Pakistan vs West Indies, 1st Test
Dubai—After Misbah-ul-Haq won the toss in Pakistan’s 400th Test, his openers played their part in ensuring that the landmark match got off to the best possible start for Pakistan. Azhar Ali and Sami Aslam stroked unbeaten fifties by the dinner break to take the side to a formidable 172 for no loss on a typically flat Dubai surface.
In theory, both teams were in unchartered territory, playing their first day-night Test – and the second overall – at a time when the concept was still new and the behaviour of the pink ball under scrutiny. In practice, the ball did not do much in the afternoon heat and, while there was a bit more for the West Indies bowlers under lights in the second session, they did not do enough to trouble the well-set openers.
At the start of the day, both Shannon Gabriel and Jason Holder were a bit too short to give the ball a chance to swing. Miguel Cummins bowled fuller, but even he managed to swing only the odd ball here and there. It was Gabriel who generated the first of two half-chances for West Indies in the session. In his second over, he seamed one away from Azhar Ali to induce an outside edge, but the ball fell short of Kraigg Brathwaite at second slip. Cummins generated the other in his second spell when Azhar slashed a short, wide delivery towards Leon Johnson at gully; the ball burst through Johnson’s hands and raced away for a boundary. If the bowling was not sufficiently penetrative, the decision-making was also puzzling at times. West Indies used six bowlers before tea, but there was no discernible logic in the manner in which they were used.—AFP