Roach, Seales strike early against Pakistan in rain-hit first Test

Kingston (Jamaica) (AFP) –


Kemar Roach and Jayden Seales struck early for the West Indies as Pakistan reached 34 for two in a rain-shortened morning session after they were put in to bat on the opening day of the first Test of the two-match series at Sabina Park in Jamaica on Thursday.

Opening batsmen Imran Butt and Abid Ali negotiated the first half-hour of play without too many alarms before veteran pacer Roach bowled Butt through the gate with a full-length delivery in the seventh over of the day.

Seales, who made his Test debut in the previous series against South Africa in St Lucia two months earlier, then disposed of Ali without any addition to the score via a catch to wicketkeeper Joshua da Silva when he prodded indecisively at another delivery pitched up to the batsman.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam joined former skipper Azhar Ali with the visitors already in trouble at 21 for two.

They played with exaggerated care in coping with the first-change pair of bowlers - Jason Holder and Kyle Mayers - before the rain which was forecast arrived to take the players off the field 40 minutes before the scheduled interval.

Azam will resume on 10 and Azhar on three, assuming the showers relent to allow for a prompt resumption following the earlier lunch break.

Rain is forecast throughout the first Test and is in keeping with this Pakistan sojourn through the Caribbean which has already been severely disrupted by inclement weather.

Just one fixture of the scheduled four-match T20 International series in Barbados and Guyana was completed with Pakistan prevailing by seven runs in that encounter at Providence.

Mindful of pitch conditions which are expected to favour spinners later in the match, the West Indies opted for left-arm orthodox slow bowler Jomel Warrican over established off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall in their final eleven.

Nkrumah Bonner also returns to the team in place of Shai Hope in the middle order after he suffered a concussion and was ruled out of the remainder of the South Africa series after being struck on the helmet by a bouncer from fast bowler Anrich Nortje.

Pakistan's line-up shows no surprises as leg-spinner Yasir Shah reclaims his spot after missing the campaign against Zimbabwe in Harare in which the visitors thrashed the hosts by an innings in both matches.

Mohammad Abbas is also back in the team to bolster a seam attack which also includes Shaheen Shah Afridi and Hasan Ali.