It was a match where momentum swung sharply one way and then the other, but still left one feeling that West Indies were up against it. Ever since Pakistan had dominated the opening two sessions of the first day, reducing their opponents to 154 for 6, they kept snuffing out any West Indian resurgence. All those efforts came undone on a famous morning in Bridgetown, with the West Indies needing under 35 overs to blow Pakistan away for 81 and seal an astonishing 106-run series-levelling victory.
The seeds of the win were sown during the course of the fourth afternoon when Shai Hope, who averaged little over 15 in eight Tests prior to this, negated the Yasir Shah threat to make a gritty 90 that stretched the lead to 187.
“It was a collective team effort,” Jason Holder, the West Indies captain, said. “We got runs in the first innings which I felt was crucial, and we were able to back it up with a solid second-innings performance on that kind of pitch. I think credit must go to Shai Hope, and obviously our bowling department was outstanding the entire game.
“We felt if we could give them anything in excess of 170, we were in with a really good chance on a day-five pitch. It was all about being patient, we needed to hit our lengths, and use our cutters, cross-seam deliveries, anything that would give us assistance off the wicket. We dropped one or two chances, an area we need to improve on, but it was still a strong collective team effort.”
Holder’s one regret was Hope missing a maiden Test century. “His innings was outstanding. He likes batting here; I think he has two double-centuries at this ground. And it’s good he came here, playing his second Test match here, and went on to score a half-century. Unfortunately, he didn’t go on to score a hundred, I felt he deserved it, but that’s the way cricket goes. But I felt his innings was really crucial. He was patient and selective. He played on merit and was able to get a good score for us.”
Misbah, for his part, refused to play up the troubles of chasing on a crumbling surface. “You can easily say that it’s about batting on a day-five pitch. But after getting them 150-odd for 6 in the first innings and letting them score 300-plus, we let it slip. Then, we were in control batting at 316 for 4, but could only manage a lead of 81. I think that made a huge difference, and we all knew even on the first day that it’s [the pitch] going to get worse.
“So if we had managed a bigger lead in the first innings that could have made a difference. On the last day, all credit to the West Indian bowlers, they hit their lines, they bowled their heart out, and we really had no answers.”