMT

    This may be a bit too early but I see WI building up a decent team in the near future. Bravo, Sarwan, Nash and Samules are capable of being the base of a good batting order while Bishoo, Roach, Rampaul and Russel offer something in bowling. There is also Gayle and Jerome Taylor. I think there is plenty to get excited about here. Pakistan have been poor till now in the test series and cannot afford more to keep the series alive.

  • Dummy4 on May 21, 2011, 6:51 GMT

    test test test test , ignore

  • Dummy4 on May 21, 2011, 6:41 GMT

    Test kindly ignore!

    injured! Finally, Brathwaite in for Smith. I can't believe it took this long considering the WICB youth experiment. Come on Kraigg, make your country and region proud like so many Bajans before you have. Congrats to Sammy! You're proving us doubters of your captaincy wrong....and I'm happy for you to keep doing so. Take note Darren, we won when you delivered! Don't let the burden of captaincy stop you from working hard and giving it your all. That was always your biggest asset. Now if only you can get the other guys to do this also, especially some of the more experienced ones.

  • Ian on May 21, 2011, 6:28 GMT

    Azhar Ali continues to impress. This guy is going to be the anchor of Pakistan around which the team of natural gifted strokeplayers will build their totals. Very very unlucky! Umar might shine, or he might fade, but Azhar is almost certainly going to carve himself a place in the Pakistan side which will last until his retirement.

  • Dummy4 on May 21, 2011, 5:58 GMT

    Its not all lost for pak..i think pak r going to win this match because windies are to bat last .though its batting wicket, their batting is not strong enough to take big lead...my prediction of scores is as pak 235, windies 265....then pak will make around 260 and target in 4th inning will be around 230......against ajmal and wahab,its going to be tough for windies especially in 4th inning{windies are more notorious for collapses than pakistan}..............gudluck pak

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