Kraigg Brathwaite became the first opener to be unbeaten in both innings of a Test, as he led West Indies to an absorbing five-wicket win over Pakistan in Sharjah – their first Test win outside the West Indies and Bangladesh since 2007. It was also West Indies’ first win in 14 Tests and their first under the captaincy of Jason Holder.
Yet, resuming on 114 for 5, with 39 runs to win, overnight batsmen Brathwaite and Shane Dowrich showed no sign of letting the occasion get to them. Brathwaite opened proceedings with a crisp drive to the cover boundary off Wahab Riaz on the first ball of the day. Dowrich smacked a half-tracker from Yasir Shah to the midwicket boundary in the next over. That set the tone as the pair took just 7.5 overs to knock down the target in clinical fashion on the fifth morning.
While neither batsman looked to force the pace, they were not afraid to put away bad balls either. Late cuts and drives through the off side featured prominently as the pair glided past the finish line with minimum fuss. Dowrich sealed the win, slashing a short ball from Mohammad Amir towards the third-man boundary for the sixth four of the morning.
Pakistan’s bowlers were unable to create any pressure on a pitch that was still rather placid. Neither Wahab nor Amir got much swing or movement off the surface, and Yasir was ineffective and inconsistent in the two overs he bowled. The batsmen seemed to have little trouble in keeping the straight ones out and punishing anything that was too short or too wide.
It was all a far cry from West Indies’ wobble the previous evening, as they slid to 67 for 5 after a rather shaky 29-run opening partnership. But Brathwaite and Dowrich scored unbeaten half-centuries, combining for a nerveless 87-run stand to steer their side to a memorable victory and finish a tough tour of the UAE on a high.