West Indies reach 244-7 against Pakistan in 1st test

KINGSTON: The West Indies fought back in the final session of the first test against Pakistan on Friday, reaching 244-7 at the close, a reasonable total on a difficult Sabina Park wicket after the home team had collapsed to 71-5.

Play was halted for bad light with nine overs still to play after Pakistan took the new ball.

With several key players absent at the IPL, the new-look West Indies team struggled at first, but Roston Chase and wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich shared a 118-run partnership as the lower middle order rescued the team on a wicket that got easier as the day wore on.

Chase, in just his eighth test, scored 63 and Dowrich, in his ninth, was the only other West Indies player to pass 50, reaching 56 before falling to Yasir Shah. Shah removed both batsmen with successive deliveries after tea.

Bowlers Jason Holder and Devendra Bishoo added further steel to the West Indies batting, sharing an unbeaten partnership of 55 for the eighth wicket. Holder hit a successive four and six in a bright innings of 30 not out that pushed West Indies toward the par score at Sabina Park of around 260 on the first day of tests. Bishoo was 23 not out.

Mohammad Amir was the pick of Pakistan's bowling, finishing with 3-28 from 19 overs, achieving extravagant swing on a cloudy and humid Jamaican day. Debutant seamer Mohammad Abbas claimed a wicket off his second delivery as West Indies reached 143-5 at tea.

Amir clean bowled debutant Shimron Hetmyer (11) and Shai Hope (2) with deliveries that nipped back into both batsmen.

The left-armer Amir consistently tested batsmen with his away swingers and reduced the home team to 71-5 when he had opening batsman Kieran Pollard (33) caught in the slips in the first over after lunch.

Chase and Dowrich then dug in and revived the innings.

Both batsmen dominated the Pakistan spin threat of Yasir Shah (2-91) and Chase hoisted the leg-spinner for a straight six to raise the half century stand.

Pakistan dominated the morning session with a three-man seam attack after captain Misbah-ul-Haq won the toss and opted to field first under overcast conditions.

The 27-year-old Abbas hit the right line and length from the onset as he found the thick outside edge of Kraigg Brathwaite's bat off his second ball.

Another newcomer, Vishaul Singh, (9) was neatly caught low by Azhar Ali at backward square leg off another left-arm seamer, Wahab Riaz, as West Indies' top order batsmen stumbled to 53-4.

Although Amir's early strike after the break further pushed West Indies in trouble, Chase and Dowrich batted resolutely to hold the innings together until tea. It took a stunning catch on the boundary from Riaz on the boundary to remove Chase.

Younis took two neat catches in the slips to dislodge Brathwaite and Powell, who was playing his first test match since 2014.

Pakistan is looking for its maiden test series victory in the Caribbean.