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Roach and Seales assist West Indies pull off an exhilarating one-wicket win over Pakistan


    West Indies 253 (Brathwaite 97, Holder 58, Afridi 4-59) and 168 for 9 (Blackwood 55, Roach 30*, Afridi 4-50) beat Pakistan 217 (Fawad 56, Holder 3-26, Seales 3-70) and 203 (Azam 55, Seales 5-55, Roach 3-30) by one wicket

    Antigua 2000, Dominica 2017 and now Jamaica 2021. West Indies and Pakistan added one other chapter to the listing of enthralling, nail-biting Tests between these two sides because the hosts eked out a surprising one-wicket win with Nos. 9 and 11 holding on.
    As Kemar Roach and Jayden Seales saved batting, the nerves saved constructing. Finally, all of it got here all the way down to a fateful Hasan Ali over, as a nick evaded a valiant dive from Mohammad Rizwan to race away for a boundary earlier than Roach pushed one via the off facet to ensure a 1-0 sequence lead.

    Pakistan had their probabilities, however the story, for now, is completely West Indian. The hosts regarded like that they had been edged out of this match so typically in the direction of the demise, and but refused to acknowledge it was sport over. But it did appear like that when Roston Chase and Kyle Mayers fell in fast succession, when Jason Holder was cleaned up by Hasan and when Joshua Da Silva – the final acknowledged batter – fell with 26 nonetheless to go. However, West Indies saved pulling down the runs, and the scoreboard stress shifted fully to Pakistan. The guests may need been agency favourites after the hosts had been lowered to 9 down, however as Pakistan misplaced their nerve, Roach and {the teenager} Seales held theirs.

    For Pakistan, there was historic priority in maybe their most well-known Test of all. In 1954, a Fazal Mahmood impressed facet defended 167 – precisely what that they had on the board at the moment – towards England at the Oval: the origin story of Pakistan cricket. It would possibly even have been comfy when Shaheen Afridi blew aside the highest order, and when a middle-order West Indian collapse noticed Pakistan burrow deep into their tail. But the catching, so sensational up till the ultimate session, allow them to down in essential moments.

    Roach was put down by Rizwan as a partnership with Da Silva flowered, earlier than Hasan dropped him as effectively within the deep with 19 runs nonetheless to get. Rizwan’s 45-yard dash to seal Jomel Warrican’s destiny regarded additionally to have completed it for West Indies, however there was maybe a possibility to pluck a diving one-handed catch off the Roach edge that ended up going to the boundary in that last over.

    It could appear ages in the past now, however a dramatic morning session noticed extra drama than many complete days, spanning eight wickets throughout two innings. Seales led the cost within the mission to take away the decrease order cheaply, and inside an hour-and-a-half, Pakistan’s final 5 had fallen for 35. Of these 35 runs, 28 have been added by an enterprising Hasan in simply 26 balls with two fours and two sixes. That pushed the lead above 150 for Pakistan, every additional run giving himself and his fellow bowlers treasured respiration room.

    Moreover, Babar Azam’s presence on the crease was all the time going to be important, however a Mayers supply seared up off a crack and looped as much as Holder at second slip early within the day. Azam had departed for a valiant 55, and whereas it introduced Pakistan agonizingly shut, his facet ended up needing only a bit extra from him.

    From there on, it was all the way down to the uncooked tempo of Seales towards Pakistan’s decrease order. Yasir Shah and Afridi have been despatched again with little trouble, however Hasan rode his luck as Pakistan introduced up 200. Seales, although, wouldn’t be denied a maiden five-for in simply his second Test, and acquired there when Hasan’s hook went straight to Roach at tremendous leg. In the method, he turned the youngest West Indies bowler to earn a Test five-for because the hosts have been set 168 to win.

    The Afridi present started in a considerably surreal over that had three evaluations for leg earlier than wicket by Pakistan towards Kieran Powell, the third lastly leading to success. Kraigg Brathwaite did not final lengthy within the face of a hostile spell from Afridi, his poke at one which jagged away resulting in his downfall, however solely after a overview. Nkrumah Bonner dragged on in Afridi’s following over, and all of a sudden, the pre-lunch session changed into a damage-limitation train for West Indies.

    After the mad rush of the primary session got here the relative gradual burn of the second. No much less absorbing for its barely slower tempo, it carried with it the feeling of a constructing crescendo. West Indies made the early operating as Chase and Jermaine Blackwood, West Indies’ high scorer with 55, threatened to take it away for the hosts with a 68-run fourth wicket partnership.

    They got here out after lunch a way more assured pair, Blackwood persevering with to place something too large or too full away. Hasan particularly got here in for punishment off successive overs as he struggled together with his traces; and with a small goal to defend, there wasn’t a lot room for error, each boundary tilting the scales the batters’ manner.

    Chase, Pakistan’s pet peeve in 2017, was trying simply as untroubled with out fairly having as a lot of an impression on the scoreboard. But all West Indies wanted was a partnership, and so long as the pair continued remained on the crease, the hazard indicators flashed for Pakistan.

    Faheem Ashraf, Pakistan’s impression allrounder of late, was the person to interrupt the partnership, always threatening Chase’s outdoors edge in a probing over. When the sting got here, Imran Butt was by no means going to drop a low catch; and in Ashraf’s subsequent over, the identical mixture removed Kyle Mayers for a pair.

    But the second of the session got here in late, when a couple of Holder boundaries had introduced the required runs down beneath 60. Blackwood hung his bat out at Hasan as soon as too typically, sending it straight to first slip; besides Butt at second determined solely he might be trusted behind the stumps, diving sensationally to his left to carry on to a stunner. On the stroke of tea, Holder discovered his off peg knocked again with a magnificence.

    It regarded like a bridge too far when Da Silva and Roach got here out after tea nonetheless needing 54, however as in Antigua and Dominica, the West Indies decrease order refused to offer in. They started to knock off the runs progressively, and all of a sudden, with the pair trying comparatively untroubled, West Indies had lower than 30 left to go. Pakistan, to their alarm, discovered they have been nonetheless in a sport, and with West Indies refusing to roll over, it turned a sport of shredded nerves as a lot as beautiful talent.

    There was the glory of Rizwan’s catch that spanned the size of the bottom, the errors like Hasan’s drop at deep sq. leg, the center of Roach going for his pictures with the last word consequence on the road and the center of Seales seeing off some searing tempo bowling from Afridi. Pakistan broke West Indian hearts 4 years in the past, however in a basic that contained shades of Antigua, West Indies have exacted exceptionally candy revenge in Jamaica.

    Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000


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