Azhar Ali and Taufeeq Umar guided Pakistan to 45 for one in their first-innings, after they lost an early wicket before lunch, in the opening Test against West Indies.
Azhar was not out on 27 and Taufeeq was not out on 13 at the interval as Pakistan started their reply to West Indies’ first-innings total of 226 on the second day of the Test at the Guyana National Stadium.
Pakistan lost opener Mohammad Hafeez – their most prolific batsman in the preceding One-Day International series – in the second over of their innings, when he was bowled for four, dragging a delivery from Ravi Rampaul into his stumps.
WI bowled out for 226
Earlier, Pakistan needed half an hour in the morning session to complete the demolition of the West Indies first-innings, after the hosts resumed from their overnight total of 209 for nine.
Pakistan’s spin bowlers, led by four-wicket Saeed Ajmal, gave the visitors control over proceedings as West Indies crumbled to lose their last eight wickets for 99 runs.
Ajmal, who ended the opening day with four for 63 from 29 overs, completed his five-wicket haul when he had Kemar Roach caught at forward short leg for a Test-best 24.
Fellow off-spinner Hafeez supported with two for 22 off 13 overs, and left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman captured two for 51 from 29 overs.
Hosts’ batting fails yet again
Lendl Simmons, whose 49 was the top score for West Indies, and Darren Bravo added 56 for the second wicket after Hafeez had dismissed Devon Smith early.
However, Pakistan continued to tighten their grip, when Wahab Riaz trapped Bravo lbw for 25 in the third over after the lunch interval on the first day.
Riaz also interrupted the West Indies’ flow when he struck Simmons on his left knee, and forced him to retire hurt on 41, leaving the home team on 81 for two.
Pakistan ran into defiance when Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan, West Indies’ two most experienced batsmen, came together, and spent just over 90 minutes in astute consolidation.
Rehman made a decisive breakthrough however, when he had Sarwan caught behind for 23, top-edging a cut, and requiring New Zealand umpire Tony Hill to review his not-out verdict, to leave West Indies 131 for three at tea.
Ajmal takes it away from the Windies
After tea, Ajmal and Rehman continued to apply the pressure, and things fell apart for West Indies in dramatic fashion.
Ajmal gained lbw verdicts to dismiss Brendan Nash for five, and Carlton Baugh for four before Rehman had West Indies captain Darren Sammy caught at deep mid-on for 12.
But Ajmal swung fortunes firmly Pakistan’s way when he bowled the obdurate Chanderpaul for 27 with a doosra that spun sharply out of the rough outside the left-hander’s off-stump.
Ajmal also trapped Simmons leg before wicket after the batsman returned to the middle following the dismissal of Sammy, and Hafeez too, gained an lbw decision to remove Ravi Rampaul for 14 as the Windies crumbled.
Pakistan are aiming for their first Test-series win in the Caribbean.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 14th, 2011.