Danish Kaneria was ecstatic over his matchwinning spell © Getty Images
Inzamam-ul- Haq praised his team's effort in securing their first Test win in the Caribbean since 1988. Pakistan won by 136 runs in the second Test in Jamaica and levelled the series 1-1. "The boys really worked hard, and all credit must go to them for us winning this game because it's been 11 months of continuous cricket," Inzamam said during the post-match press conference. "I think it was a great effort to have come back from defeat in the first Test."
Apart from Inzamam's hundred in the second innings, Pakistan's victory was also inspired by Danish Kaneria, who scalped 5 for 46 in the second innings, and ended all West Indian hopes of winning the series. Inzamam commended Kaneria's matchwinning spell. "It was a close match, but I think the difference was the bowling of Danish in the second innings," he said. "He bowled tremendously well, and it was never going to be easy batting on this pitch on the fourth and fifth day."
Kaneria himself suggested that the surface had helped in sending the hosts hurtling to defeat. "I bowled a little quicker in this match because the pitch was giving me a lot of assistance, different to Barbados, where the turn was slow and the pitch was good for the batsmen," he said, after winning the man-of-the-match award. Shabbir Ahmed, whose bowling action was reported to the ICC last week, also supported Kaneria with 4 for 55 and finished with eight wickets in the match.
West Indies, who were beaten 2-0 by South Africa prior to this series, and then lost eight consecutive one-day internationals, had won the first Test at Bridgetown by 276 runs, and Shivnarine Chanderpaul preferred to focus on the positives. "It was still a decent series for us," he said. "We won the first Test, and we were able to bowl out Pakistan twice in both Tests. This shows that we can improve, and we are improving, and if we put in the hard work, we can get something in return.
"But, credit must be given to Pakistan. They played very well to come-from-behind, and win this game. The pitch always had a little bit in it for the bowlers, and they put the ball in the right areas, and that helped them to come out on top."
However, Bennett King, their coach, was not so lukewarm in his response. He blamed the bowlers for the loss, as they conceded 374 and 309 runs in the match. "In terms of the actual reason why we didn't win this Test match, you can actually blame our bowlers," he said. "Although we had a very good performance in Corey Collymore, I thought they scored 150 to 200 runs too many in total, through some pretty ordinary bowling. And that probably is the thing that disappointed me most."
West Indies were set a target of 280, which King reckoned was always going to be a tough proposition. "I thought the total that they set us was too much. I honestly thought that we should have got them out for a lot less. I think on that wicket, under 200 was probably a more realistic score."
All was not lost for West Indies, as Brian Lara was named the Man of the Series for scoring 331 runs at a phenomenal average of 82.75, including hundreds in both Tests. "It was a good home season for me, I scored four hundreds in five matches, but I did not do anything in the second innings of this Test match when it was most needed," said Lara. "We really needed a series victory to give us a boost of confidence, after losing to South Africa, and we were well placed coming into this Test after winning in Barbados. I think we have shown major improvements in our fielding, but hopefully we can work on our batting and bowling in the matches coming up."
West Indies have three weeks rest before traveling to Sri Lanka for two Tests and a triangular series also involving India. King made it clear that there would be no respite for his team. "They've all got programmes when they go home for the next three weeks," he said. "And it's been structured so that we've actually set times and organised with the trainers in their home countries what they've gotta do and what time to expect them. And if they don't show up, the trainers have been informed to ring us and tell us."