After a hard-fought and close contest in the first test, it is very easy to suffer from a shortage of confidence in the upcoming Test at the same venue – Kingston, Jamaica. But, the cornered Tigers of the subcontinent decided to regroup and give their very best. A full day was washed out and in such cases, a draw is always a likely outcome, but the cornered Tigers gelled together and played as a unit until victory was ensured. The clinical Pakistani team bounced back and levelled the series in style.
Pakistan win the second ICC World Test Championship series match against West Indies to draw the series 1-1
— Pakistan Cricket Live (@TheRealPCB_Live) August 24, 2021
For a Pakistan cricket follower, the fall of two or three quick wickets for nought or below double figures is nothing new. Even during the heydays of Pakistan cricket such things happened and such situations always brought the typical Pakistani character – the cornered Tigers start to claw back and hunt for their prey.
Javed Miandad and Imran Khan did it, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Saeed Anwar did it, Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq did it and at Jamaica, it was time for Fawad Alam and Babar Azam to carry the legacy of the past master, who developed a team that is known as unpredictable.
On Day 1, the first four overs were hell for Pakistan, but the day was defined by the gallant partnership between Babar Azam and Fawad Alam.
The quickest Asian to five Test 100s in terms of innings – 22
FAWAD ALAM – The ULTIMATE champion – the true warrior! 🇵🇰🇵🇰
And yes, the story of our lives! pic.twitter.com/RX6zyP6t7F
— Emmad Hameed (@Emmad81) August 22, 2021
Under blisteringly hostile conditions for at least the first two sessions that saw no fewer than three players forced off the field, the duo put together a 158-run stand to drag Pakistan from the depths into a position of clear dominance.
At stumps, Pakistan were 212 for 4 from a miserable 2 for 3.
Babar looked assured in the middle session but much more cautious – He was particularly strong square of the wicket and the slightest infraction when it came to the line was a candidate for a put-away boundary. His dismissal at the fag end of the day did not deter Alam from his mission.
If Pakistan could get a couple of of quality openers, they could do very well in this WTC. Middle order of Babar Azam, Fawad and Rizwan is top quality, Shaheen Afridi and Hasan Ali threatening with the ball, plus they will be playing at home. Exciting times ahead for Pak #WIvPAK
— DannyBoy™️©®🃏 (@LeachysCleaner) August 24, 2021
Alam was shaky outside the offstump, but as the day progressed, he grew roots under his feet and looked confident in dealing with the hostile conditions that led to his cramps and he decided to retire hurt and return.
And he returned in a commendable fashion on Day 3.
Those fidgety outside edges that kept the slips interested were kept to a minimum. The defence was solid enough despite the unorthodox stance, and amid the flurry of wicket falls, Alam started to kick on the speed-gear to post a fighting total.
A flick of the wrists that brought him four broke the shackles, and he found himself inching towards three figures. A pull to midwicket took him to the landmark, and as the dressing room rose as one, Alam raised his bat; he had overseen a Pakistan fight back in the session and ensured they ended the innings on their terms.
After 200 innings in international cricket, Babar Azam has overall outperformed all but Joe Root among the Fab Five!
— Grassroots Cricket (@grassrootscric) August 24, 2021
Before Alam returned to bat, t was Mohammad Rizwan and Faheem Ashraf, who added enough meat to the total.
Pakistan declared at 302 for 9 and when they came out to bowl, West Indies were left clueless.
At twilight, the West Indian openers and Roston Chase were already back in the pavilion, with the hosts trailing by a further 263 runs with two days to go, courtesy of Mohammad Abbas and young Shaheen Shah Afridi.
Fawad Alam doesn't get out.
He chooses when to leave the pitch
— Dennis Overratedson (@DennisCricket_) August 20, 2021
On Day 4, Afridi took over.
The 21-year-old lit up the contest with a career-best six-wicket haul in the first innings, rolling what was left of the West Indies first innings over in a little more than a session. It allowed Pakistan a lead of 152, and hurtled to 176 in 27.3 overs, ensuring West Indies would bat for 18 overs and lost an early wicket.
On Day 5, the West Indian fighting spirit was well in the minds of the visitors and they never let the pressure off, rather, always searched for wickets.
Alzarri Joseph and Kraigg Brathwaite kept the Pakistan bowlers at bay.
Yet another Test ton for Fawad Alam 🤩
— CricWick (@CricWick) August 22, 2021
Each struck a boundary to get the score rolling, and with the ball losing its shine, West Indies appeared to be making progress.
The, Afridi bounced Joseph out and Pakistan started to regain their momentum.
Nkrumah Bonner played down the wrong line and was struck dead in front; Hasan Ali didn’t even bother to appeal as he set off to celebrate. The umpire made Pakistan review, but there was no redemption for Bonner.
Faheem Ashraf at the other end should have seen off Brathwaite, but Abid Ali put down a dolly. To rub the point home further, when Roston Chase offered up a chance the following over, Butt dived adroitly to his right as Pakistan had another wicket.
Shaheen Shah Afridi in the 2nd Test versus West Indies:
— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) August 24, 2021
Pakistan introduced Nauman Ali, whose variable line and length along with drift had West Indies in two minds.
Kraigg Braithwaite – who had been the symbol of resistance throughout this Test series – cut one against Nauman that bounced extra and flew towards point at the safe hands of Alam and flighted another one to draw Blackwood forward and induce an outside edge to the keeper.
It was up to Kyle Mayers and Jason Holder to save West Indies.
The runs came from time to time, but they weren’t a priority, and as Nauman’s effectiveness wavered while the quicks tired, West Indies were raising local hopes of taking the game deep and infusing concern among the fielding side.
Who else but Afridi returned to break the resistance!
Ann exquisite off-stump delivery that shaped away from the left-handed Mayers, who went for an expansive drive, only to see it take a feather off the outside edge and then walk for the pavilion.
Holder was still going until Nauman Ali sucked in another flighted delivery against which Holder looked to drive again but could not keep it down and Alam at extra-cover took a good, low catch.
Afridi then polished off the tail to complete the comeback.