Super Sammy bowls Windies to win

Georgetown, Guyana, CMC – West Indies captain Darren Sammy bowled his heart out on Sunday to lead his side to a memorable, 40-run victory over Pakistan in the first Digicel Test.

Sammy captured 5-29 runs from 17 overs, as Pakistan, chasing 219 for victory, were bowled out for 178 about 45 minutes after lunch on the fourth day. Ravi Rampaul gave Sammy admirable support in the demolition of the Pakistan batting with 4-48 from 21 overs.

Sammy had the privilege of formalising the result, when he bowled Saeed Ajmal for three, and to top it off, he was named Man-of-the-Match. The victory meant that West Indies took a 1-0 lead in the two-match series, killing Pakistan’s dreams of their first-ever Test series victory on Caribbean soil.

The result also ended a sequence of 17 straight Tests for West Indies without a victory, stretching back to February 2009, when they crushed England by an innings and 23 runs at Sabina Park in Jamaica. It also gave the small crowd at the Guyana National Stadium a rare sight of a West Indies Test victory in their homeland, coming 13 years after West Indies beat England by 242 runs at Bourda Oval.

Sammy made two strategic strikes in the final half-hour before lunch to fortify West Indies bid for victory, when he removed Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq for the top score of 52 and Mohammad Salman for a duck in the space of three balls, as the visitors reached 153-6 at lunch.

Until Sammy’s intervention, Pakistan were coasting, after Rampaul gave West Indies a bright start, when he spectacularly bowled Asad Shafiq middle stump for 42 in the third over of the day. This followed a fourth-wicket stand of 81 between Shafiq and Misbah that resurrected Pakistan from a perilous two wickets for three runs the previous evening.

West Indies were frustrated further for close to an hour-and-a-half, when Misbah, who became the first batsman to reach 50 in the match, and Umar Akmal added 52 for the fifth wicket. But Sammy trapped Misbah lbw playing defensively forward to a ball that moved back, and unsuccessfully challenged umpire Billy Bowden’s decision.

Sammy then struck another telling blow, when Salman too, played forward and was struck plumb in front, stemming Pakistan’s progress. After lunch, West Indies started with Sammy from the Media Centre End and Rampaul from the Pavilion End in a final charge to secure victory – and they did not have to wait long for the breakthrough.

Rampaul got Abdur Rehman to hang his bat at a delivery just outside the off-stump, and the edge flew low to second slip, where Devon Smith held a fine catch. Sammy then wrapped things up, removing the last three Pakistan wickets in successive overs, including Umar Akmal for 47.

His dismissal of Umar Gul set a new record for the most lbws in a Test of 20, eclipsing the 17 between the two sides 18 years ago at Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad.

The second Digicel Test at Warner Park in the St Kitts capital of Basseterre opens on Friday. First ball is 10 am (9 am Jamaica Time).

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