The second test between the West Indies and Pakistan in Barbados was drawn this past Monday after some brilliant cricket and a gripping final days play that saw the home side batting their way to a draw amidst great tension and against a formidable Pakistani bowling attack.
On winning the toss Pakistani captain, Moin Khan elected to bat on what looked to be a perfect batting pitch. The decision was initially the right one. However, the Pakistani batsmen did not take advantage of the flat Kensington pitch and were in trouble at 37 for 5 on the first day when Yousuf Youhana and his skipper were brought together. Youhana (115) played with extreme class as his first test century in the West Indies was glittered with 14 fours. He showed patience and batted with a wonderful temperament as he was ably assisted by Moin Khan (38) and Wasim Akram (42) who both scored freely on the Kensington pitch as Pakistan scored 253 all out. Courtney Walsh was the pick of the bowlers, as he has been so many times before in his illustrious career, with remarkable figures of 5 for 22 from just 13 overs.
In reply, the West Indies couldn't have asked for a better start as Sherwin Campbell (58) and Wavell Hinds (165) put together a 133 second wicket partnership. Campbell was severe on the Pakistani bowling attack as he dispatched anything short of a good length to the boundary and clobbered two massive sixes off Akram and Younis over the square leg boundary. However, it was Hinds who stole the show with his first test century. He played with extreme freedom and was not afraid to use his feet to the Pakistani spinners, especially Saqlain, who he chipped back down the ground to bring up his century. His innings consisted of 24 fours and one six.
It was the young Guyanese, 19 year old Ramnaresh Sarwan, who continued the West Indian onslaught after Hinds' departure as he played with the confidence of a seasoned veteran on his debut. He registered his first half century and kept together the lower half of the West Indies' innings quite admirably as he finished with 84 not out from 232 balls. Seasoned pacers, Ambrose and Walsh both helped the West Indies score with two equally important innings of 22 that took the home team to a score of 398 all out. Saqlain Mushtaq bowled with continued agression as he spun his way to figures of 5 for 121 from 51 overs.
Pakistan's second turn at the wicket got off to a flyer as Mohammed Wasim (82) and 19 year old Imran Nazir (131) put together an opening partnership of 219. Nazir played superbly in just his second test match as he spanked 20 boundaries. Both batted admirably and mixed control with aggression. The only other major partnership of the innings was between Abdur Razzaq (72) and Saqlain Mustaq (33) who accumulated a very important stand of 70 that took the Pakistanis up to 419 for 9 before Moin Khan called in his troops in an effort to bowl out the West Indies before they scored 275 for victory. Reon King spearheaded the West Indian attack with 4 for 82 and bowled typically fast with good control.
With a minimum of 57 overs the West Indian batsmen decided just to play for a draw instead of risking their wickets in an effort to score 275 against the Pakistani spinners on the last day of the test. Wavell Hinds played freely once again with 52 and his skipper Adams ended on 32 not out as the West Indies plodded to 132 for 4 at the close. Hinds won man of the match for his two, highly entertaining innings that highlighted the brilliant batting that was evident throughout this high scoring and exciting affair.
Two draws in the first two test matches sets up the third and final test in Antigua at the ARG to be a very exciting and keenly fought battle. No doubt both sides will be hoping for a victory and this may produce some of the most exciting cricket of the tour.