Holder, Seales Limit Pakistan but West Indies Stumble with Bat

west indies
Fast bowler Jayden Seales celebrates after dismissing Azhar Ali on the opening day of the first Test.

Seamers Jason Holder and Jayden Seales snatched three-wicket hauls to restrict Pakistan to a modest total on the opening day of the first Test, but fast bowler Mohammad Abbas grabbed two wickets in successive deliveries in the day’s penultimate over, as West Indies surrendered some of their advantage on Thursday.

Sent in at Sabina Park, Pakistan were dismissed for 217, about half-hour before the scheduled close, with Fawad Alam top-scoring with 56 and Faheem Ashraf chipping in with 44.

Captain Babar Azam struck 30 and Mohammad Rizwan, 23, but Pakistan lost their last five wickets for 31 runs in quick time.

Holder picked up two of those wickets to end with three for 26 while the 19-year-old Seales, in only his third Test, claimed three for 70.

Veteran seamer Kemar Roach made the early inroads with two for 47.

However, in four overs before the close, West Indies lost left-hander Kieran Powell and Nkrumah Bonner without scoring, to be tottering on two runs for two wickets.

“If you asked us if we would take 217 at the start of the day, I think we would’ve taken it,” Holder said afterwards.

“There was disciplined bowling by everyone. Probably if I wanted to be critical I would say there were maybe a few too many boundaries but all in all we’d take 217.”

Of the batting reply, Holder added: “[We] just [need] some application. I think it’s going to be difficult up front obviously with the amount of grass, and the movement they will extract from the surface.

“We just have to be a little bit tighter and give ourselves a really good chance to get a really big score.”

Imran Butt (11) lost his leg stump to Roach in the morning’s seventh over, the right-hander playing on to a full length delivery before Seales had the other opener Abid Ali caught at the wicket in the next over for nine, defending outside off-stump with no addition to the total at 21 for two.

Rain then forced an early lunch at 34 for two and on resumption at 1 pm (2 pm Eastern Caribbean time), Babar and Azhar Ali (17) extended their third wicket stand to 45 to deny West Indies any immediate further success.

With the partnership threatening, Seales got the breakthrough when he found Azhar’s edge for Holder to take a sharp catch diving forward at second slip and without any runs added in the next over, Roach claimed the prized wicket of Babar, giving caught behind off the inside edge courtesy of DRS.

Fawad then anchored two key partnerships to lift his side out of trouble, posting 33 for the fifth wicket with Mohammad Rizwan and a further 85 for the sixth wicket with Faheem.

The left-handed Fawad, in his 12th Test, struck half-dozen fours off 117 deliveries in just under 3-¼ hours while Rizwan hit five fours in a breezy 30-ball knock before falling about half-hour before tea, clipping Holder to Roston Chase at forward square.

Faheem proved the frustration for West Indies after entering at number seven, belting eight fours in a 66-ball innings to help haul Pakistan back into the contest after the interval.

A moment of brilliance ended the partnership, however, Chase throwing down the stumps at the striker’s end to find Faheem short of his ground, as he attempted a quick single with Fawad.

His dismissal changed the tone of the innings as Holder, Seales and medium pacer Kyle Mayers combined to knock over the tail swiftly.

Any hopes of a strong end to the day for the hosts were then quickly dashed when Powell edged low to Imran Butt at second slip and Bonner found himself pinned on his stumps with the very next delivery, to depart lbw.

CMC

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