Pakistan created two chances to dismiss Kemar Roach, who eventually went on to hit the winning runs, but they shelled both
What if they hadn’t lost their two best batters in back-to-back overs resulting in a below-par first-innings total of 217? What if someone had been able to stand with him a little longer as he made a half-century and looked to set up a bigger target than 168? And perhaps most frustrating of all, what if they had held on to their catches?
“That’s the beauty of Test cricket,” Babar said in his post-match assessment of the team’s performance to the PCB. “The way this match panned out – you could see the momentum kept swaying from one side to the other. We tried to give it our 100%. Our boys put in the effort, our bowlers and fielders put in the effort. But in the final session the one or two chances that came our way in the form of catches – had we availed of those, the result of the match could have been different.”
“When you drop catches in clutch phases, the course of the match changes. We got two chances but couldn’t avail of them which is why we lost the match. That said, we did pull off a few good catches, so you took good catches but dropped a few, so you lost the match.”
Babar was equally rueful about a lack of substantial partnerships. He had been in the middle of one in the first innings, guiding the score from 21 for 2 to 68 for 2 with Azhar Ali, but then West Indies removed both batters in the space of seven balls. A similar double-blow resulting in the wickets of Faheem Ashraf for 44 and Yasir Shah for 0 ensured Pakistan could make only 217 after they had been put in to bat.
The same story continued in the second innings and understandably Babar wanted this shortcoming addressed. “If I am to look back on how we performed throughout the match, the partnership Azhar bhai and I put up in the first innings – it was a good one and gave us the momentum but we relinquished it when we got out,” he said.
“We then wrested it back and lost back-to-back wickets. In a Test match if you keep squandering momentum from advantageous positions, you struggle to put on a big score. That’s something we need to review. A similar course of events took place in the second innings, although we weren’t able to stitch together as big a partnership as in our first dig which resulted in a lower target than we had thought of.”
“I’m quite happy with how they have been bowling,” he said. “Their approach and effort, how they seem to be at the ready whenever their services are called upon, and also how they give their 100%. I am quite satisfied with how they bowled throughout the game and hope they’ll do well in the next match and help us win it.”