BASSETERRE - Pakistan will look to salvage the remainder of a tour that started with great promise when they face West Indies in the second and final Test starting on Friday at Warner Park. The Pakistanis trail 1-0 in the two-Test series following a stunning, 40-run victory for West Indies last Sunday at the Guyana National Stadium.
The result meant that the visitors' dreams of a maiden Test series victory on Caribbean soil were crushed again. They will now have to focus solely on leaving the Caribbean with their heads held high with a series-levelling victory. "We will be ready, and we will be motivated for the final Test," said Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq.
"There were a lot of positive things for us from the (first) match, and we showed a lot of fighting spirit." After restricting West Indies to 226 in the first innings, the Pakistani batting then flopped as they were conceded a first innings lead of 66. Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal led the fightback with a career-best six wickets in the West Indies second innings that gave him 11 scalps in the match, and had the home team on the ropes.
But Pakistan allowed West Indies to wriggle free from the despair of 104 for nine, as the last wicket pair of Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Devendra Bishoo beefed-up their side's total with an eventual, match-winning partnership of 48. Some may question the role the pitch played in the defeat, but Misbah was also willing to admit that the West Indies clearly dealt with the conditions better in Guyana.
"After we gave up a first innings lead, the bowlers bowled really well, and fought very hard hard to bring us back into the game," said Misbah. "When we lost three wickets very early in the second innings, it was really difficult for us because of the way West Indies were bowling, but we fought hard."
"But we must give credit to West Indies. They bowled very well in the game, and most of our guys got out to good balls." West Indies coach Ottis Gibson has signalled his side's intention of trying to earn a rare series victory, let alone a series sweep. He said his side had talked long and hard about winning the series and West Indies captain Darren Sammy, whose five wickets in the visitors second innings ushered his side to victory in Guyana, agreed with Gibson.
"We have only won one match," said Sammy. "We will take a lot of confidence from this result, but we still have to continue working hard, and look to improve our performance in the second Test. "We did not bat very well (in the first Test), so we need to put decent totals on the board because we know the way our bowlers have been bowling over the last year, we believe we are capable of getting 20 wickets. We just need to keep improving in all disciplines, and we can come out victorious in the second Test."
Only two Tests have been played at Warner Park, since it was redeveloped ahead of the 2007 World Cup. They have both ended in high-scoring draws for which Pakistan have little desire, and West Indies would require to formalise a series victory.
West Indies: Darren Sammy (captain), Brendan Nash (vice captain), Devendra Bishoo, Carlton Baugh Jr, Darren Bravo, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Fidel Edwards, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Lendl Simmons, Devon Smith.
Pakistan : Misbah-ul Haq (captain), Abdur Rehman, Asad Shafiq, Azhar Ali, Hammad Azam , Junaid Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Salman, Saeed Ajmal, Tanvir Ahmed, Taufiq Umar, Umar Akmal, Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz.