Windies salvage pride with Test victory
SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates – West Indies halted their luckless run when they convincingly beat Pakistan by five wickets in the third and final Test Thursday, to record their first Test victory in 19 months and end the difficult tour on a celebratory note.
The Caribbean side needed just over half-hour in the morning session on the final day to complete a successful chase of their modest target of 153, as opener Kraigg Brathwaite and wicketkeeper/batsman Shane Dowrich stroked unbeaten half-centuries to end a run of eight successive losses on the tour stretching back to the Twenty20 and One-Day International series last month.
West Indies had not won a Test since beating England in Bridgetown in May last year, and Thursday’s victory marked only their second in 17 matches and first on foreign soil in four years.
Significantly, it was the visitors’ first away win over a higher ranked side in almost ten years and was also Jason Holder’s first success as captain since taking over the helm in August last year.
“It is an extremely important [victory] especially after the Dubai Test match when many people thought we could have won the game. We personally felt we could have won the game but we didn’t get across the line,” Holder told reporters afterwards.
“To come here in this last Test match, putting ourselves in a position to win and actually getting across the line is a huge monkey off the back. It’s a great feeling and it just shows we have the ability to win Test matches, it’s just about stringing together a complete game.”
Resuming a tense day at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on 114 for five, still requiring a further 39 for victory, West Indies showed little signs of nerves as Man-of-the-Match Brathwaite and Dowrich produced confident knocks to extend their unbroken sixth wicket stand to 87 and erase any thoughts of a defeat.
Brathwaite, unbeaten on 44 overnight, finished on 60 not out in an innings requiring 109 deliveries, 201 minutes and including six fours while Dowrich, on 36 at the start, also marched his way to an enterprising unbeaten 60 off 87 balls, with seven fours and a six.
Any early jitters were quickly dispelled when Brathwaite punched the first ball of the day from left-arm seamer Wahab Riaz to the cover boundary, and he brought up his 12th Test half-century four balls later with a couple to deep point, to follow up his unbeaten hundred in the first innings.
Dowrich also showed his intent in the next over when he pulled leg-spinner Yasir Shah to the square boundary to move into the 40s, and the 25-year-old raised his fourth Test fifty in only his eighth game with a delightful cover drive off Wahab in the seventh over of the morning.
In the next over, Dowrich smashed a short ball from seamer Mohammed Amir through square for four and raised victory for West Indies with a boundary to third man a few deliveries later.
West Indies, however, had already surrendered the series following defeats in the first Test in Dubai and the second one in Abu Dhabi. And despite Thursday’s success, they have now gone two years without a Test series win.