LIVE Stream of PAK vs WI 1st Test Match – 13-17 October 2016
In-form Pakistan are ready to launch a pink-ball spin assault on struggling West Indies when the two sides face off in Asia’s first day-night Test from Thursday (October 13) in Dubai. Pakistan have been on a roll since their 2-2 series draw in England in August, which briefly lifted them to the number one position in world cricket’s Test rankings for the first time. They’ve subsequently dropped down to second spot – as India catapulted to the top after beating New Zealand – but Misbah-ul-Haq’s men have an opportunity to close the gap on their rivals, in the three-match series against the West Indies.
Pakistan captain Misbah said he was relishing the prospect of a day-night Test, where play will be from 3:30 pm to 10:30 pm (1130 GMT to 1830 GMT) with two breaks of 30 minutes. “It’s exciting because I think the future belongs to day-night Tests,” said Misbah, whose team will be missing senior batsman Younis Khan, still recovering from dengue fever.
Pakistan have included in-form batsman Babar Azam, 21, for his first Test after he racked up 360 runs during the one-day series against West Indies. But misfiring openers Mohammad Hafeez and Shan Masood have been axed from the squad which levelled the four-match Test series against England.
The West Indies, routed by Pakistan 3-0 in both Twenty20 Internationals and ODIs preceding the Tests, enter the series as clear underdogs. Coach Phil Simmons, who guided them to the World Twenty20 title in April this year, was sacked prior to this tour after the team lost 2-0 to India in a four-match series in August.
But captain Jason Holder reckoned his team – down to eighth in the Test rankings – is ready to bounce back. “We have some new faces in Tests so we will do our best,” Holder said. Experts, however, see Pakistan’s spin duo of Yasir Shah and Zulfiqar Babar proving too much for the spin-wary West Indian batsmen, especially in the unfamiliar day-night format with the pink ball and lights.
Test cricket played under lights with the pink ball is aimed to address the dwindling crowds for the longest format – floodlit matches encourage those at work during the day to attend – and has met with initial success. Australia staged the inaugural day-night Test against New Zealand in Adelaide last November and attracted 123,000 spectators and an average television audience of two million.
But players from both sides complained about the pink ball’s movement and durability, as well as the difficulty batsmen faced seeing it under lights. In order to address the issues with the visibility of the seam, and as per Australia captain Steven Smith’s recommendations, the colour of the seam has been changed to black. “We have changed the colour of the seam since the Adelaide Test. After the Adelaide Test, where the ball had green and white seam, we spoke to Steve Smith and he wanted a more visible seam. So, we introduced the black seam,” Kookaburra group managing director Brett Elliot said.
As far as this series is concerned, Pakistan have accumulated more experience than the West Indies under lights, adopting the coloured ball concept six years ago for the final of their domestic premier first-class tournament. Pakistan have more than one reason to do well in Dubai – as well as grabbing a slice of Test history in their maiden pink-ball Test, the match is also their 400th Test since playing their first in India in 1952.
When: Pakistan vs West Indies, 1st Test – 3:30 PM Local time (5:00 PM IST)
Where: Dubai International Cricket Stadium
What to expect: Clear skies with a high of 34 degree Celsius. The pink ball is expected to seam under lights while dew could come into play, making it a bit difficult for the spinners.
Pakistan: Left-handed all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz, who impressed in the limited-overs leg against West Indies, is likely to make his Test debut, while Babar too is set to play his maiden Test in the absence of Younis Khan.
West Indies: Shai Hope, who last played a Test against Australia in January 2016, wasn’t selected for any of the home Tests against India. However, he is likely to return to the West Indies Test eleven following impressive half-centuries in the two warm-up matches. Marlon Samuels, however, did not feature in the tour matches, and it remains to be seen if he is considered for selection.
Did you know:
– The last time West Indies played Pakistan in an away series was nearly a decade ago – in November 2006 in Pakistan. West Indies have lost seven out of eight away Tests against Pakistan in the last 25 years.
– Darren Bravo averages 56.69 in 14 Tests in Asia with four hundreds and six fifties in just 25 innings. In comparison, he averages 29.35 in home Tests.
– If Yasir Shah, who will play his 17th Test, picks up five wickets, he will be the joint second-fastest ever to 100 wickets, along with Charlie Turner, Syd Barnes, Clarrie Grimmett. George Lohamann is the fastest to 100 wickets, getting there in 16 Tests.
What they said:
The seam is different. It’s hard to see the seam, especially with the spinners. You can’t really spot the seam. It’s a different challenge and we will get to know it better as we play more: Azhar Ali
I think most of the guys have complained about the fact that they’re not really able to pick up the seam that well. I don’t know for whatever reason but we can’t do anything about it. It is what it is and we need to accept the challenge as quickly as possible: Darren Bravo
Pakistan (From): Sami Aslam, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam, Misbah-ul-Haq(c), Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed(w), Mohammad Nawaz, Yasir Shah, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Sohail Khan, Imran Khan, Rahat Ali, Zulfiqar Babar
West Indies (From): Kraigg Brathwaite, Shai Hope, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Jermaine Blackwood, Shane Dowrich(w), Jason Holder(c), Roston Chase, Shannon Gabriel, Devendra Bishoo, Jomel Warrican, Alzarri Joseph, Carlos Brathwaite, Leon Johnson, Miguel Cummins