Pakistan's opportunity to break a jinx
After being subjected to their second consecutive whitewash in an ODI series, West Indies go into the two-Test series against Pakistan decidedly short on confidence. Their record at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown might give them just a little bit of cheer, though - out of the 42 Tests played on this ground, West Indies have won 20 and have lost only seven. However, four of those seven defeats have come on the trot since 2002, with New Zealand, Australia, England and South Africa all getting the better of them. Pakistan have never beaten them here, though, losing twice and drawing three times. The closest they came to a win here was in 1987-88, when West Indies clinched a thriller by two wickets.
The Test also marks the return of Brian Lara, who was rested for the one-day series. Though, Lara couldn't change his team's fortunes against South Africa, his record at this ground is excellent. In 14 Tests, he has amassed 1161 runs at 50.47 with two hundreds. Surprisingly, he holds a fairly ordinary record against Pakistan, scoring only 394 runs at 30, with no centuries. In comparison, Wavell Hinds has done much better, averaging 51.78 in five Tests.
For Pakistan, the absence of Inzamam-ul-Haq, who will be serving a one-match ban, could hamper their batting. In 11 matches against West Indies, Inzamam has scored 840 runs at 52.50, including three hundreds and as many fifties. Yousuf Youhana, the other big gun in the Pakistan line-up, has an even more imposing record against West Indies, with three centuries in five Tests, at an average of 78.
Bhavika Jhaveri is editorial assistant of Cricinfo