West Indies overcame a top order batting slump that saw them slip to 71/5 before Roston Chase and Shane Dowrich helped them recover to 244/7 at stumps on Day 1 at Sabina Park in Kingston. Pakistan won the toss and chose to field with the possibility of seam movement hovering.
Mohammad Abbas, on debut, and Mohammad Amir swung the ball both ways and had West Indies in all sorts of trouble. The top order succumbed soon enough as Amir generated some of his infamous inswingers while Abbas and Wahab Riaz offered great support.
However, Roston Chase and Shane Dowrich resurrected the innings from 71/5 with an 118-run stand that was dull and not-pleasing-to-the-eye but served the purpose. Both of them smacked half-centuries and looked set for a bigger one when Wahab Riaz pulled off a blinder to send back Chase. Yasir Shah got rid off Dowrich the next ball and it took some hitting from Holder and Bishoo to ensure West Indies reached a total of respectability at stumps.
Brief Scores: West Indies 244/7 (Chase 63, Dowrich 56, Amir 3/28)
Take a glance at the major talking points from Day 1 at Kingston.
#5 Debutant gets Brathwaite in the first over
Mohammad Abbas and Kraigg Brathwaite were on opposite ends of the spectrum before the Test began. The Sialkot-born seamer is playing his first Test match while the West Indian opener was the architect of their win the last time these two sides played a Test.
In a cricket match, history and experience never count. It all depends on who dominates on a particular day and Abbas once again underlined this fact in his first Test over. In his second ball, he had Brathwaite edging to Younis Khan at second slip to leave the West Indies in trouble early on.
Brathwaite, a watchful opener, is not someone to hang out his bat early in a Test innings particularly with the movement on offer. However, the shortish line and late movement saw him misjudge the shot as the ball caught the edge and went through to second slip.
#4 Mohammad Amir sizzles with the new ball
The world has seen what Mohammad Amir can do with the new ball. He has done it against some of the great Australian batsmen of the past decade like Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden before returning back to the game after his ban.
Even on his return, the left-arm seamer has looked as dangerous as he was in his teens, and at Kingston, he was on fire. Amir set up the debutant, Shimron Hetmyer, with a string of out swinging balls before bringing one back into him to send his stumps crashing.
Shai Hope, undone by Amir's pace and late swing, missed a full and fast ball that cannoned on to his stumps. Amir returned to dismiss the stoic Kieron Powell to darken West Indies' sole hope till that point of time.
#3 Kieran Powell promises before falling
West Indies had lost Kraigg Brathwaite, Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope with the score on 32. Another debutant, Vishaul Singh would fall to Riaz to further the hosts' problems. Kieran Powell stood through it all and looked determined to resurrect the West Indian innings.
The host went to lunch with Powell looking solid in the company of Roston Chase. But two balls after lunch, all the concentration and application Powell showed before vanished into thin air as he slashed at Amir's sucker ball only to edge to second slip.
Powell had previously shown similar lapses of concentration that led to him being dropped from the Test team three years back. On his recall, the trend did not seem to have buckled yet and that does not auger well for the Windies who are in search for a stable partner to Brathwaite.
#2 The Chase-Dowrich stand and Yasir's double blow
At 71/5, West Indies looked well and truly out of firepower to get to 200. Amir, Abbas and Riaz were on top of their game and thus Yasir Shah's lack of rhythm did not seem to be a real issue. But Chase and Dowrich had other ideas.
The pair batted out the tough period, albeit with quite a lot of luck in playing and missing, ran the ones and twos and found ways to keep the scoreboard ticking. Yasir bowled far too full and gifted runs away, while the fast bowlers had lost the early seam movement.
The duo crossed their respective half-centuries before the leggie struck twice in two balls. The first wicket, that of Chase, caught by Wahab Riaz, diving full length. Yasir then had Dowrich cleaned up the next ball with a sharp leg-spinner from around the wicket to bring Pakistan back into the game.
#1 Holder and Bishoo go after the bowling
All was not lost for Windies despite losing Chase and Dowrich in successive balls. The West Indian skipper, Jason Holder, is a more than a handy batsman as he has shown time and again and he came to the rescue with a typically positive knock.
Devendra Bishoo offered him some support and the duo cashed in on some tired Pakistani bowling. In no time, West Indies moved from 189/7 to 244/7 courtesy some lusty blows from the lower order batsmen.
The unbroken 55-run stand came at almost a run a ball and helped West Indies regain a grip on the game after Yasir's twin blow. Holder and Bishoo continuously looked for scoring opportunities and if they can put some more vital runs tomorrow to take the hosts to 300+, Pakistan would rue the lost opportunity of bowling out the Windies cheaply.