Rain washed away the play on Day 2 of the second Test between Pakistan and West Indies at Sabina Park, Kingston.
On Day 1, Pakistan recovered after a horrible start where they lost three wickets for two runs.
Thanks to sublime half centuries from Fawad Alam and Pakistan captain Babar Azam, Pakistan recovered from 2/3 to 212/4 at the end of Day 1.
Eventually, Azam was caught at slip for a gritty 75. Kemar Roach claimed his scalp.
As for Alam, the tough Caribbean conditions accompanied by scorching sun seemed to have gotten him on 76.
The left-handed Test specialist had to give in to body cramps.
Mohammad Rizwan (22*) and Faheem Ashraf (23*) are now at the crease. The lefty-righty duo built on the foundations provided by Azam and Alam.
As good as Alam and Azam looked in their efforts to stabilise Pakistan’s sinking ship in the first innings, a few talking points have emerged again after the top order failed to impress.
Opening woes continue
Imran butt and Abid Ali were seen working on their batting during the entire off-season.
They worked on their stance and ball timing with Pakistan’s batting legend, Mohammad Yousuf at Lahore’s National High Performance Centre.
But they still seem to have not overcome their flaws.
Butt scored 11 runs altogether in the first Test and a single run in the first innings of the second Test. As good as he is in the slip cordon, his batting form seems to be nose-diving faster than ever.
At this point, it seems like the only reason he is kept in the team is for his catching ability at slip that earns some vital breakthroughs.
Abid Ali’s case is slightly different. After scoring a ton on his Test debut, the right-handed star has not made a similar impact.
Ali has either failed to start the innings on a high or not capitalized on a good start to convert it into a fifty.
There’s a similar pattern in the dismissals of Ali and Butt.
Both have a hard time dealing with balls coming just outside the off-stump.
Azhar Ali has been inconsistent as well. He has gone from being one of the most dependable Pakistani batsmen to someone whose place is in danger in the playing XI.
Fawad Alam carries on
Alam has been the definition of resilience for the brittle middle-order of Pakistan.
Regardless of the venue, the left-handed star has been able to make an impact in every Test he has played.
After failing on his comeback Test in England, the Chanderpaul-esque star has made use of every opportunity he has been given in red-ball cricket.
He is rarely bothered by pressure and can comfortably withstand the best bowling line-ups in the world.
Against West Indies in the second Test, the 35-year-old added over 150 runs for the fourth wicket partnership alongside Babar Azam to make a remarkable recovery.
Windies looked as if they would topple the middle order soon as well the way they started sending Pakistani batters back to the pavilion, but Alam’s grit and Azam’s determination brought the Men in Green back into the game.
With consistent performances in every series, Alam has made a solid case for a permanent place in the batting order.
Pakistan 212 for 4 (Azam 75, Alam 76*, Roach 3-49) v West Indies