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In a drawn series that was almost completely dominated by the ball, the Pakistan spinners' performance stole the limelight
May 25, 2011
After a dismal batting performance in the low-scoring first Test, Pakistan regrouped in the second innings of the second Test and produced an excellent batting display to inflict a 196-run defeat on West Indies. Although they could not win their maiden series in the West Indies, Pakistan managed to draw their second consecutive series in the Caribbean. The highlight of the series was the inability of the West Indies batsmen to play spin. Pakistan's spinners captured 32 wickets of the 40 to fall, with Saeed Ajmal picking up 17 wickets in the two Tests. West Indies were clearly missing the services of Chris Gayle, who has been their top batsman for the last three years. The failure of their top order to contribute anything substantial in any of the four innings was the major difference in the end.
In what proved to be a contest between two average sides, Pakistan emerged as the team with the better batting and bowling stats. Their batsmen scored two centuries and five half-centuries while West Indies batsmen managed just two half-centuries. West Indies could not string together any partnerships of note in the two matches and managed just three fifty-plus stands. The lower-order batsmen hung around in both innings of the first Test and figured in small but highly crucial stands which ultimately set up the victory. In the second Test however, West Indies' bowlers could not strike regularly in the second innings and were not helped by some very poor fielding lapses. Pakistan's spinners had bamboozled West Indie's batsmen in the first Test and nothing much changed in the second game. Shivnarine Chanderpaul's absence meant that West Indies had lost one of their better players of spin and as a result, 15 wickets out of 20 fell to the spinners giving Pakistan a comfortable win.
|Team||Matches won||Average||100/50||50+ stands||Wickets taken||5WI/10WM|
The series was almost completely dominated by the bowlers. Batsmen struggled to get starts and even when they did, very few went on to contribute anything meaningful. In the first Test, the top-order batsmen (1-6) from both teams were completely exposed. While Pakistan were in trouble against West Indies' pace bowlers and Devendra Bishoo, the host's batsmen were all at sea against the Pakistan spinners, in particular Ajmal. Devon Smith fell to Mohammad Hafeez in both the innings of the first Test making it the sixth consecutive time he had fallen to the same bowler in Tests and ODIs. The first Test was very much a case of West Indies' top order being only slightly better than their Pakistan counterparts.
The second Test seemed to be heading the same way as the first as both teams collapsed for scores less than 300 in their first innings. After a a few reprieves in the second innings though, Taufeeq Umar and Misbah-ul-Haq scored centuries and shared a vital 129-run partnership for the fourth wicket. In contrast with Pakistan, who managed six fifty-plus stands in the match, West Indies, managed only two fifty-plus stands in the game, giving them no chance of chasing down the huge target of 427.
|Team||Test number||1st Wicket||2nd wicket||3rd wicket||4th wicket||5th wicket||6th wicket|
|Pakistan||1||7, 2, 0||52, 2, 1||3, 2, 0||83, 2, 1||56, 2, 1||14, 2, 0|
|West Indies||1||18, 2, 0||76, 2, 1||68, 2, 0||21, 2, 0||18, 2, 0||32, 2, 0|
|Pakistan||2||99, 2 , 1||81, 2, 1||11, 2, 0||179, 2, 2||155, 2, 2||18, 2, 0|
|West Indies||2||5, 2, 0||76, 2, 1||36, 2, 0||54, 2, 0||44, 2, 0||27, 2, 0|
Spin had proved to be a huge factor when Pakistan played West Indies in the World Cup. On that occasion, Pakistan had bowled West Indies out for a paltry 112 to secure a ten-wicket win. The strategy of employing spinners far more regularly against the lead-footed West Indies batsmen was a masterstroke. Of the 32 wickets that fell to Pakistan's spinners, 12 of them were out leg before. Ajmal was easily the pick of the bowlers with a haul of 11 for 111 in the first Test followed by 6 for 135 in the second Test. Although Bishoo was impressive in the first Test, picking up four wickets in the first innings in Providence, it was the West Indies pace attack that created problems for Pakistan. Darren Sammy and Ravi Rampaul shared 14 wickets between them in the first Test and seven in the next game.
|Team||Type of bowler||Wickets||Average||ER|
Not a single West Indies batsman enjoyed a period of dominance over the opposition spinners. Carlton Baugh and the experienced Ramnaresh Sarwan fell to the spinners four times while scoring just 13 runs off them. Sarwan, who has been a consistent batsman and an excellent player of spin in the last few years, never looked settled in his stay at the crease and managed to aggregate just 54 runs in four innings. Darren Bravo and Lendl Simmons, despite falling twice each to the spinners, looked far more assured than the rest of the batsmen. Chanderpaul, whose rearguard effort in the first Test gave West Indies a chance to win, was never dominant, but was dismissed only once in scoring 37 runs.
Ajmal, who made his debut in 2009, picked up 18 wickets at over 42 that year. But since then, he has picked up his next 32 wickets at an average under 25. He has been at his best in the second and third innings of matches with 30 wickets at an average of 21.43. For Ajmal's career stats, click here.
Here are a few other statistical highlights from the series:
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Plays of the Day from the second ODI between England and India, in Cardiff
Plays of the day from the third ODI between England and India at Trent Bridge