As the West Indies tour of U.A.E comes to an end, it’s time to look back on what has been an enthralling exhibition of cricket at Pakistan’s adopted home. Over the last one month or so, the teams met each other in all three formats of the game, including a Day/Night Test, producing ironic results and several notable individual performances.
The series featured three T20Is, three ODIs and an equal numbers of Tests. Pakistan achieved comprehensive clean sweeps over West Indies in the limited overs formats, where they have had a rough ride in recent times and the latter were better equipped to challenge them.
But the Windies put up more than a tough fight in the Tests against the No.2 ranked team, though the longest format is no more their forte. While the reigning T20I champions gave in to meek surrender in the shorter formats, especially in T20Is, they went down fighting in each of the three Tests, though the eventual result may not paint that picture.
In the last few weeks, we saw a young and inexperienced Test side led by Jason Holder, trying to stretch the top ranked team as much as they could. After two failed attempts, they ended the tour on a high, winning the 3rd Test - their first away win since 2007 against a side ranked above them and the first for their young captain.
There were quite a few remarkable individual performances across both teams, and some of them might be unfortunate to miss out on a mention here while we take a look at 5 standout performers from the Test series:
#1 Azhar Ali
The pink ball earned for itself a reputation of posing more problems to the batsmen than the conventional red ball, during its first ever trial – the low scoring 3rd Test of New Zealand’s tour of Australia, at the Adelaide Oval last year. However, Azhar Ali showed no signs of it as Pakistan met West Indies in the 2nd Day/Night Test at the Dubai International Stadium.
It was Azhar’s second innings knock of 91 that gave Pakistan at least 150 runs to bowl at the Windies, in the fourth innings of the 3rd Test at Sharjah. He finished the series as the highest run-getter by a fair distance, with an aggregate of 474 runs from 6 innings, including the triple and a couple of fifties at an average of 94.80.
As if the law of averages was at play, he was also twice out on 0 during the series – including a first ball duck in the first innings of the 3rd Test.