Roach the unlikely hero as West Indies edge to thrilling win over Pakistan

By Sports Desk August 15, 2021

Kemar Roach's battling 30 not out guided West Indies to an unforgettable one-wicket win over Pakistan in a gripping first Test in Kingston.

The hosts were set 168 to win after Pakistan's final five wickets fell for 31 runs on Sunday, with teenage paceman Jayden Seals claiming 5-55 in his second Test outing.

But the Windies stumbled to lunch on 38-3, Shaheen Afridi (4-50) having ripped out skipper Kraigg Brathwaite, Kieran Powell and Nkrumah Bonner for single-figure scores.

Roston Chase (22) and Jermaine Blackwood (55) launched a rebuilding job that threatened to turn into a match-winning partnership before Chase edged a full delivery from Faheem Ashraf (2-29) to Imran Butt at second slip.

Blackwood played with typical intent and struck 10 fours but played loosely at Hasan Ali (3-37), with Butt again the beneficiary. Kyle Mayers came and went without scoring and West Indies were staring down the barrel at 114-7 when Hasan bowled Jason Holder for 16.

The momentum looked to be shifting again after tea, only for Afridi to return and have Joshua Da Silva caught behind for 14 – ending a useful stand of 28 with Roach.

If the catch to remove opposite number Da Silva was fairly routine for Mohammad Rizwan, the Pakistan gloveman excelled himself by chasing Jomel Warrican's swirling hook at Hasan all the way to fine leg.

That made it 151-9 but Roach showed nerves of steel alongside the rookie Seales, who contributed two, to haul his men over the line.

 

Seales goes back to West Indies roots

They might not produce them in the volume or quality they used to, but nothing excites cricket fans quite like the emergence of a bright new fast bowling talent from the Caribbean. Man of the match Seales' raw pace was too much for Pakistan's lower order to deal with and, at 19 years and 339 days, he became the youngest West Indian to claim a five-wicket haul in Tests – breaking a 71-year-old record set by the great Alf Valentine.

Master combines with apprentice to seal glory

Once upon a time, Roach was the tearaway quick. Now he is charged with teaching Seales everything he knows and the 33-year-old proved a fine foil for the youngster, taking 5-77 in the match. Roach might have presumed their work done and would scarcely have imagined combining with Seales to get the Windies over the line.

Nevertheless, he played with a composure that belied a test average of 11.6 – Roach has never passed 50 in the longest format – and faced 52 deliveries from a high-class Pakistan attack across 92 minutes at the crease. His steer through cover off Hasan for the winning run was the sweetest reward for a temperamentally exceptional display.

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