Mohammad Abbas had a dream debut as Pakistan reduced the West Indies to 71 for four at lunch on the opening day of the first Test of the three-match series at Sabina Park in Jamaica on Friday.
It represented important early success for the tourists as the opener had made history in their last Test match meeting with unbeaten scores of 142 and 60 that earned the Caribbean side a five-wicket win in Sharjah last November at the end of an otherwise miserable tour of the United Arab Emirates.
Mohammad Abbas celebrates dismissing Kraigg Brathwaite. —AFP
With the West Indies fielding two debutants in the middle-order in the pair of Guyanese left-handers Shimron Hetmyer and Vishaul Singh, Pakistan pressed the advantage even further with Amir claiming his first wickets for three Test matches.
Pakistan’s third seamer in their bowling armoury, Wahab Riaz, then removed Singh via a good diving catch by Azhar Ali at backward square-leg to have the home side tottering at 53 for four.
Brathwaite’s opening partner Kieran Powell, playing his first Test match for almost three years, survived a probing examination from the bowlers and resumes in the afternoon session on 33 in partnership with Roston Chase.
West Indies opted to omit Jermaine Blackwood from their final eleven to accommodate the debutants in the batting line-up, meaning there was no Jamaican in the home side for a Test match at Sabina Park for the first time since 1997 when, incidentally, the opponents were also Pakistan.
Notwithstanding his impressive entry to senior international cricket during the limited-over leg of the tour, the visitors resisted the temptation to include the uncapped Shadab Khan in their team as a second spinner in support of Yasir Shah, choosing instead to introduce 27-year-old Abbas to Test cricket.
This is the 50th Test between the two nations and also the 50th Test match to be played at Sabina Park since the very first at the venue in 1930.
Kieran Powell plays a shot on day one of the first Test match. —AFP
West Indies: Jason Holder (captain), Kraigg Brathwaite, Kieran Powell, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Vishaul Singh, Shane Dowrich, Roston Chase, Devendra Bishoo, Alzarri Joseph, Shannon Gabriel.
Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Azhar Ali, Ahmed Shehzad, Babar Azam, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Amir, Yasir Shah, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Abbas.
Courtesy : Dawn News