A glimpse at gloryTuesday, August 17, 2021
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics may be over but sport continues to provide the thrill we've got accustomed to and certainly expect.
Still riding on the high from the excellence of our athletes, many would have turned a blind eye to the West Indies vs Pakistan Test series, especially with the opening round matches in the English Premier League (EPL) kicking off over the weekend.
West Indies cricket over the years has become synonymous with disappointment and as such, one can be forgiven for ignoring the Test match at Sabina Park against Pakistan; however, those diehard supporters that were tuned in were treated to one of the better and more exciting Test matches in recent times.
There is no doubt that Test cricket is struggling to stay alive and viable in this modern era of sports; however, this first Test between West Indies and Pakistan would have been great advertisement for how thrilling a battle Test match cricket can be.
The cricket pitches at Sabina Park are result-oriented and are generally suited for all-round cricket. Good bowlers will get wickets and capable batsmen will make runs, but the bowlers will admit that the conditions are tipped in their favour.
The match ebbed and flowed from start through to finish, neither team took the bull by the horn to assert their dominance; hence, it came as no surprise that the match went down to the wire.
West Indies were left chasing a paltry target of 168, but Pakistan immediately ruffled West Indies' feathers to have them reeling at 16-3. Jermaine Blackwood stood firm and took the fight to the Pakistanis with a top score of 55, whilst Roston Chase played his part in the chase with a patient 22.
However, the hero of the day was Kemar Roach. He guided the tail to victory, was defiant in his innings of 30 not out and like a pest to the Pakistanis. Jayden Seales, batting at number 11, joined Roach at the wicket with the team requiring another 17 runs to secure victory. Seales, only 19 years of age, showed grit and gave the dressing room and television viewers much confidence, while Roach continued to pester his opponents.
It came down to six runs for victory. Roach edged one tantalisingly through the slips, and for a moment the Pakistanis thought victory was theirs as it flew inches below the keeper's glove as he dived full stretch, but it raced to the third man boundary for four runs.
Three deliveries later Roach stroked one through the covers to secure the victory. The tension eased as the West Indian players celebrated a hard-fought victory.
The ongoing pandemic and associated protocols caused the match to be played behind closed doors, denying fans a spectacle; nonetheless, those of us who were tuned in were thoroughly entertained.
The second and final Test match bowls off on Friday at the same venue Will it be another thriller? Stay tuned.