Alam holds up West Indies before Abbas double lifts Pakistan

By Sports Desk August 12, 2021

Mohammad Abbas struck two late blows as Pakistan hit back after being dismissed for 217 on the opening day of the first Test against West Indies.

Seamer Abbas removed Kieran Powell and Nkrumah Bonner with successive deliveries just before the close in Jamaica as West Indies finished proceedings on 2-2.

Fawad Alam had earlier made a valiant 56 to lead a fightback from the tourists, despite Jayden Seales and Jason Holder both claiming three wickets after West Indies had won the toss and opted to bowl first.

Pakistan recovered from the early losses of openers Imran Butt (11) and Abid Ali (9) to reach 68-2 at one stage, only to then lose two key wickets in successive overs without adding a run to their total.

Azhar Ali fought hard before falling to Seales for 17, while Babar Azam then fell just five balls later, an inside edge grabbed by wicketkeeper Josh Da Silva as Kemar Roach (2-47) sent back Pakistan's captain for 30.

After Mohammad Rizwan was caught by Roston Chase off the bowling of Holder, Alam and Faheem Ashraf provided some much-needed stability to the innings.

Their partnership was worth 85 when a superb throw by Chase while diving forward caught Ashraf short of his ground to go for 44. Holder eventually ended Alam's defiant knock as Pakistan's final three wickets went down with the total stuck on 217.

The late clatter of wickets looked to have rounded out a good start to the series for the home team, only for Abbas' double to leave the game wonderfully poised. Captain Kraigg Brathwaite was unbeaten on 1, while Chase was still yet to get off the mark when bad light halted proceedings.

Alam keeps Pakistan afloat

With his unusual technique - he starts out chest-on in his stance looking straight at the bowler before switching to a more orthodox position - Alam can be difficult for opposition bowlers to get to grips with. It needed an inside edge to remove him, bowled when pushing at a delivery from Holder.

The left-hander was far from fluent but fought hard for the cause, hitting six fours to post his maiden Test half-century, though he has already managed four hundreds in the format.

Abbas shows problems ahead

It was undoubtedly a day for the pace bowlers, starting with Seales – who recorded career-best figures of 3-70 in Test cricket – and new-ball partner Roach.

Yet while West Indies’ attack performed admirably as a unit, the unerringly accurate Abbas demonstrated how it will not be easy in reply to Pakistan's workmanlike total at Sabina Park.

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