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30-Apr-2017 04:30:00 GMT
West Indies v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Bridgetown

Pakistan eye historic series win in West Indies

Barbados: Misbah-ul-Haq -- who, along with Younis Khan, will retire after the ongoing three-Test series in the West Indies -- is on the brink of yet another accomplishment.

He is now one win away from becoming the first Pakistan captain to win a Test series in the West Indies in eight attempts, and he would want to tick that box in the second game at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, starting from Sunday.

After Pakistan won by seven wickets in Sabina Park, Misbah thanked his teammates for yet another “gift”.

A potential series win in West Indies has a lot of historical significance even if the home side is not at its prime currently. Pakistan first toured West Indies in 1957-58, and its maiden game was memorable due to Hanif Mohammad’s match-saving 337. The 970-minute knock remains the longest in Tests, and second-longest in first-class cricket.

The timeless knock still gets spoken about, like the 1987-88 tour when Imran Khan led Pakistan in a three-Test series against one of the world’s best-ever cricket teams.

After winning the first Test and drawing the second one, Pakistan set West Indies a target of 266 in the decider.

With West Indies reduced to 207 for 8, Pakistan would have thought it had a chance at history. But an unbroken ninth-wicket stand of 61 runs between Jeff Dujon and Winston Benjamin took West Indies to a series-levelling win.

Admittedly, West Indies is not the same force now, but that counts for little in history’s statistical prism. If West Indies has to put up a show then this is the time. It is not unfamiliar territory. Written off after losing the second Test against England in 2015, it came back to win the final game and level the series.

It also showed its fighting nature through Roston Chase’s effort during the series against India last year. The issue, though, is with its inconsistency. After Yasir Shah’s six-wicket haul in the second innings handed the side a loss in the first Test, Jason Holder asked for his batsmen to take more ownership.

The other talking point, from Pakistan’s perspective, going into the second Test is whether or not to give Shadab Khan a debut. Shadab was the find for Pakistan during the Twenty20 International series, and his presence in the line-up could reduce the workload of the seamers.

Wrapping up the series with a game to go would be the ideal way for Pakistan to give Misbah and Younis a chance to enjoy their farewell game.

Teams from

West Indies:
Jason Holder (capt), Devendra Bishoo, Jermaine Blackwood, Kraigg Brathwaite, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich (wk), Shannon Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Kieran Powell, Vishaul Singh.

Pakistan: Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Ahmed Shahzad, Azhar Ali, Shan Masood, Babar Azam, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmad (wk), Usman Salahuddin, Yasir Shah, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Asghar, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Abbas.

Stats and trivia
If Pakistan win this Test, it will mark their first ever Test series win in the Caribbean.

Match facts
April 30 to May 4, 2017
Start time 10:00 local (14:00 GMT)

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