Record-breaker Seales, veteran Roach hand Windies tantalising victory

Jayden Seales (right) is congratulated by new-ball partner Kemar Roach following his historic five-wicket haul on Sunday at Sabina Park.

KINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC) – Fast bowler Jayden Seales smashed a 71-year-old record to become the first teenager with a five-wicket Test haul for West Indies, before flaunting nerves of steel in a critical last-wicket stand with lion-hearted Kemar Roach, as the hosts snatched a dramatic one-wicket victory over Pakistan and a 1-0 lead in the two-match series here Sunday.

Entering at number 11 with West Indies on the brink of defeat on 151 for nine when Jomel Warrican (6) was brilliantly caught running back to fine leg by wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan late on the penultimate day, the 19-year-old Seales was unflappable in nearly half-hour at the crease for his two not out, providing invaluable support to Roach to get West Indies up to their target of 168.

For his part, Roach was unfazed by the pressure after arriving at the wicket immediately after tea with West Indies tottering on 114 for seven, surviving chances on five and 16 to finish unbeaten on 30 off 52 balls in a shade over 1-½ hours.

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An edge to third man for four off Hasan Ali late in the final session left West Indies with two runs needed for victory and Roach stroked the fifth delivery of the over through cover, to trigger celebrations at Sabina Park.

“I just stayed positive. That’s me. It [total] was within reach,” a buoyant Roach said afterwards.

“By far [it was my best ever innings]. I’ve never been in a situation like that before. It just worked out today. I just give thanks.”

Seales, ironically Roach’s new-ball partner during the match, said his aim was simply not to get out.

“For me it was just to stay with Roachie and get him on strike as much as possible and try and keep out the good balls,”  the rookie said.

“If a run-scoring opportunity presents itself, take it and try and bring it home for the team.”

Vice-captain Jermaine Blackwood top-scored with 55 – his 15th Test half-century – and put on a precious 68 for the fourth wicket with Roston Chase (22) to pull the innings around from the ruins of 16 for three.

The right-handed Blackwood, playing in his home stadium, hit seven fours in an innings spanning 160 balls and just under four hours.

Left-arm seamer Shaheen Shah Afridi grabbed four for 50 to wipe out the top order while Hasan Ali claimed three for 37 and fellow pacer Faheem Ashraf, two for 29.

“We never lost hope. The attitude we had at tea time … I never lost hope. It’s truly amazing,” said West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite.

Seales had earlier claimed three of the last five Pakistan wickets to fall to finish with five for 55 and match figures of eight for 122, and etch his name in history.

Legendary spinner Alf Valentine held the previous record for the youngest ever West Indian with a five-wicket haul as a 20-year-old in 1950 but Seales, who made his Test debut in June, eclipsed that when he knocked over tail-enders Yasir Shah (4), Afridi, (0) and Hasan Ali (28) to leave the visitors 203 all out.

Roach added another scalp to end with three for 30 and carry his career tally to 228 – just seven short of the iconic Sir Garry Sobers at seventh on the all-time West Indies list.

Resuming the morning on 160 for five in their second innings, Pakistan lost their last five wickets for 43 runs – 1-¼ hours into the session – with captain Babar Azam adding just one to his overnight 54 before becoming the day’s second casualty, caught at first slip by Jason Holder from a leading edge off medium pacer Kyle Mayers.

Roach had earlier removed Faheem Ashraf for 20 in the morning’s fifth over to a catch at the wicket, after the batsman added eight.

Set a modest total, West Indies suffered a disastrous start to their run chase when Afridi picked off the first three, left-hander Kieran Powell perishing lbw for four in the second over with four runs on the board, and his partner Brathwaite feathering a catch behind for two in the sixth over at 15 for two.

Nkrumah Bonner played on to lose his leg stump for five, leaving West Indies in dire straights before Blackwood and Chase steered them to lunch on 38 for three.

Chase lasted nearly 1-¾ hours but never appeared settled and finally nicked Faheem low to Imran Butt at second slip in the first over following the drinks break at 84 for four.

Left-hander Kyle Mayers also fell to a combination of Faheem and Butt to complete a dreaded ‘pair’ and Blackwood finally departed 17 minutes before tea when Butt, at second slip, snared a stunning catch diving in front of first slip off Hasan Ali.

With three runs added at 114 for seven, Holder (16) played down the wrong line and lost his off-stump to Hasan Ali to signal the interval, with Joshua Da Silva (13) unbeaten on two.

However, Roach arrived to add an invaluable 28 with Da Silva for the eighth wicket before combining with Seales at the end.

The victory ended a four-match winless run for West Indies following a nil-all draw against Sri Lanka and a white-wash to South Africa earlier this year.

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