Pakistan’s spin bowlers, led by four-wicket Saeed Ajmal, gave them early control of the first Test against the West Indies on Thursday.
Off-spinner Ajmal ended the opening day with four for 63 from 29 overs, as the West Indies, electing to bat, reached 209 for nine in their first innings.
Mohammad Hafeez, bowling off-spin, supported with two for 22 from 13 overs, while Abdur Rehman captured two for 46 from 26 overs.
Gaining appreciable turn and bounce from an unpredictable Guyana National Stadium pitch, the spinners created headaches for the West Indies’ batsmen, several of whom got starts, but failed to carry on. Hafeez gave an early indication of what to expect when he shared the new ball with Umar Gul and bowled Devon Smith in the sixth over of the match.
It was the fourth straight time that Hafeez had dismissed the West Indies left-handed opener, stretching back to the preceding one-day series.
Lendl Simmons, whose 49 was the top score for the West Indies, and compatriot Darren Bravo held firm for the remainder of the morning period, taking the West Indies to 66 for one lunch.
Pakistan continued to tighten their grip when Wahab Riaz trapped Bravo LBW for 25 in the third over after the interval.
Riaz also interrupted the West Indies’ flow when he struck Simmons on his left knee and forced him to retire hurt on 41, leaving the home team on 81 for two.
Pakistan ran into defiance when Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan, the West Indies’ two most experienced batsmen, came together and spent just more than 90 minutes in astute consolidation.
However, Rehman made a decisive breakthrough when he had Sarwan caught behind for 23, top-edging a cut, and requiring New Zealand umpire Tony Hill to review his not-out verdict, to leave the West Indies 131 for three at tea. After tea, Ajmal and Rehman continued to apply the pressure and things fell apart for the West Indies in dramatic fashion.
Ajmal gained LBW verdicts to dismiss Brendan Nash for five and Carlton Baugh for four, before Rehman had the West Indies captain Darren Sammy caught at deep mid-on for 12.
However, Ajmal swung fortunes firmly Pakistan’s way when he bowled the obdurate Chanderpaul for 27 with a doosra that spun sharply out of the rough outside the left-hander’s off-stump.
Ajmal also trapped Simmons LBW after the batsman returned to the middle following the dismissal of Sammy and Hafeez also gained an LBW decision to remove Ravi Rampaul for 14.
Both sides included a Test newcomer in their teams with the -Windies playing leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo, while Pakistan handed a first Test to Mohammad Salman.
Pakistan are seeking their maiden Test series victory in the Caribbean.