Second Test Match

West Indies v Pakistan 1999-2000

Toss: Pakistan. Test debut: R. R. Sarwan.

Fearful of offering the opposition the faintest whiff of victory, Moin Khan chose the safety-first option on a docile pitch to condemn the match to a draw. It was the first stalemate over an uninterrupted five days at Kensington Oval since February 1977, when the same opponents scored 1,398 runs for 38 wickets and produced a tension-filled finale in which West Indies' last-wicket pair, Andy Roberts and Colin Croft, staved off defeat.

Similar drama seemed possible when the home team were 41 for three before tea on the final day, having been set an improbable target of 275 in 57 overs. But Hinds's aggressive 52 and a watchful unbeaten 34 from Adams dispelled West Indian fears of an ignominious collapse to Pakistan's varied armoury. Indeed, this was Hinds's Test, with that match-saving half-century following the maiden Test hundred which built the platform for West Indies' first-innings lead of 145. His 165, spanning almost six hours, was spiced with 24 rasping boundaries; coming in only his fourth Test, along with debutant Ramnaresh Sarwan's elegant, unbeaten 84, it raised hopes for the coming of a new era of West Indian batting champions.

On a more responsive surface, Pakistan's deficit would have been daunting; here, it merely spurred their openers on. They had cleared the arrears by stumps on the third day and proceeded to a partnership of 219, an all-wicket record for Pakistan in the Caribbean. Imran Nazir's felicitous 131 underlined the teenager's rich promise in only his second Test, while Mohammad Wasim's studious 82 proved the ideal foil. But, although they had a lead of 200 and three wickets in hand, Pakistan started the final day with any sense of enterprise stifled by an overwhelming desire to avoid defeat: they scored only 18 runs in the first 18 overs. Their declaration ten balls after lunch, following a laborious 72 by Abdur Razzaq, batting with a runner, meant they could be the only winner. Despite the swift removal of the openers and then Chanderpaul, that possibility had evaporated long before the captains agreed not to extend the match through the full final 15 overs. The sedate conclusion contrasted sharply with another sensational opening day as the West Indian fast bowlers repeated their feat of the First Test, skittling half the Pakistan side for less than 40 runs, after they chose to bat. This time, Yousuf Youhana led the rescue act with a classy 115 in six hours, with 14 fours. His dismissal shortly before stumps brought the innings to an end and gave the persevering Walsh his 18th five-wicket innings return in Tests. However, the tourists' first-innings total of 253 was put into proper perspective by a West Indian reply that fell just short of 400, and it was obvious that Pakistan would have to be reckless in the extreme not to stage a worthy fightback on a pitch that drained the enthusiasm of even the most tireless triers.

© John Wisden & Co