DUBAI: Pakistan openers Azhar Ali and Sami Aslam stroked confident half-centuries to anchor their team’s rock solid start in the first day-night Test against West Indies in Dubai on Thursday.
Ali was unbeaten on 89 and Sami 75 not out to take Pakistan to 172-0 after they won the toss at Dubai stadium and opted to bat in the second ever day-night Test, played with a pink ball instead of the traditional red.
Australia and New Zealand featured in a day-night Test at Adelaide in November last year, the first-ever in Test cricket’s 140-year-old history.
Ali, playing his 50th Test, steered paceman Miguel Cummins for a double to reach his 21st half century. He has so far hit eight boundaries.
Aslam was equally resolute as he knocked his fifth boundary off spinner Roston Chase for his third half-century in his fifth Test as the two openers added 91 in the second session after they were 81-0 at tea.
West Indies consumed both their referrals, first against Ali off paceman Jason Holder when the batsman was on 38, and then on Aslam (69) off leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo — both leg-before appeals.
West Indies’ spinners failed to create any problems for Pakistan’s openers who flourished as the day progressed.
It couldn’t have been a better start for Pakistan in a match marking their 400th Test, as they won a crucial toss and were given a rock solid start against the West Indies, who entered the Test with three seamers and two spinners.
Pakistan gave Test caps to middle-order batsman Babar Azam and all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz.
Ali was given a lifeline when Leon Johnson failed to hold onto a sharp chance at gully off Cummins on 17.
West Indian captain Holder brought on his part-time spinner Kraigg Brathwaite in the 15th over and leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo in the 21st but there were no signs of spin.
The remaining two Tests will be played in Abu Dhabi (October 21-25) and Sharjah (October 30-November 3).