Kemar Roach and Jayden Seales shared an unbeaten 17-run partnership for the 10th wicket to take West Indies home in the first Test. Following the thrilling one-wicket victory, the Windies have taken an unassailable 1-0 lead in the two-match series against Pakistan.
What happened in the 1st Test?
It was an eventful Day 1 in Jamaica after West Indies opted to bowl first. A total of 12 wickets fell on the first day as Pakistan were bowled out for 217 in their first innings, with the Windies also losing two scalps. Courtesy of half-centuries from Kraigg Brathwaite (97 runs, 12 fours) and Jason Holder (58 runs, 10 fours), the home team managed a meager 36-run first-innings lead.
West Indies pacer Jayden Seales then put in an inspirational performance as he bagged a five-for to help his team bowl out Pakistan for just 203 runs in their second innings. Although the Windies needed just 168 runs to win the Test, it went all the way down to the last two batters as the hosts managed to edge out Pakistan by just a solitary wicket.
Can Pakistan bounce back? What do the numbers say?
Both Test matches of the series are scheduled to be played at Sabina Park in Jamaica. After a thrilling win, West Indies will start as favorites, but the Pakistani team are known for making comebacks when least expected from them.
Prior to the ongoing Test series, Pakistan had played eight bilateral Test series in the West Indies, winning only one of them in 2017. During the two-match Test series in 2005 and 2011, Pakistan lost the first match before going on to draw the series by winning the second Test on both occasions.
After losing the first Test of the ongoing 2021 tour, Pakistan can no longer win the series, but they still have a chance to level it by winning the second Test. They have done it in the past and have the squad depth to do it again this time around.
Positives and negatives from the 1st Test
37 out of the 39 wickets to fall in the first Test were taken by pacers, with the other two dismissals being run-outs. Jayden Seales was the pick of the bowlers, taking eight wickets in the match, including a five-wicket haul in Pakistan's second innings. In the process, Seales also became the youngest West Indies pacer to bag a five-wicket haul in Test cricket.
While Kraigg Brathwaite, Jermaine Blackwood and Jason Holder are the main pillars of West Indies' batting unit, Babar Azam and Fawad Alam are the batters to watch out for in Pakistan's line-up. Others need to step-up and contribute more to take the pressure off the aforementioned players.
The fielding from both teams was a bit flappy in the third and fourth innings of the first Test. While Holder and Jermaine Blackwood dropped Azhar Ali and Faheem Ashraf respectively in the third innings, Hasan Ali dropped Kemar Roach in the fourth innings, with the Windies pacer going on to score the winning runs.
When was the last time West Indies won a Test series at home?
West Indies have been a force in the T20 format for the past decade, but their Test numbers don't look great during the same period. In the longest format, the Windies have not only struggled on away tours but have also lost at home, with their last series victory on home soil coming in 2019 against Bangladesh. Since then, they have lost or drawn three home series against India, Sri Lanka and South Africa.
West Indies last 3 Test series at home:
When was the last time Pakistan lost an away series?
Excluding the SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia) countries, Pakistan's last overseas Test series defeat was in Sri Lanka in 2014. Since then, they have won all five Test series away from home barring the SENA nations.
Pakistan almost won the first Test match against West Indies. Windies head coach Phil Simmons himself acknowledged that their team were 'underdogs' ahead of the two-match Test series. The home team should consider themselves lucky to be 1-0 up at this juncture of this series. Although West Indies narrowly won the first Test, Pakistan are more than capable of winning the second and drawing the series.