Fawad, Shaheen achieve career-best Test ranking; Babar at 7th place

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DUBAI – Pakistan skipper Babar Azam jumped to the seventh position in the latest ICC Men’s Test Player Rankings after Pakistan bagged victory in second Test against the West Indies in Kingston to draw their two-match ICC World Test Championship series 1-1.

Azam stood at the spot with 749 points while New Zealand’s batter Kane Williamson is the table topper with 901 points. India’s Virat Kohli has secured the fifth position with 776 points.

Babar’s scores of 75 and 33 have helped him advance one slot to the seventh position, two below his career-best fifth position in August last year, while Rizwan is back in the top 20 with scores of 31 and 10 not out.

Meanwhile, left-handed batsman Fawad Alam and pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi have achieved career-best Test ranking.

With the help of an unbeaten 124 in the first innings against West Indies, Alam moved up 34 places to bag 21st position. Shaheen’s 10-wicket match haul not only helped team to seal the victory but also improved his Test ranking as he jumped to eigth place.

Pakistan Level Windies Test Series

In the last session of the second and final Test at Sabina Park on Tuesday, Shaheen Shah Afridi finished with a ten-wicket match haul to bowl Pakistan to a series-leveling 109-run win against the West Indies.

Shaheen kept Pakistan’s hopes alive with a devastating first innings effort of six for 51 on day four – his greatest Test innings performance – and returned on the final day to deliver vital blows, despite losing a full day’s play and another session to rain and a sodden outfield over the weekend.

When it seemed that the weather might derail their frantic bid for victory, he returned for a final session with the second new ball, taking the final two wickets and giving his side a fantastic win with an hour to spare.

Starting the day at 49 for one and facing an improbable goal of 329, the West Indies’ top-order batting once again let them down, falling to 113 for six by mid-afternoon despite skipper Kraigg Brathwaite’s valiant 39.

Former captain Jason Holder ultimately top-scored with 47, but it was his dismissal by Nauman Ali, the left-arm spinner’s third wicket, that calmed Pakistan’s nerves. Then, with a new ball in hand and eight wickets on the board, Afridi trapped Kemar Roach leg-before.

After that, Afridi forced a mistimed drive from Joshua da Silva, which Faheem Ashraf caught at mid-on to dismiss the West Indies for 219 and clinch yet another comeback attempt for Pakistan in the Caribbean.

Pakistan, led by Babar Azam, lost the first Test but came back to win the second to split the series with the hosts, like they did in 2005 and 2011.

“This was a very important win for us, especially given the way we lost that first Test,” said Babar, reflecting on the heart-breaking one-wicket defeat at the same venue nine days earlier.

“My partnership with Fawad Alam and his brilliant century was of course valuable, but I have to give massive credit to the bowling of Shaheen because he make things a lot easier for us.”

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