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Pakistan, West Indies vie for crucial WTC23 points in second Test today

Pakistan, West Indies vie for crucial WTC23 points in second Test today
August 20, 2021 Web Desk

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Less than five days after playing one of the most memorable Test matches in recent history, West Indies and Pakistan will once again take the field in the second and final game of the series at Sabina Park on Friday.

The match will start at 8pm. Since the second Test too will be played at Sabina Park in Jamaica, both teams could opt to go with an all-pace bowling lineup after the spinners went wicketless in the first game.

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite could look to off-spinner Roston Chase to provide some variety and bring in another fast bowler, perhaps Alzarri Joseph, to complete the pace quartet. Pakistan too might ring in a couple of changes if they too want to go with the all-pacers strategy, which would mean Yasir Shah sitting the second match out.

The bowlers might have hogged most of the limelight in the first Test, but it also highlighted how important it is for batters to grind it out in difficult conditions, especially in low-scoring encounters such as these.

While several batters on both sides got off to starts, they could not convert it into big scores. With Kraigg Brathwaite and Babar Azam leading from the front with the bat in the first game, the two will want the rest of the batting lineup to get their act together in the final Test.

Remember the last time: West Indies scraped through by the barest of margins to register a thrilling one-wicket win against Pakistan in the first Test of the series.

Put in to bat first, Pakistan were knocked over for just 217 on a pacer-friendly Sabina Park track. Fawad Alan was the only batter to cross the 50-run mark for the visitors but he did find some support from Faheem Ashraf and Babar.

Kraigg Brathwaite's 97 and Jason Holder's 58 ensured Windies got a crucial 36-run lead in the first innings. The rest of the batters had no answer for Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Abbas' masterful bowling, who accounted for seven wickets between them.

Playing in just his third Test, Jayden Seales registered his first five-for to restrict Pakistan to 203, setting West Indies a target of 168. Babar was almost the lone warrior in the third innings as his fellow batsmen failed to convert their starts into big scores.

The drama of the Test match really unfolded on day four in the final innings. The control of the match swung from one side to another throughout – Pakistan struck early as Windies were reduced to 16/3 before Jermaine Blackwood's fifty wrestled control back in the favour of the hosts.

Pakistan bowlers fought back valiantly to dismiss Blackwood and Holder in a span of four overs. A crucial unbeaten knock of 30 from Kemar Roach proved to be the difference between the two sides as Windies registered full 12 points on the ICC World Test Championship 2021-23 table.

What they said:

Waqar Younis (Pakistan bowling coach): "We would not get a better advertisement for the beauty of Test cricket. Both teams fought very well but unfortunately, we didn't avail some good opportunities at a crucial stage of the match which cost us at the end. The pitch was conducive to seam bowling and our pacers bowled really well. Undoubtedly, it was a low target that we had to defend yet we fought really hard and it was only some dropped catches that took the game away from us." –ICC