I know I’m a little late with this blog, but Pakistan and West Indies played their first day/night test match this week, the second in the history of the game. It culminated in a tense, last-hour, 56-run victory for Pakistan in their 400th test match after Darren Bravo had tried his utmost to keep them at bay. Following are a few of my thoughts on the match and Pakistan team’s performance.
So far, the Azhar Ali and Sami Aslam pair is working out very well for Pakistan. Sami made 90 in the first innings and put together a very impressive 215-run partnership with Azhar, who went on to score a massive 302 not out to help Pakistan to a huge first innings score, which eventually proved instrumental to the victory.
For West Indies, Bravo was a shining light, scoring 87 and 117 to almost steal the match from Pakistan. To be completely fair, the reason he even had the chance to take the West Indies so close, was because of Davendra Bishoo, who ran through Pakistan in their second innings, taking 8 wickets.
Yasir Shah again proved key for Pakistan in the bowling department, even though he went through barren spells which stretched for tens of overs. Eventually he broke through, though, and his dismissal of Bravo on the last night, with a spectacular flying catch off his own bowling no less, paved the way for Pakistan after Bravo had resisted alone for more than 400 minutes.
All done and dusted, there still remain question marks over the success of the experiment after the pink ball showed a lot of wear and not enough sustenance over the course of an innings. Crowd numbers were also very disappointing, and even lower than they are in regular test matches in Dubai. Seeing as the purpose of this try-out was to bring interest back into test cricket, so far the results have been dour.
Younus Khan was the only key player missing from Pakistan, on account of health, but his absence made room for Babar Azam, who showed considerable promise on his debut, scoring an impressive fifty in the first innings.
Pakistan produced another classic performance in this match, going from dominant to dangerously close to relinquishing their hard work before clawing back to claim a win. Day/night tests are a step in the right direction, even though this example may suggest otherwise. Just a few tweaks and we may see the longest format back on its feet.