First Test Match

West Indies v Pakistan

A fascinating match, in which 39 wickets fell for 1398 runs, ended with the West Indies tailenders defending stubbornly amidst high tension to avoid defeat.

Nothing in the respective first innings suggested a result other than a draw. Pakistan started confidently, reached 148 before losing their second wicket. Majid was in commanding mood before he was bowled leg-stump, but Garner and Croft, the two new West Indies fast bowlers, caused a collapse which left Pakistan 269 for six at the end of the first day.

Raja attacked enterprisingly in scoring his second Test century and the tailenders were responsible for a revival which gave their team an excellent total of 435. The left-handed Raja's not out 117 included one 6 and twelve 4's.

The West Indies reply was faltering at 183 for five before the captain, Lloyd, and the vice-captain, Murray, came together in a vital partnership of 151. Lloyd gave a straightforward chance to second slip off Sarfraz when 42 but made no other mistake in an innings of typical power which included three 6's and twenty-one 4's. Effective hitting by Garner helped the West Indies to within 14 runs of Pakistan's total.

Fortunes swung dramatically one way and then the next over the final two days. The three West Indies fast bowlers proved so menacing in the Pakistan second innings that the ninth wicket fell at 158 in mid-afternoon on the fourth day and a victory for the home team appeared certain.

At this point, their cricket fell to pieces. Their fielding and catching were shocking and Murray allowed 29 byes to pass. In the circumstances, Raja rode his luck, having been dropped four times, and with the wicket-keeper, Bari, added 133 for the last wicket, a new Pakistan Test record.

The total of 291 included 68 extras, a record number for Tests, and the West Indies required a challenging 306 to win.

They suffered an early loss, but Fredericks and Richards then shifted the balance in their favour with a purposeful second wicket partnership of 130. As had happened so frequently throughout, the match took yet another, dramatic swing in the session between lunch and tea. Steady bowling by Sarfraz, Imran and Salim and a slow over-rate frustrated the impatient West Indies batsmen; both Fredericks and Richards were out trying to force the pace and a collapse set in.

Pakistan captured the eighth wicket with a quarter of an hour to go before the final 20 mandatory overs began and it was left to level-headed defiance from Roberts, Holder and Croft to deny them victory.

© John Wisden & Co