Babar, Fawad hit unbeaten half-centuries to rescue Pakistan in second Test

Kingston (Jamaica) (AFP) –


Unbeaten half-centuries by Babar Azam and Fawad Alam stabilised Pakistan after a disastrous start and lifted the visitors to 145 for three at tea on the opening day of the second Test against the West Indies at Sabina Park on Friday.

Babar, his country's captain and premier batsman, and awkward-looking left-hander Fawad prospered through the afternoon session in extending their unbroken third-wicket partnership to 143.

They will resume in the final session of a sun-drenched day with Babar on 65 off 143 deliveries with 11 boundaries while Fawad's 67 not out has so far occupied 139 balls in which he has stroked nine fours.

Their flourishing partnership has been in stark contrast to the early exchanges when Pakistan were tottering at two for three just four overs into the day.

Kemar Roach struck twice and new ball partner Jayden Seales claimed early success after home captain Kraigg Brathwaite repeated his decision of the first Test by putting the opposition in on winning the toss.

Pakistan's hopes for a more solid start from their top order crumbled in the very first over when Abid Ali fell to a good low catch by Jermaine Blackwood at third slip off Roach.

Revelling in the bowler-friendly conditions, Roach added to that early success in his next over as new batsman Azhar Ali fell without scoring, the former captain edging a delivery through to wicketkeeper Joshua da Silva.

Seales, man of the match in the first Test when he claimed eight wickets including five in the second innings, enjoyed his share of the early spoils.

He drew the other opener, Imran Butt, into playing at another full-length delivery for da Silva to take his second straightforward catch in nine balls.

Babar and Fawad displayed admirable grit and discipline in defying West Indies' all-pace attack.

The elegant Babar countered with a handful of handsome boundaries while Fawad was again a model of unorthodox defiance given his much-talked about exaggerated square-on batting stance.

Early strikes: Kemar Roach (fourth left) and teammates celebrate the dismissal of Abid Ali
Early strikes: Kemar Roach (fourth left) and teammates celebrate the dismissal of Abid Ali Randy Brooks AFP

They played with increasing freedom in the post-lunch period as 83 runs were added in the two hours of play.

After scrambling to a thrilling one-wicket win the first Test at the same venue five days earlier, the home side made one change with fast bowler Alzarri Joseph further bolstering the pace attack at the expense of left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican.

Pakistan also made just one change as experienced wrist-spinner Yasir Shah, who went wicketless in the first Test, replaced by left-arm orthodox slow bowler Nauman Ali.

West Indies are seeking a first Test series triumph over Pakistan for 21 years.

The visitors are hoping to repeat the efforts of the 2005 and 2011 tours of the Caribbean when they lost the first encounters before rebounding to square both two-Test series.