Saturday, April 13, 2024

Roach and Seales clinch nail-biting win for Windies

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Kingston – Last wicket pair of pacers Kemar Roach and Jayden Seales held their nerve and West Indies clinched a one-wicket victory over Pakistan in the first Test in Jamaica.

Roach was not out on 30 and Seales was not out on two and the Windies successfully chased 168 for victory, after they had bowled out Pakistan for 203 in their second innings.

Fortunes ebbed and flowed dramatically throughout the fourth day of the contest at Sabina Park with 14 wickets falling before Roach drove a wide half-volley from Hasan Ali through cover for two to the Caribbean side over the finish line about 25 minutes before the scheduled close.

All appeared lost for West Indies, when Joshua da Silva, the last of their recognised batsmen, was caught behind off left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi for 20 with 26 still needed and two wickets remaining.

But Roach took up the challenge and batted confidently for the next hour and 45 minutes to lead the rearguard for the Windies.

“I have never been a situation like that before batting with the tail,” Roach said after play. “I am part of the tail, so for me it was to go out there and believe. That was the biggest thing – to believe and stay positive – and it worked, and I give thanks.”

It was never going to be an easy chase after Afridi removed the first three batsmen in the home team’s batting order cheaply before lunch and they were reeling on 38 for three at lunch.

A 68-run, fourth wicket stand between Jermaine Blackwood, whose 55 was the top score, and Roston Chase, with 22, offered them hope.

West Indies lost four wickets – two apiece to pacers Faheem Ashraf and Hasan Ali – in the final hour before tea, when Imran Butt began a series of stunning slip catches to turn the tide back Pakistan’s way.

When Jason Holder was bowled by Ali for 16, tea was taken with the Windies 114 for seven, but the match continued to fluctuate after the break with three dropped catches – including Roach on 16 off Afridi to Ali at deep square – contributing to Pakistan’s failure to wrap up the tail.

Earlier, Seales became the youngest West Indies bowler at 19 years, 339 days to take five wickets in a Test, beating Alf Valentine’s 71-year-old record, as he rolled over Pakistan’s lower order after they resumed at 160 for five.

Roach removed Faheem to take the first wicket of the day for the hosts, then Kyle Mayers snagged Pakistan captain Babar Azam, whose 55 was his side’s top score, before Seales bagged the remaining three wickets.

The second and final Test of the series starts on Friday at the same venue, and it is also set to be played behind closed doors because of the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having in the country.

Summarised scores:

Pakistan 217 (Fawad Alam 56, Faheem Ashraf 44, Babar Azam 30, Mohammad Rizwan 23, Azhar Ali 17, Hasan Ali 14, Imran Butt 11; Jason Holder 3-26, Jayden Seales 3-70, Kemar Roach 2-47) and 203 (Babar Azam 55, Abid Ali 34, Mohammad Rizwan 30, Hasan Ali 28, Azhar Ali 23, Faheem Ashraf 20; Jayden Seales 15.4-3-55-5, Kemar Roach 3-30).

West Indies 253 (Kraigg Brathwaite 97, Jason Holder 58, Jermaine Blackwood 22, Roston Chase 21, Joshua da Silva 21, Kemar Roach 13; Shaheen Afridi 4-59, Mohammad Abbas 3-43) and 168 for nine(Jermaine Blackwood 55, Kemar Roach 30 not out, Roston Chase 22, Jason Holder 16, Joshua da Silva 13; Shaheen Afridi 4-50, Hasan Ali 3-37, Faheem Ashraf 2-29).

(Agencies)

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