Third Test Match

West Indies v Pakistan 1999-2000

Toss: West Indies.

Amid scenes reminiscent of Brian Lara's heroics against Australia in Barbados a year earlier, Adams piloted his team to a nerve-jangling one-wicket victory and West Indies' fourth triumph in five unbeaten home series against Pakistan. Yet a reasoned appraisal of the events of that last afternoon left no doubt that West Indies were extremely fortunate to reach their target of 216. They benefited from two glaring umpiring errors and Saqlain Mushtaq's raw panic when the match was literally in his hands. Wasim Akram, in an inspired spell of fast bowling as devastating as his first-innings six for 61, had a confident appeal for a catch by Moin Khan off Adams turned down by umpire Doctrove, while an equally vehement claim for a bat-pad dismissal of last man Walsh, off Saqlain, was denied by umpire Cowie. Television replays confirmed that both should have been out. Yet Pakistani fury at the officiating was tempered by Saqlain's bungling of two run-out chances, the second opportunity producing one of the more amazing scenes in the history of Test cricket: both Adams and Walsh seemed hopelessly stranded at the striker's end, only for Saqlain to fail to gather the return cleanly. As the ball ran away from him, Walsh hared through for the leg-bye Adams intended.

After such incredible escapes, it was almost inevitable that the last pair would make the 19 runs they required, and Adams was engulfed by joyous team-mates after scampering the winning run. For Antiguans in particular, it was cause for a double celebration, following the investiture of the former West Indies captain and master batsman, Sir Vivian Richards, at the lunch interval.

Even though Adams's painstaking 48 was the match-winner - he did not hit a single four in five and a half hours - his effort could not take the lustre off Wasim's Test-best return of 11 for 110, which left him two wickets from becoming only the fourth bowler to claim 400 wickets in Tests. Publication on the eve of the match of Justice Qayyum's long-awaited report on bribery and match-fixing in Pakistan seemed to spur Wasim on; his rout of West Indies' first innings on the third day - six wickets for four runs in 28 balls - limited their advantage to a negligible four runs. The way Chanderpaul and Adams were batting the previous afternoon, when they added 130 for the fourth wicket, the lead promised to be considerably greater.

Pakistan's first innings of 269 had featured another polished century by Yousuf Youhana, and one more five-wicket feast for the irresistible Walsh. Inzamam-ul-Haq's first-innings fifty was a vital contribution, and his contentious dismissal for a top score of 68 in the second was another grievance for the tourists. (Inzamam was fined for lingering after Doctrove gave him out caught behind.) Wasim put it in the background for the time being by taking three of the four wickets that fell on the fourth afternoon. They included that of Hinds, whose 63 was tilting the balance in the home team's favour, whereupon rain ended play for the day, leaving West Indies in need of 72 more runs. They would take 41 nail-biting overs. When, with the last ball before lunch, Saqlain removed Ambrose, making his farewell Test appearance on his home island, and King was bowled offering no shot to Wasim, the game was as good as Pakistan's. At 197 for nine, West Indies needed a miracle or considerable good fortune. As it turned out, they got both in adequate supply.

© John Wisden & Co