West Indies vs. Pakistan Test Series Review

Pakistan bounced back after losing the first Test to draw the 2-match Test series 1-1 in the West Indies.

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Pakistan and West Indies ended their first series of World Test Championship (WTC) 2021-23 with one win each. Both matches of the two-match series started in a similar way, Kraigg Brathwaite winning the toss and deciding to bowl first. The first Test, one of the closest ones between both sides, ended in the last session of the 4th day, while the second Test went on to the last session of the 5th day. Rain tried to disrupt the matches but was not enough to cause a draw.

In this series review, we will be looking at some of the highlighting features of the series.

Talking Points

Young Pacers on Top

While the pacers remained dominant over the spin bowlers in both the matches, the youngest performed the best. Shaheen Shah Afridi (21-year-old) & Jayden Seales (19-year-old) took the most wickets for their respective sides. Pacers took 66 wickets in the series overall, averaging 20.4.

Shaheen Afridi, the top wicket-taker of the series, was phenomenal with the new ball (the first 15 overs of the ball). He took half of his 18 wickets with the new ball, taking a wicket in every 3rd over and averaging less than 7. Against the left-handers, he bowled eight overs and took eight wickets (Mayers & Powell twice) @ 3.75.

Pacers in Overs 1-15

Bowler

Overs

Wkts

Avg

SR

Econ

Shaheen Shah Afridi

27

9

6.8

18

2.3

Kemar Roach

22

4

12.3

33

2.2

Mohammad Abbas

28

3

22.0

56

2.4

Jayden Seales

19

3

22.7

38

3.6

Jason Holder

14

2

17.0

42

2.4

Faheem Ashraf

5

1

14.0

30

2.8

Kyle Mayers

13

1

30.0

78

2.3

Alzarri Joseph

6

1

34.0

36

5.7

Hasan Ali

11

0

-

-

3.2

Shaheen was supported by the three right-armers: Abbas, Hasan, and Faheem. Abbas took all 6 of his wickets in the 1st innings (6/87) and went wicketless in the 2nd innings (0/69). He provided Pakistan with a good start in the 1st Test and broke the 60-run Blackwood-Bonner partnership in the 2nd match. In contrast, Hasan Ali could only strike once in the 1st innings (1/84) and dismissed five batsmen in the 2nd innings (5/74). Five of Hasan Ali’s wickets came in the 21st and 40th over. Faheem’s contribution was also decent, with his wickets of Chase (twice), Holder, and Mayers.

Pacers in Overs 16-60

Bowler

Overs

Wkts

Avg

SR

Econ

Shaheen Shah Afridi

40.3

8

14.3

30

2.8

Hasan Ali

40.5

6

17.5

41

2.6

Jason Holder

35

4

18.5

53

2.1

Jayden Seales

25

4

25.0

38

4.0

Mohammad Abbas

38

3

30.0

76

2.4

Kemar Roach

33

2

38.5

99

2.3

Faheem Ashraf

29

2

40.5

87

2.8

Alzarri Joseph

13.2

1

51.0

80

3.8

Kyle Mayers

32

0

-

-

2.5

Jayden Seales, the pick of the bowlers of West Indies, became the youngest bowler to take a Test 5-fer for his team. Seales had the assistance of senior pacers Kemar Roach and Jason Holder. Roach did well with the new ball, but his bowling average doubled in the later phases. There was also a big difference in his average against right (14) and left (58) handed batsmen. Holder, who finished with the same number of wickets (8) as Roach, had the best bowling average for his side (16.9).

Batting Failures

Batsmen were able to play more than 90 overs in only one of the eight innings in the series. The average 1st innings total for both sides was 231. The eight innings in the series had the same number of 50+ individual scores, including a single ton. Thirteen times, a batsman was dismissed without scoring any run.

Pakistan’s top-order didn’t remain stable in the series. Imran Butt scored less than 50 runs in four innings, with the highest score of 37 in the last innings. Abid Ali and Azhar Ali were also not able to post any big scores. Faheem and Rizwan were better than the top-order but not in their best form. Fawad Alam was probably the best with the bat and scored the only century of the series. Babar Azam, the top-run scorer of the series, was the only player besides Alam to cross 50 runs twice and the only one to score 30 or more in each innings.

Pakistan Batsmen

Batsman

Inns

Runs

Ave

50+

HS

Ducks

Fawad Alam

3

180

90.0

2

124*

1

Babar Azam 

4

193

48.3

2

75

0

Other Top 7

21

394

19.7

0

44

2

Top 3

12

184

15.3

0

37

2

Jason Holder proved his batting capabilities yet again, scoring the most runs for West Indies. Their captain Kraigg Brathwaite & the vice-captain Jermaine Blackwood were two men alongside Holder to score more than 100 runs for them in the series. Kemar Roach, whose 30 not out gave his side the victory in the 1st Test, was their 4th top run-scorer.

Roston Chase, Kyle Mayers, Nkrumah Bonner, and Kieran Powell were big disappointments for the Caribbean side. Chase, who had an excellent past record against Pakistan, scored only 53 in four innings. Powell, the left-handed opener, ended up with a single-digit score in three innings. Bonner, who averaged 55 in Tests before the series, didn’t score 50 collectively in the four innings. Mayers got three ducks in the series, which was only the 5th time a #1-7 player got three ducks in a Test series playing two matches.

West Indies Batsmen

Batsman

Inns

Runs

Avg

50+

HS

Ducks

Jason Holder 

4

147

36.8

1

58

0

Kraigg Brathwaite

4

142

35.5

1

97

0

Jermaine Blackwood

4

135

33.8

1

55

0

Other Top 8

20

216

10.8

0

37

6

Ineffective Spin

Spinners were not able to take any wicket in the first six of the eight innings in the series. They were used for less than 15 percent of the total overs. Kraigg Brathwaite took the only wicket for a Windies spinner, dismissing Azhar Ali. Meanwhile, Nauman Ali played an important role for Pakistan in their victory, taking the wickets of Holder, Brathwaite, and Blackwood in the final innings of the series. Overall, the spinners took four wickets @ 65.3.

Fielding Fumbles

Pakistan probably lost the 1st match due to dropped catch(es). Kemar Roach was dropped twice (on 5 & 15) by Mohammad Rizwan and Hasan Ali, respectively, in the 4th innings of the 1st Test. A couple of off Roach’s bat also fell earlier in front of Rizwan’s gloves. Mohammad Abbas also missed a catching opportunity earlier off the bat of Joshua Da Silva. In the previous innings, Holder dropped a dolly off Azhar Ali’s edge in the slip. This eventually didn’t cost the Windies much as Azhar failed to score big.

In the last innings of the 2nd Test, Abid Ali failed to grab a catch on two occasions. Off Faheem Ashraf’s delivery, he missed a catching opportunity to dismiss Brathwaite in the slips. Later on, he failed to take an easy catch at short-leg off Nauman Ali’s bowling.

Conclusion

Pakistan was very close to a 2-0 victory in the series. Now, they have a domestic season coming up for their players to work on their weaknesses before they face Bangladesh at the end of this year. The top-order will have plenty of time to spend on the crease and get back in rhythm, while spinners Nauman Ali and Yasir Shah will also have more games and longer spells to bowl.

After doing well in a County season and a Test tour with the Duke’s ball, Mohammad Abbas will also have an opportunity to get back in form with his hands on the Kookaburra ball. Meanwhile, West Indies won’t be sad with the series result, too, as they got their first home victory in the World Test Championship. They have no more Test matches this year, and Caribbean cricket fans will remain more focused on their T20 league and the upcoming T20 World Cup.

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