KINGSTON (AFP) – Shaheen Shah Afridi completed a ten-wicket match haul to bowl Pakistan to a series-leveling 109-run victory over the West Indies within the final session of the second and final Test at Sabina Park on Tuesday.
Frustrated by the loss of a whole day splay and another session to rain and a sodden outfield over the weekend, Shaheen kept Pakistan s hopes alive with a devastating first innings effort of six for 51 on day four – his best Test innings performance – and returned on the ultimate day to strike critical blows.
Then, when it seemed the weather would ruin their desperate push for victory, he came back for a final spell with the second new ball to require the last two wickets and provides his team an incredible triumph with one hour to spare.
Starting the day at 49 for one and facing the unlikely target of 329, the West Indies were again disappointed by their top-order batting, sliding to 113 for 6 in mid-afternoon despite a battling 39 from captain Kraigg Brathwaite.
Former skipper Jason Holder eventually top-scored with 47 but it had been his demise to Nauman Ali, the left-arm spinner s third wicket, which eased a rising sense of panic within the Pakistan camp. Then Afridi, new ball in hand and with eight wickets down, trapped Kemar Roach leg-before.
Afridi then induced a mistimed drive from Joshua da Silva for Faheem Ashraf to require the catch at mid-on and dismiss the West Indies for 219 and seal yet one more come-from-behind effort for Pakistan within the Caribbean.
As in 2005 and 2011, Pakistan, this point led by Babar Azam, lost the primary Test but rebounded to require the second and share the honors with the hosts.
“This was a really important win for us, especially given the way we lost that first Test,” said Babar, reflecting on the heart-breaking one-wicket defeat at an equivalent venue nine days earlier.
“My partnership with Fawad Alam and his brilliant century was in fact valuable, but I even have to offer massive credit to the bowling of Shaheen because he makes things tons easier for us.”
- Great team effort –
Shaheen s second-innings figures of 4 for 43 gave him a match haul of ten for 94 and with a series-leading tally of 18 wickets within the two matches at a mean of 11.28, it had been inevitable that the 21-year-old would be both Men of the Match and Man of the Series.
“It was an excellent effort, a team effort. this is often what the team needed and that I am just happy that I used to be ready to deliver,” said the left-arm pacer.
“It was really tough out there, extremely hot and albeit we were learning wickets along the way we actually had to figure very hard and credit must attend the whole bowling unit.”
Shaheen started the ball rolling for Pakistan within the primary half-hour of the day when he removed nightwatchman Alzarri Joseph via an ambitious top-edged hook which was held by wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan. He then returned even as a shower was close to sweeping across the bottom in mid-afternoon to interrupt a stubborn seventh-wicket partnership between Kyle Mayers and Holder.
Mayers dismissal was an excellent relief to Pakistan as just a few overs earlier he was dropped at short-leg by Abid Ali off Nauman.
Abid was also badly guilty when he missed Brathwaite at take-off Faheem within the morning session.
On 25 at the time, the West Indies captain carried on to 39 but fell shortly after lunch when a top-edged stop Nauman found a grateful Fawad Alam at backward point.
“Consistency is what we’d like. I just think it’s a mindset because Test cricket isn’t easy and every one the blokes technically can bat,” said Brathwaite when it had been everywhere in attempting to pinpoint the explanation for his team s repeated batting failures.
“We need to find ways to create innings, to deal with the primary 30 balls and obtain through those tough periods.”
Shaheen had set the tone at the beginning of the day with the first wicket and his teammates followed his lead.
Nkrumah Bonner was soon trapped leg-before by Hasan Ali and following Abid s inexplicable miss, his opening partner Imran Butt reinforced his reputation because the safest pair of hands within the Pakistan team, holding on to Roston Chase s edged chase away Hasan diving to his right at second slip.
Jermaine Blackwood looked capable of reaching the lunch interval with Brathwaite but Nauman accounted for him for 25 via another wicketkeeper s catch, the fourth wicket of the morning after the West Indies resumed at 49 for one.