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History was against Vivian Richards's West Indian team winning their Test series in Pakistan, even though under his captaincy West Indies had won their previous seven Test matches. Of their three predecessors to Pakistan, only Clive Lloyd's 1980-81 team had won a series; and that by only one victory in five matches. Of Lloyd's side then, Larry Gomes, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes and Malcolm Marshall, as well as the captain, had returned. It was much to the credit of Pakistan's young team that this series was drawn. They were shrewdly led by Imran Khan, who along with Abdul Qadir bowled admirably throughout. Each finished with eighteen wickets.
Only at Lahore, where they were furnished with a fast wicket, did the West Indian fast bowlers find conditions to their liking; elsewhere their powder was dampened. Unfortunately, the pitches too often produced uneven bounce which made strokeplay impossible, as a reflected by the failure, in a low-scoring series, of any batsman to score a hundred. Such was the paucity of run-making that there was only one partnership of more than 100, Javed Miandad and Ramiz Raja putting on 111 in the final, drawn Test at Karachi. Haynes's unbeaten 88 for West Indies in the second innings there was the highest score of either side in the Tests, while only Jeffrey Dujon, with an unbeaten 126 against the Punjab Governor's XI, reached three figures on the tour.
The series was evenly fought. Pakistan won the first Test by 186 runs, bowling out West Indies in their second innings for 53, their lowest total in Tests. But retribution was quickly forthcoming: an innings defeat in three days. The third Test was drawn after Imran and Tauseef Ahmed had defied the West Indians' attempt to end Pakistan's unbeaten record at Karachi. The limited-overs series, however, was one-sided, with West Indies winning 4-1.
Without a settled opening pair, Pakistan's batting struggled. Mohsin Khan and Mudassar Nazar began the series and ended it, while in between there were permutations, in the Test matches and one-day internationals, incorporating Shoaib Mohammad, Rizwan-uz-Zaman and Sajid Ali. No combination exceeded 25; and when Salim Malik's left arm was broken by a rising ball from Courtney Walsh in the first Test, the middle order also experienced difficulties. Ramiz Raja was below his best, as was Qasim Omar, but there were bonuses in the emergence of two young batsmen, Asif Mujtaba, who made his Test début after fine innings against the tourists at Rawalpindi and Sahiwal, and Ijaz Ahmed, who took 82 off them at Rawalpindi and was called up for three one-day internationals. Imran organized a defiant lower order, and in Saleem Jaffer Pakistan introduced a useful left-arm medium-pace bowler when Wasim Akram was unfit for the Third Test.
For West Indies, Richards failed repeatedly after struggling against illness during the First Test, twice being dismissed first ball in the limited-overs series. His best innings came at the end, when he laboured for 70 to underpin his side's first innings at Karachi. Greenidge, Haynes and Ritchie Richardson each played useful innings. In the absence of Joel Garner and Michael Holding, who chose not to tour, Tony Gray and Walsh bowled well to take 26 and 19 wickets respectively in all matches on the tour. Marshall, however, remained the greatest threat in the Test matches and always looked dangerous, even on slow wickets. He finished the series with sixteen wickets.
By way of experiment, neutral umpires stood in the Test series, V. K. Ramaswamy and P. D. Reporter of India officiating in the Second and Third matches. The Pakistan authorities were to be congratulated on this decision for, apart from an altercation between Marshall and umpire Reporter in Karachi, there was a welcome absence of bickering over decisions. Marshall was unhappy because he had twice been no-balled and twice refused appeals for lbw against Mohsin Khan early in the first innings.
Test matches - Played 3: Won 1, Lost 1, Drawn 1.
First-class matches - Played 6: Won 2, Lost 1, Drawn 3.
Wins - Pakistan, Baluchistan Governor's XI.
Loss - Pakistan.
Draws - Pakistan, President's XI, Punjab Governor's XI.
Non first-class matches - Played 5: Won 4, Lost 1. Wins - Pakistan (4). Loss - Pakistan.
Match reports for