Inzy leads Pakistan home

After all the complaints about the fairly lifeless pitches in the Test series, today’s pitch had more than a hint of assistance for the bowlers. An intriguing contest was the result.

Inzamam Ul-Haq won the toss, and after sizing up the conditions, his decision to bowl was soon justified. Openers Lendl Simmons and Chris Gayle were both dismissed by Rana Naved and Umar Gul without scoring, and the score was 2 for 2. The West Indian situation was not helped by having to play a team missing Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Dwayne Bravo.

While the bowlers continued to put it in the right spot, and found movement off the pitch, Daren Ganga and Marlon Samuels saw off the new ball resolutely. After all this, Ganga threw away his wicket somewhat, a leading edge off Iftikhar Anjum trying to slap the ball through the leg side. As Lara and Samuels looked to build another solid partnership, Pakistan were able to make their next breakthrough, as Lara was run out.

Next man in, a big hitter in Dwayne Smith was unable to up the slow scoring rate. He was cleverly trapped lbw by debutant spinner Abdur Rehman, who got two to turn sharply before hitting Smith on his pads with the third. Samuels soon felt to quicken the scoring, but was caught at slip by Younis Khan for a gutsy 32.

At 79-6, West Indies could well have collapsed to fewer than 100. Thanks to the efforts of Morton and Ramdin though, they edged past 150. They didn’t score particularly fast, but that was impossible on this wicket, but both proved effective at hitting boundaries when necessary. Once both were gone though, the tail provided no bonus runs, and 151 was the final score.

With the bowlers’ jobs done, the Pakistani batsmen were more than capable of chasing down 152. But West Indies came out fighting, and Pakistan’s openers didn’t. Mohammad Hafeez nicked an outswinger with the very first delivery of the innings while Imran Farhat slashed one to slip after reaching 17. Akmal was out in a similarly poor fashion, caught at backward point from a short ball.

Pakistan were now 50-3, but had two more experienced level-headed batsmen at the crease in Inzamam and Younis Khan. They added 30 at a fairly slow pace, before Younis hooked one high in the air off Jerome Taylor, leaving a simple catch for Ramdin. Shoaib Malik was gone shortly after, caught behind off Ian Bradshaw.

Inzamam and Abdul Razzaq were now the last batsmen of note, but a win was still more than within Pakistan’s reach. They added 28, with Razzaq reigning in his attacking instincts before being undone by Corey Collymore. Inzamam now went on the attacking, taking three boundaries in two overs off Samuels and Gayle.

West Indies fought back though, Rana Naved was lbw to Samuels while Abdur Rehman edged Taylor behind. Pakistan now needed five to win with two wickets and three overs left of the match. These would prove no problem, and Inzamam hit the winning runs in style in the 49th over, pulling Taylor through backward square for four. Inzamam’s final score was 42, but it was a much better innings than the scorebooks would suggest and saved Pakistan from an embarrassing defeat.

West Indies 151 all out
Runako Morton 43, Marlon Samuels 37
Umar Gul 2-19, Abdur Rehman 2-20, Rana Naved 2-32

Pakistan 154-8
Inzamam Ul-Haq 42*
Corey Collymore 3-19, Jerome Taylor 3-39

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