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At Kingston, June 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 2005. Pakistan won by 136 runs. Toss: Pakistan.
Pakistan completed their first Test victory in the Caribbean for 17 years on the final morning to share the honours in this brief series. Lara produced another scintillating hundred, Danish Kaneria mesmerised West Indies on the fourth evening, and Inzamamul- Haq led the way for Pakistan on his return with crucial innings of 50 and 117 not out. Yet everything else in the match may be forgotten before Courtney Browne's error on the third afternoon. With Pakistan unsteady at 119 for three - only 89 in front - Browne put down a straightforward catch offered first ball by Inzamam off Collymore, who had already removed Shoaib Malik and Asim Kamal in the same over.
Inzamam made the most of his good fortune - which also involved being caught behind off a no-ball when 92 - in grinding his way to a 22nd Test century that played West Indies out of the match. It was a most unkind fate for Browne, an exemplary player and team man. But that counted little to the media and public, who instantly recalled his lapse on this same ground on his Test debut in 1994-95, that allowed Steve Waugh to turn 42 into 200 and enabled Australia to claim the victory that ended West Indies' 15-year unbeaten run in Test series. The strikes may have been ten years apart, but lightning hit the same place and the same man twice.
The game had started calmly enough, with Younis Khan stroking an entertaining 106 to provide the foundation of a solid Pakistani total of 374. But at 247 for three, they were set for far more before Collymore took over. On the ground where he had devastated Sri Lanka with seven for 57 two years previously, he adhered religiously to an off-stump line, snared six of the last seven wickets and returned figures of seven for 78.
An explosive innings by Gayle - 33 from 22 balls - proved deceptive, and at 59 for two Lara strode to the middle with anticipation in the air. His measured, assured start was ominous for Pakistan, and it was with a sense of inevitability that he crafted his 30th Test hundred - his fourth in five matches, and one that took him past Don Bradman's tally of 29. As at Bridgetown, Lara singled out the leg-spin of Kaneria for special treatment. Kaneria did remove Chanderpaul with the final ball of the second day, but next morning was banned for the rest of the innings by umpire Hair for following through down the middle of the pitch once too often. Shabbir Ahmed also had his problems with running on the pitch, but it was his bowling action that continued to cause comment, especially when he claimed Lara with a spiteful lifter with the second new ball after a majestic 153.
Hinds, the last man out for a forceful 63, played boldly to give his side a slender lead, and the possibility of a psychological advantage if they could claim some early wickets on the third afternoon. But Malik and Yasir Hameed put on 66 at a run a minute before Collymore picked up from where he left off in the first innings. Then came Browne's grievous mistake, which deflated the West Indian players and gave Inzamam a lifeline, and Pakistan a lead of 279, even though they lost their last six wickets for 42. The diminutive Best, back for only his second Test of the Caribbean season, claimed four wickets, as did Collymore, who completed match figures of 11 for 134, the best in any Test at Kingston, surpassing Hines Johnson's ten for 96 against England in 1947-48.
West Indies needed at least one major innings to threaten their target of 280, but the Pakistanis were in no mood to waste the opportunity. They were frustrated by prolonged afternoon showers following Gayle's dismissal, but clearing skies - and Sabina Park's vastly improved drainage - allowed play to continue on the fourth evening almost until sunset, by which time West Indies were floundering at 114 for six. It was Kaneria's time to shine after the beltings he had endured in the previous three innings: Sarwan trod on his stumps, Lara touched a leg-side catch to the impressive Kamran Akmal, Chanderpaul was lbw to one that barely rose off the ground, and West Indies were in tatters at 56 for four. Kaneria also removed Smith for 49 just before the close, and started the last rites on a sunny final morning by having Powell taken at silly point to complete another five-wicket haul. Shabbir cleaned up the last three wickets. When Best spooned a catch to Afridi, running back at mid-off, it gave Pakistan victory and marked the end of one distinguished Test career: umpire David Shepherd (who had rejected the idea of a special-dispensation farewell match at Lord's because he did not want a fuss) was retiring after 92 Tests. "It's been a very long road but basically a very happy one," he said.
Man of the Match: Danish Kaneria. Man of the Series: B. C. Lara.
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