ZERO, the number of Test matches the West Indies has lost when chasing targets of less than 200. The team is looking to keep that clean sheet in the third and final Test match against Pakistan in the UAE. Just 39 runs separate the West Indies from their third Test victory away from home since 2000 excluding Bangladesh and Zimbabwe and their first against Pakistan since 1990. They’ve got 5 wickets in hand.
The West Indies have played Pakistan in eleven Test matches since 1990 at home in either Pakistan or in the UAE, losing nine and drawing two. Yet this same Pakistan is on the brink of defeat in a “home” Test match for the first time in a long while. The same Pakistan who defeated the West Indies in the T20 and ODI series 3-0 each and currently up 2-0 in the Test series.
Our men in maroon have shown the resilience and gumption that the selectors believed they possessed when selecting the team for this tour. The first Test was truly that for the men from the Caribbean, the bowling line-up of a relatively inexperienced attack was given a lesson from a youngster that shocked even the Pakistanis and cricket pundits. The team came in for heavy criticism from all sides; even the most die-hard West Indies supporters uttered the words “maybe they should give up Tests”. Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo and Devindra Bishoo stepped forward in the second Test, taking the Windies agonisingly close to victory but falling 56 runs short. The players took this momentum into the third and final Test and it showed firstly in their bowling and now their batting.
People might laugh at the statement “This is the turning of the tide” for West Indies Test cricket, and risk analysts would say not to be quick to think this is a change for the fortunes. But, it is a step in the right direction and will only auger well for the future of West Indies Test cricket. Side note – World Champions Australia just lost an ODI series against South Africa 5-NIL……. Rally Hard!!