KINGSTON: Half-centuries by Roston Chase and Shane Dowrich engineered a West Indies revival in reaching 244 for seven at stumps against Pakistan on the opening day of the first Test at Sabina Park on Friday.
Coming together immediately after lunch when opener Kieran Powell became Mohammad Amir’s third wicket with the innings in tatters at 71 for five, Chase batted with confidence and fluency for a top score of 63.
His sixth-wicket partnership with Dowrich was worth 118 runs, the wicket-keeper/batsman enhancing his reputation with a polished 56, the pair making a mockery of the West Indies’ earlier struggles after they were put in to bat.
On the same ground where an unbeaten hundred in just his second Test match saved the West Indies from defeat against India a year earlier, Chase looked at ease against all bowlers although his penchant for the uncontrolled hook resulted in a couple of narrow escapes.
Yet it was Yasir Shah who removed both him and Dowrich off successive deliveries in the final session.
Made to look ordinary by the pair’s positive play through the afternoon, the leg-spinner had the last laugh when he lured Chase into the lofted stroke and Wahab Riaz held an outstanding catch running back from mid-off almost to the boundary rope.
Dowrich was then completely deceived and bowled by the next delivery.
At 189 for seven, Pakistan’s hopes of dismissing the West Indies on the opening day were revived, only for captain Jason Holder (30 not out) and specialist spinner Devendra Bishoo (23 not out) to frustrate the visitors with an enterprising unbroken eighth-wicket stand of 55.
Earlier, Mohammad Abbas had a dream start to his Test career, having Kraigg Brathwaite caught at second slip by Younis Khan without scoring with his second delivery sharing the new ball with Amir.
The debutant pair of left-handers Shimron Hetmyer and Vishaul Singh both fell cheaply as did Shai Hope.
“I was struggling to swing the white ball [during the limited-over matches] but got things working well,” said Amir about his effort on the day of three for 28 off 19 overs. “[Bowling] coach Azhar Mahmood has been working a lot with me and I got the results, but we have to keep working hard to keep the West Indies down to a manageable total.”
West Indies opted to omit Jermaine Blackwood from their final eleven to accommodate the debutants in the batting line-up, meaning there was no Jamaican in the home side for a Test match at Sabina Park for the first time since 1977 when, incidentally, the opponents were also Pakistan.