Captain Kraigg Brathwaite led the way before he was run out just shy of a century as West Indies edged ahead of Pakistan in the first Test in Jamaica.

West Indies had bowled out their opponents for 217 on the opening day of the two-match series, only to then slip to 2-2 late in Thursday's proceedings when Mohammad Abbas struck twice.

It seemed they could struggle to get even close to parity when they slipped to 100-5 during day two, but Brathwaite stood firm to make sure his side claimed a first-innings lead.

The opening batsman hit 12 fours as he patiently worked his way to 97 but, with a hundred in sight, was caught short by Hasan Ali's direct hit from fine leg to depart.

Jason Holder contributed 58 as he added 96 for the sixth wicket with the man who replaced him as skipper, the former's fluent 108-ball knock including 10 boundaries.

Abbas dismissed Kemar Roach lbw in the closing overs, giving him figures of 3-42 in the match, while Shaheen Shah Afridi ended with 2-59.

However, Joshua Da Silva was unbeaten on 20 alongside Jomel Warrican, who will resume on one not out, as West Indies closed at 251-8, already holding what could be a crucial 34-run advantage in a potentially low-scoring contest.

Coming up short

Brathwaite appeared to be working his way towards a 10th Test century and a second of the calendar year, having made 126 against Sri Lanka back in March. While unable to make it to the milestone in the end, his defiant innings made sure West Indies hold the upper hand at Sabina Park.

Afridi strikes twice but hosts recover

Pakistan will feel they let West Indies off the hook, particularly after Afridi dismissed Jermaine Blackwood – whose ambitious attempt to hit over the top on 22 only found Abbas at mid-on – and Kyle Mayers with successive deliveries in the second session. They will hope to wrap up the tail quickly on day three.

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.

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons has backed mercurial talent Shimron Hetmyer to eventually find his way back into the Test team after an extended absence.

Despite being considered one of the team’s brightest talents, and having appeared in all formats, Hetmyer has not suited up for the Test team since 2019, against Afghanistan.

The 24-year-old, who made his debut against India in 2016, has struggled for consistency, scoring five 50s in 15 matches with a high score of 93, but with several other innings where he has not delivered.  Despite obvious potential, his overall average of 28 falls on the mediocre side.

In addition, the athlete has also had his share fair of fitness issues over the past two years, twice failing fitness standards after being included in touring squads.  Simmons has, however, backed the batsman to eventually get things right.

“I think that Hetmyer can be a world-class Test player when that time comes,” Simmons told members of the media.

“I’m sure at some point he’s going to return to the Test squad.  I’m sure the experience he’s gotten from being there before will serve him well and that he will make use of it.  I think he is maturing as we go along.  He’s had a few incidents he’s not proud of, but he’s maturing and I’m sure he will get back into the Test squad at some point in time and show what he’s made of.”

 

West Indies coach Phil Simmons insists the team is preparing for a tough Test series against Pakistan, not just based on the competitiveness of previous encounters, but because of the form of the teams heading into the matches.

On the back of a largely rained-out T20I series, Pakistan should head into the encounter high on confidence following 2-0 wins over Zimbabwe and South Africa.  After two impressive performances, the West Indies will head into the series on the back of underwhelming performances, at home, against South Africa, where they were themselves swept aside 2-0.

“Going through the years we’ve always had tough battles with any Pakistan team whether we go there, or they come to the Caribbean,” Simmons told members of the media at an online press conference on Monday.

“They have played very well in their last two-Test series, so they are coming here on a high, whereas we played well in a couple of Test series and the last one we didn’t play well.  So, even though we are home, we’ll be an underdog in this, but we are going to try to put everything into it,” he added.

The West Indies last played Pakistan in a Test series in 2017 when they lost 2-1 at home, they have in fact not managed a win over the South Asian team since 2000.

Middle-order batsman Shamarh Brooks and fast bowler Chemar Holder have been recalled to a 17-man provisional squad for the Betway Test Series against Pakistan, starting on Thursday, August 12. However, there is no room for left-hander Darren Bravo and fast bowler Shannon Gabriel.

Holder made his Test debut against New Zealand last year but has not featured since then. Brooks, meanwhile, also last played against New Zealand and has earned a recall following a polished century in the Best v Best four-day match last week.

“Chemar Holder returns, having recovered from his injury. He will bolster the fast bowling department. Shamarh Brooks batted his way into the provisional squad by scoring an accomplished century. He will certainly add some depth to the squad’s batting,” said Chief Selector Roger Harper in explaining the recall of the two players.

Regarding Gabriel’s omission, Harper said the player is being given time to work on his fitness.

“Shannon Gabriel has been given time to rehab fully and build his conditioning, so he was not part of the preparations for the Test series against Pakistan, which included the Best v Best game. Darren Bravo has been part of the ‘bubble’ from the preparation camp leading into the Betway Test series against South Africa and has been given a break,” Harper said.

“I expect the team to be highly competitive in every department while playing with passion, purpose and determination. I look forward to the batsmen stepping up as they did in the series against Bangladesh and against Sri Lanka earlier this year in Antigua.”

The two-match Betway Test Series will be played at Sabina Park from August 12-16 and August 20-24. The Betway Test Series forms the first of six Series in the new cycle of the International Cricket Council World Test Championship to find the best Test match cricket team in the world.

FULL SQUAD: Kraigg Brathwaite (Captain), Jermaine Blackwood (Vice-Captain), Nkrumah Bonner, Shamarh Brooks, Rahkeem Cornwall, Roston Chase, Joshua Da Silva, Jahmar Hamilton, Chemar Holder, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Kieran Powell, Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales, and Jomel Warrican.

West Indies vice-captain Nicholas Pooran played a sizzling career-best knock while fast bowler Jason Holder took career-best bowling figures, but Pakistan's bowling attack did just enough to take them to victory in the second match on Saturday.

Pooran's explosive unbeaten 62 off 33 balls with six 6s and four 4s kept the West Indies in with a chance of overcoming the target, even to the final over when 20 runs were required to overhaul Pakistan's total of 157-8.

However, Shaheen Shah Afridi claimed the wicket of captain Kieron Pollard (13) and then denied the rampant Pooran the opportunity to swing freely and lustily at the next three deliveries to ensure the visitors came away with the win, with the hosts kept to 150-4 off 20 overs.

West Indies suffered a setback when opening batsman Evin Lewis retired hurt on 35 off 33 balls with two fours and two sixes mid-way through the innings.

Earlier in the match, it was Holder and Dwayne Bravo who combined to put the brakes on the Pakistan scoring rate. Holder returned the excellent figures of 4-26 while Bravo, the leading wicket-taker in all T20 cricket, claimed 2-24 as the tourists squandered a solid platform provided by Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan.

Babar’s polished 51 off 58 balls with two sixes and four 4s was the top score of the innings. He put on 67 runs for the third wicket with Rizwan (46) after Sharjeel Khan and Rizwan had set the stage for a challenging target in putting on 56.

Pollard, who played the supporting role in a 70-run fourth-wicket partnership with Pooran to revive the West Indies chances, gave credit to the West Indies bowlers for limiting the visitors after he chose to put them in to bat.

 “We were staring down the barrel of a 170-plus total and I was really happy with the way the bowlers battled back in the latter half of their innings,” Pollard said.

“We had to try and explode towards the end, but it just didn't work out.”

 Rain forced an early end to West Indies’ first Twenty20 against Pakistan with no result on Wednesday despite the game being reduced to nine overs per side.

West Indies had reached 85-5 off their nine overs before umpires abandoned the game with rain persistently falling at the Kensington Oval.

West Indies, loaded with power-hitters, couldn’t get the tempo after the game was shortened as Pakistan won the toss and elected to field first.

Lendl Simmons (9) had to retire hurt in only the second over of the innings after being hit on the left side of the neck by debutant fast bowler Mohammad Wasim’s short-pitched delivery.

Fast bowler Hasan Ali (2-11) had Evin Lewis caught at mid-on off his first delivery and Nicholas Pooran (13) smashed Mohammad Hafeez for two sixes before ballooning an easy catch to point off the off-spinner.

The two experienced power-hitters -- Andre Russell and Chris Gayle -- also couldn’t make an impact against the variations of Pakistan spin and pace.

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Russell smashed leg-spinner, Usman Qadir, for a six over extra cover in the sixth over before getting a thick edge to wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan in the same over.

Wasim had a memorable debut to his T20 international when Gayle holed out in the deep for a run-a-ball seven before captain Kieron Pollard lifted the total in the last over.

Top scorer Pollard (22 not out) hit Shaheen Afridi for a boundary and then ended the innings with a six over mid-wicket before rain ruined the series opener.

The remaining three matches will be played at Providence before a two-test series at Kingston beginning from Aug. 12.

Australia's bowlers starred as the tourists cruised to a six-wicket victory to seal a 2-1 ODI series win over the West Indies in Barbados on Monday.

The West Indies, who were looking for their first bilateral men’s ODI series win against Australia since 1995, were skittled for 152 with pace pair Mitchell Starc (43-3) and Josh Hazlewood (18-2) dominating again.

Opening batsman Evin Lewis offered the only resistance with 55* from 66 balls, having recovered from an early edge to the helmet, with no other West Indian scoring higher than 18.

Starc claimed the key wicket of West Indies skipper Kieron Pollard for 11 caught by Ashton Turner, as the hosts slumped to 75-6 when Adam Zampa bowled Jason Holder for 5.

Player of the Match Ashton Agar (31-2) was crucial with the early wickets of Shai Hope and Darren Bravo, before playing a steadying role with the bat.

Agar (19*) combined with Matthew Wade (51* from 52 balls), after Australia had been mildly concerned at 99-4 following Alex Carey's dismissal for 35, to finish the job with 117 balls to spare.

Wade delivered some lusty blows including a six which landed on top of the Greenridge-Haynes Stand, finishing with five fours and two sixes.

POLLARD RUES "ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS" CONDITIONS

Pollard lamented the West Indies' batting performance again, having scored only 123 in the first ODI of the series at the same venue, but slammed the "absolutely ridiculous" pitch in Bridgetown.

The West Indies struggled throughout with the bat, with a run rate of 3.36, managing only nine fours and six sixes, compared to Australia's run rate of 5.01 in pursuit.

Runs were in no short supply for Pollard's side in the 4-1 T20I series win in Saint Lucia which preceded the ODIs.

"Coming from the T20 series, the difference in the strokeplay was evident," Pollard said. "Coming here to Barbados, I think both teams struggled on the pitch and I think that's unacceptable for international cricket.

"We're not going to make excuses. We accept that we batted badly but I don't think the scores that we have gotten in this three-match series, with two top international teams, I think that's very embarrassing. Coming from St Lucia to this, I think it's absolutely ridiculous."

"GROUP EFFORT" FROM AUSSIES

Starc finished the three-game ODI series with the most wickets, claiming 11 dismissals, including a five-wicket haul in the opener and was rewarded with the Player of the Series award.

Stand-in skipper Carey finished with the most runs in the series with 112, while Agar's Player of the Match gong was the first of his ODI career.

Carey said: "Fantastic group effort. I thought the bowlers did a great job, I thought there were some good innings throughout the series.

"It was a little bit ugly tonight but you've got to get a total like that a bit ugly when the wicket is doing a fair bit."

Australia had lost seven of their last 10 men’s ODIs played away from home, but showed their quality in 50-over cricket with the series victory.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) today announced a revised match schedule for the upcoming “Osaka Presents PSO Carient T20 Cup” between the West Indies and Pakistan in the Caribbean.

A four-match T20 International (T20I) series, has been agreed, scheduled to start on Wednesday, July 28 at Kensington Oval, Barbados. The first ball is 10am (9am Jamaica Time) for the first match, with the final three to be played at the Guyana National Stadium on Saturday, July 31; Sunday, August 1 and Tuesday, August 3 at 11am (10am Jamaica Time).

The adjustment to the Osaka Presents PSO Carient T20 Cup schedule was necessary due to the changes to the fixtures for the ongoing CG Insurance One-Day International (ODI) Series between West Indies and Australia, which are part of the International Cricket Council’s ODI Super League, which concludes on Monday, July 26.

Ricky Skerritt, CWI President said: “Together with the PCB, CWI have examined various scenarios, and we jointly agreed that the best solution in the present circumstances is to cancel the first T20I and play a four-match T20I series starting on Wednesday and keep the rest of the tour schedule unchanged. We want to express our gratitude to the PCB Chairman, Ehsan Mani and CEO, Wasim Khan, and the Pakistan team for their understanding in this situation and for agreeing to the revised match schedule. Both teams are in the final stages of preparing for the ICC T20 World Cup, so we anticipate an exciting and entertaining series of games as both teams compete for Osaka Presents PSO Carient T20 Cup.”

West Indies, the two-time World Champions (2012 and 2016), are using this series as part of their build-up to the next ICC T20 World Cup which will be played from October 17 to November 14 in the United Arab Emirates and Oman. They enter the series on the back of a 4-1 triumph over Australia in the recent CG Insurance T20Is at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in Saint Lucia. Pakistan won the ICC T20 World Cup in 2009.

Following the Osaka Presents PSO Carient T20 Cup, West Indies and Pakistan will then play two Betway Test matches at Sabina Park in Jamaica from August 12-16 and then from August 20-24. This is the first Test Series for the West Indies in the new 2021-2023 ICC World Test Championship.

FULL MATCH SCHEDULE

July 28: 1st Osaka Presents PSO Carient T20 Cup match at Kensington Oval – 10 am local (9 am Jamaica Time)

July 31: 2nd Osaka Presents PSO Carient T20 Cup match at Guyana National Stadium – 11 am local (10 am Jamaica)

August 1: 3rd Osaka Presents PSO Carient T20 Cup match at Guyana National Stadium – 11 am local (10 am Jamaica)

August 3: 4th Osaka Presents PSO Carient T20 Cup match at Guyana National Stadium – 11 am local (10 am Jamaica)

August 12-16: 1st Betway Test at Sabina Park – 10 am Jamaica Time (11 am Eastern Caribbean)

August 20-24: 2nd Betway Test at Sabina Park – 10 am Jamaica Time (11 am Eastern Caribbean)

Nicholas Pooran has guided West Indies to a series-levelling One Day International victory despite a scare in the run chase against Australia in Bridgetown on Saturday.

Akeal Hosein (30-3) and Alzarri Joseph (39-3) were exceptional in reducing Australia to 45-6 before the tourists rallied to 187.

But the West Indies stumbled in their chase, slumping to 72-5 before Pooran (59* from 75) combined with Jason Holder (52) for a decisive 93-run sixth-wicket stand.

Player of the Match Pooran was crucially dropped by Moises Henriques off Adam Zampa on 26, before making his eighth ODI half-century.

Mitchell Starc, who finished with 26-3 from 10 overs, had dismissed Evin Lewis (1) and Darren Bravo (duck), before trapping Holder LBW but Pooran guided the hosts home.

Earlier, Australia struggled with the bat, with Hosein dismissing Henriques, stand-in captain Alex Carey and Ashton Turner in an excellent spell.

Matthew Wade (36) and Adam Zampa (36) rallied for Australia, before an excellent late cameo from second-gamer Wes Agar (41 from 36).

POLLARD HAILS 'SCRATCHY' POORAN

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard said allowing Australia to reach 187 was disappointing but hailed Pooran's determination after a "scratchy" knock.

"What was good this time around was the fight by the guys, Nicholas Pooran getting that half-century and Jason Holder as well," Pollard said.

"Pooran has been looking like his old self again. He was a bit scratchy tonight but sometimes that's what you need in a game like this. You want someone to scrap and I think they both scrapped well for us to come through for a victory."

The West Indies avoided suffering back-to-back home defeats for the first time since August 2019.

Pooran's innings also took him past 1,000 ODI runs, becoming the 39th West Indian player to achieve the feat and the joint-third fastest for the side (Viv Richards – 21, Gordon Greenidge – 23, Ramnaresh Sarwan – 27).

AUSSIES STILL BULLISH AHEAD OF DECIDER

Australia are unbeaten in their past six ODI bilateral series (W4, D2) against West Indies and missed out on the opportunity to seal another victory but Carey remained bullish ahead of Monday's decider.

"Bring on game three," Carey said. "The batting group has a bit to prove to get a good score on the board for our quicks but our quicks and spinners are doing a great job."

The stand-in skipper bemoaned Australia's top-order batting, with none of the top six scoring more than 16.

"Obviously it doesn't help when you're five for not-a-lot," he said. "Wade and the bowlers did a great job to get us to a total and we were back in the game.

"We took some early wickets again and the belief was there. We created opportunities and we were in the game in the back end. Unfortunately we couldn't quite close it out and it proved we were 20 or 30 short."

The individual who returned a positive COVID-19 test result ahead of the West Indies second ODI against Australia has been confirmed to be a non-playing member of the West Indies staff.

The match between the teams, which was scheduled for the Kensington Oval today, was postponed shortly after the toss as news of the positive test reached the units.

According to the existing COVID-19 protocols all players, management teams, and match officials will return to their hotel rooms where they will isolate before undergoing a round of PCR testing.

According to Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave, a decision will be taken on when or if the match can resume once the testing is completed.

“Everyone will be retested later today.  In the meantime, everyone will have to stay in isolation until the results of those PCR tests are confirmed,” Grave said.

“We’ll make a further decision when the match can be replayed at a later date, once all the test results are back in, which will hopefully be by tomorrow morning.”

Australia currently leads the three-match series 1-0, after securing a 133 runs win via the DLS method in the first match on Tuesday.  

The second ODI between the West Indies and Australia was suspended due to a positive COVID-19 case. The match was set to get underway at Kensington Oval in Barbados this afternoon.

Australia won the toss and chose to bat first but there was a delay at the start of play. Shortly after, it was reported by ESPN Cricinfo that play was suspended and all persons in the bubble will go into isolation.  The identity of the person who tested positive has not been revealed.

West Indies legend and commentator, Ian Bishop tweeted, “Unfortunate. It’s the risk taken in these testing times. Hope the person is not to. (sic) Adversely affected”.

Australia currently leads the three-match series 1-0 and were hoping to close out with a win today.

In game one, Australia posted a score of 252 for 9 in a game reduced to 49 overs. Captain Alex Carey top-scored with 67 while Ashton Turner added 49.

Leg spinner Hayden Walsh Jr. was the pick of the bowlers with 5 for 39 from his ten overs. In reply, the Windies were skittled out for just 123 in 26.2 overs. Kieron Pollard was the top scorer with 56 while fast bowler Mitchell Starc picked up his 8th five-wicket haul, finishing with 5 for 48 in 8 overs.

West Indies captain, Kieron Pollard, has urged the team to show more fight on the back of a disappointing loss to Australia to open the ODI series between the teams on Tuesday.

Despite the high of coming off a dominant T20I series, the Windies were crushed by 133 runs, via the DLS method.  Batting first, Australia made 259 for 9 but in response, the West Indies could only muster 123 all out and were at one stage, 27 for 6.

For his part, Pollard, who only just returned to the team, made a battling 56.  In an innings where four batsmen were dismissed without scoring, the captain could have used more of that grit from the rest of the team.

“I was disappointed with our overall batting performance, not being able to chase down 250 from the position that we were in,” Pollard told members of the media.

“I didn’t think we showed enough fight or enough courage.  They are going to come hard at us, it’s an experienced bowling attack that they have so we need to fight as a team and as individuals when we go out there.”

Australia fast bowler Mitchell Starc was the dangerman for the tourists after ending with figures of 5 for 48.

Pace pair Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood have fired Australia to a 133-run Duckworth-Lewis victory in the opening One Day International (ODI) of the three-game series against the West Indies in Barbados on Tuesday.

Player of the Match Starc claimed 48-5 from eight overs while the economical Hazlewood finished with 11-3 from six overs as the tourists responded after their 4-1 T20I series defeat.

Missing captain Aaron Finch, the Australians had managed 252-9 from 49 overs with the bat, led by stand-in skipper Alex Carey's 67 and Ashton Turner's 49 from 45 balls.

Leg-spinner Hayden Walsh continued his good form with the ball, taking 39-5 for his maiden ODI five-wicket haul.

Australia turned the game with the ball, with Starc dismissing opener Evin Lewis caught and bowled first ball, while Jason Mohammed (two), Darren Bravo (two) and Nicholas Pooran (duck) did not last long either.

Starc and Hazlewood took three wickets each as the West Indies slumped to 27-6 inside eight overs, before captain Kieron Pollard's lone rearguard.

Left-arm quick Starc had Pollard caught by Turner for 56 from 57 balls, effectively ending the resistance with Walsh last to fall to Adam Zampa with the West Indies 123 all out.

POSITIVE DAY FOR AUSSIE DEBUTANTS

Australia got the response they wanted after a disappointing T20I series, even with three ODI debutants in the side; Wes Agar, Josh Philippe and Ben McDermott.

The Aussies were also missing captain Finch, but first-time captain Carey showed his composure and quality with his steady knock after Australia had been in some trouble at 114-4 at the halfway mark.

Starc said about Carey: "He's pretty calm and collected today. He did fantastic with the bat.

"If he had any nerves, that probably helped him settle down. It's nice to get him a win in his first game as captain and three young fellas on debut."

Australia have long struggled in the shortest format but are much more adept in 50-over cricket as five-time World Cup winners.

POLLARD DEMANDS FOR 'FIGHT'

Australia's quicks dominated the early overs with the ball, decimating the West Indies' top order leaving captain Pollard scratching his head.

The West Indies' top five combined for a total of 15 runs, as Starc and Hazlewood bowled brilliantly, while normally reliable all-rounder Jason Holder also fell for a duck.

"The biggest thing is I want our guys to fight," Pollard said. "The ball was swinging but we can't just give it away. The most disappointing factor for me is we didn’t show that fight.

"We have to find a way to get through that first six to 10 overs when the ball is actually moving a lot and see where that takes us."

When asked about Starc and Hazlewood's spell, Carey simply said "wow". He added: "I probably haven’t seen a powerplay like that before."

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