Roston Chase’s second Test hundred and fine support from captain Jason Holder in a record unbroken partnership lifted the West Indies to 286 for six at stumps on the opening day of the second Test against Pakistan at Kensington Oval in on Sunday.
Called upon to repair yet another debacle at the top of the order after Holder chose to bat first, Chase’s unbeaten 131 was characterised by calm assurance and elegant strokeplay after he came to the crease at 37 for three.
Even if he lived a bit dangerously, the skipper also played positively and will resume on the second day alongside Chase on 58, their partnership so far worth 132 runs and establishing a new record for the seventh wicket in Tests for the West Indies against Pakistan.
Chase has so far faced 207 deliveries in five hours at the crease, stroking 17 fours while Holder’s innings has occupied 125 deliveries over three-and-a-half hours with eight fours decorating his knock.
On a surface offering very little assistance to the faster bowlers, the Caribbean team still managed to slip to 154 for six in mid-afternoon and at that stage it looked as if the tourists would have been well into their reply by the end of the day.
Opening bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Abbas claimed a wicket apiece in each of the first two sessions while Shadab Khan, selected for a Test debut in support of senior leg-spinner Yasir Shah, earned his first success in the shape of Shane Dowrich after Shah had accounted for Shai Hope.
Amir was the first to strike for Pakistan at the start of the day against a batting line-up surprisingly unchanged from the seven-wicket defeat in Jamaica.
Kraigg Brathwaite enjoyed a moment of good fortune when he was dropped at short extra-cover off Amir.
However the lapse did not prove costly for the visitors as Amir took the outside edge of the opener’s bat in the same over to give a straightforward catch to wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed.
Shimron Hetmyer, one of two batting debutants from a week earlier, faced just three deliveries before driving loosely at Abbas for Azhar Ali to take a sharp catch head-high at third slip.
Hope’s struggle for runs continued when he was caught at the wicket off Shah, the leg-spinner extracting sharp turn off the first-day pitch and appearing to justify Pakistan’s decision to give a debut to Shadab at the expense of their fastest bowler, Wahab Riaz
Kieran Powell, who batted through the morning session, departed on the resumption after lunch.
An lbw appeal off Amir with the batsman on 38 was ruled not out by on-field official Richard Kettleborough only to be overturned on review of the television replays.
Vishaul Singh’s miserable start to his Test career continued with a low catch to Younis Khan at second slip off Abbas and Younis’ secure pair of hands were again in evidence when Dowrich, on 29, pushed at a full length delivery from Shadab and the veteran made no mistake.