West Indies have struggled so far in the game    AFP
West Indies have struggled so far in the game AFP

The first Test of the three-match Test series between Pakistan and West Indies at UAE saw the hosts piling massive runs on the board. Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first on a surface, which looked conducive for batting. The top-order fired and didn’t give any room for error as a result of which they remained unbeaten at Supper on Day 1. The pitch hardly has anything for the bowlers and looks extremely flat. Pakistan have got off to a good start and will look to make the most of it in the overs to come. Sami Aslam and Azhar Ali fired with all guns and are well placed at the end of second session. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: PAKISTAN Vs WEST INDIES, 1st TEST.

Pakistan started off well and looked cautious right from the start. Sami Aslam played with immense confidence and piled some crucial runs at the top and so did Azhar Ali. They played with a lot of sense and punished the losse deliveries. Pakistan were in good position at the end of second session. The pink ball didn’t do anything specific that could have troubled the Pakistani batsmen. There was a little turn in the surface but the bowlers failed to exploit it. West Indies also wasted their two reviews as Jason Holder challenged the umpire’s decision after a delivery struck Azhar Ali’s pad but the replay showed it was missing the leg stump by a huge margin.

Ali and Aslam played some elegant shots and displayed some good batting at the top. They played to the merit of the ball and realised their need to bid time against the new ball. The first session was dominated by the duo and so the second one. Holder and Co. are giving it all but need to make certain amends or else the game will slip away from their hands. The pitch has assisted the batsmen and Pakistani batsmen are making the most of it.

The other one was taken when Bishoo outfoxed Aslam but the replay showed the leg stump would have missed by a small margin. West Indies bowlers are running out of options and are unable to break the partnership. Both the batsmen look set for a big hundred and justify their selection. The importance of a good opening start is well-known. A side can put pressure if their opening pair gets to a good start. It’s not an easy job to score runs against the new ball but Aslam and Ali have not step a foot wrong so far. West Indies seem to be playing without any strategy or impactful technique. They will face some serious trouble if their bowlers don’t pick wickets in the final session.

Earlier, Pakistan were at 81 for no loss in 27 overs at the end of the first session as both openers Sami Aslam 36 off 82 deliveries and Azhar Ali 39 off 84 balls went back to the dressing room with head held high. In what is the first ever day-night match between Pakistan and West Indies, the first session was dominated by the Pakistani openers. The pink-ball hasn t shown much of help for the West Indian bowlers as they have looked clueless about how to get rid of the opening pair. Ali, who has so far hit five boundaries, had a life when Leon Johnson failed to hold on a sharp chance at gully off paceman Miguel Cummins on 17. West Indian captain Jason Holder brought on his part-time spinner Kraig Brathwaite in the 15th over and leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo in the 21st but there were no signs of spin.

Both the openers Azhar Ali and Sami Aslam have proved their captain Misbah-ul-Haq s decision right as Misbah won the toss and opted to bat in the second ever day-night Test, played with a pink ball instead of the traditional red at Dubai stadium. Jason Holder, the West Indian skipper has been the economical bowler for the visitors as he finished with the figures of 5-2-6 -0-1.20. The Pakistani openers started off well as they were watchful in the initial stage of the game while they also made sure that they punished the bad balls dispatching the ball to the boundary rope. Pakistan seems to have an easy task of taking on the depleted West Indies side at Dubai in the second-ever pink-ball Test, reclaiming the ICC Test Championship Mace during this season might be on their mind and the match will also mark their 400th Test.

Pakistan undoubtedly have the experience and advantage of playing at their adopted home and will battle it out hard to regain their top-spot after India snatched it riding on the whitewash against New Zealand recently. Both Pakistan and West Indies have hosted many domestic games with the pink ball and this one is expected to be a good contest. Pakistan have been in a magnificent form in the recent times and have played as a unit. They drew the four-match Test series against England in England by 2-2, which was no less than a moral victory for them. However, they will be without the services of their key batsman Younis Khan who has been rested citing recovery from dengue fever.

Brief Scores:

Pakistan 172 in 55 overs (Sami Aslam 75, Azhar Ali 89) against West Indies.

Full Scorecard.