First Test


At Port-of-Spain, April 16, 17, 18. West Indies won by 204 runs. Toss: West Indies. Test debut: Basit Ali.

There was a fair amount of inept batting, but it was the poor pitch that had the match finished in three days. The main defect, its low bounce, was reflected in the 17 lbws in the match, eight against West Indies and nine against Pakistan. The previous record was 14 in the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Test at Faisalabad only 15 months earlier. This was all the more remarkable because one of the umpires was the Englishman Dickie Bird, who has always been regarded as harder to impress than most with lbw appeals.

The pitch was made more hazardous by being amenable to movement off the seam. Curiously, it became more regular in bounce on the second day and then reverted to its wretched behaviour on the third. It is customary in Tests at Queen's Park Oval to bowl first, because the pitch is generously watered to keep it bound. In this instance, it was bone dry, possibly because of the 24-hour delay to the game in the wake of the arrests in Grenada. In deciding to bat, Richardson must also have considered the perils Mushtaq Ahmed might pose in the fourth innings.

West Indies lasted less than two sessions, however. Almost half their meagre total of 127, their lowest on home soil against Pakistan, came from the opening partnership between Haynes and Simmons. But survival was not easy and would have been harder had Wasim Akram bowled more accurately. Mushtaq came on for the 11th over and had bowled Richardson, sweeping, by lunch. It took a superb ball from Ata-ur-Rehman, moving away late from a length, to dismiss Haynes, but his departure triggered the collapse. Lara played a loose shot at Waqar Younis who, in his next over, cut back two consecutive balls to claim Hooper and Murray lbw.

Pakistan's left-handed opener, Aamir Sohail, was the first batsman in the match to reach 50 and he was dropped when six. Sohail bided his time, punishing anything short to hit nine fours. He took Pakistan to 100 for two but after Hooper's spectacular low slip catch four more wickets fell for eight runs. Next day, when the last three wickets added 27, the pitch looked more benign.

In fact, it looked a committed ally of batsmen as West Indies raced to 333 for three from 76 overs. While Haynes secured one end, Richardson and then Lara audaciously attacked the wilting bowling. Richardson scored 68 off only 72 balls and Lara made an exhilarating 96 off 135 balls. He was out in the last over of the day, padding up to a ball well outside off stump and deflecting it on to his wicket. Armed with the new ball, Wasim and Waqar polished off the last seven batsmen for 49, but they could not subdue Haynes, who carried his bat for a record third time in Tests, after batting 459 minutes and, when 121, reaching 7,000 Test runs.

Pakistan, needing 370 to win, were 42 for four in just over an hour. The rot was halted by a partnership of 67 between Basit Ali, in his first Test, and Asif Mujtaba. As soon as they appeared comfortable against the tiring pace bowlers, Richardson called on Hooper's off-spin. His flight enticed Basit into lofting a catch and, bowling with guile, Hooper took four more wickets to complete the rout.

Man of the Match: D. L. Haynes.

Close of play: First day, Pakistan 113-7 (Asif Mujtaba 8 *, Waqar Younis 1*); Second day, West Indies 333-3 (D. L. Haynes 115*, I. R. Bishop 1*).

© John Wisden & Co