The West Indies had endured a tough series in New Zealand at the start of the year, having lost both the Tests and all five one-dayers. Captain Brian Lara duly gave up the captaincy and took a sabbatical from the game, thus further weakening the brittle batting line-up.
A year earlier, the Windies were swamped 5-0 in South Africa and though they managed a 2-2 draw against Australia at home due to Lara’s outstanding batting, they were shot out for a record-low 51 in the first Test of that series.
Under the new captain Jimmy Adams, the 2000 home season presented an opportunity for redemption with a lower-ranked Zimbabwe and an unpredictable Pakistan being the tourists.
Zimbabwe, who visited first, were beaten 2-0 in the two-Test series. But in the first Test at Trinidad, the hosts had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat as the Zimbabweans woefully collapsed from 47-3 to 63 all out in pursuit of a measly target of 99.
The first Test against Pakistan was drawn due to complete loss of play on the last two days and the second Test too ended in a tame stalemate. Thus, the teams descended upon the Antigua Recreation Ground at St John’s with all to play for.
The hosts put in Pakistan, who were led by Moin Khan, and would have got the upper hand if not for a brilliant century by Yousuf Youhana (Mohd Yousuf since 2006). Youhana remained unbeaten on 102 at the end of the first day, ensuring that honours were even after his side recovered to 267/8 after slumping to 33/3.
A charged-up Wasim Akram took 11 wickets in the Test
On day two, Courtney Walsh, who was in the twilight of his career, picked up the last two wickets to finish with 5/83. Pakistan ended at 269 with Youhana remaining unbeaten on 103. The West Indian top order then all got starts, but it was Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Jimmy Adams who steered their team to a position of strength.
Combating a charged-up Wasim Akram with their dour defence, Chanderpaul and Adams ended the day at 68* and 60* respectively, leading the hosts to 214/3 from a wobbly 84/3. However on day three, a familiar West Indies collapse spiced up the Test as Akram ripped through the middle and lower order to finish with a return of 6/61.
The lead for the hosts was thus restricted to a mere four runs, as they could only manage a total 273 in spite of being 218/3. ‘Chanderpaul top-scored with a solid 89. Pakistan then endured another bad start to their second innings and another rescue act followed, this time from Inzamam ul-Haq and again, Youhana.
Inzamam scored 68 and put on 80 for the fourth wicket with Youhana before edging one to the keeper off the impressive Franklyn Rose. At stumps, Pakistan were 157/5 and with two days to go, finally a result was on the cards. Pakistan were eventually bowled out for 219 in the first session on the fourth day, with Reon King picking up 4/48.
The target for the West Indies was 216 and a minimum of 154 overs still remained. Akram got into the act early, as he removed openers Sherwin Campbell and Adrian Griffith to reduce the score to 31/2,
Young Wavell Hinds displayed a lot of maturity in compiling an important 63, also hitting two sixes on the way. However, Akram castled Hinds with the score now reading 144/4, at which point the umpires called stumps to set up an exciting final day.
Jimmy Adams on his way to his match-winning 48* (source – cricinfo.com)
The equation for day five was 72 runs to win with six wickets in hand. Hinds’ dismissal late on the previous day had again made the game an even contest. But as the final day began, it seemed that the West Indian innings was slowly unravelling.
Akram trapped rookie Ramnaresh Sarwan plumb leg before while Ridley Jacobs was narrowly run out. The score was now a worrying 169/6. All hopes rested on captain Adams, who was 15* overnight.
Adams shielded his remaining partners by taking as much of the strike, especially from Akram, who bowled 17.3 overs in three spells from either end to add to his 12.3 of the previous day. Soon Rose and Curtly Ambrose fell too, respectively to spinners Saqlain Mushtaq and Mushtaq Ahmed.
The scoreboard read 194/8, and the tension at the ARG was increasing with every single ball. Akram then went on to collect his fifth wicket of the innings, clean bowling King. 197/9, with only the quintessential tail-ender Walsh left to accompany the rock-solid Adams.
At 200/9, Imran Nazir, at forward short-leg, caught Walsh off Saqlain in what seemed to be a tricky bat-pad offering. Even after a vociferous appeal, umpire Doug Cowie remained unmoved – the television replays later showed that the bat’s inside edge as well as the pad were involved.
Earlier, with 20 runs still needed, the Pakistanis were also certain that Adams had snicked one from Akram to Moin Khan behind the wicket, but umpire Billy Doctrove, in his debut Test, disagreed. The replays this time were not as conclusive as they later were.
Jimmy Adams gets mobbed by his team-mates after sealing the dramatic win (source – cricinfo.com)
At 202/9, Adams and Walsh, to their horror, found themselves at the same end after a disagreement over a deflection from Walsh’s pad to short fine-leg. Adams ran, Walsh took off only when Younis Khan’s throw on its way. Younis missed the target, much to the dismay of his teammates.
With luck on their side, Adams and Walsh went about the task before finally achieving a famous victory, their stand being a priceless 19 in 13.1 overs. Walsh made 4* in 24 balls, while the unflappable Adams scored 48* in 212 balls and stayed in the middle for almost 63 overs.
Adams did not score a single boundary and he most often took a single off the last ball of the over to keep strike. The new captain gave his all to snatch the victory that his team so desperately needed. He hit the winning single off Akram (5/49) as the West Indies reached 216/9 in 91 overs, winning by one wicket. Pakistan were cruelly deprived of a maiden series win in the Caribbean.
Akram had bowled his heart out, taking career-best match figures of 11/110 in 56.2 overs. No doubt the West Indians were immensely fortunate, both due to the umpiring errors as well as Pakistan’s fielding lapse, but in the end it was a hard-earned series victory, thanks in main to Jimmy Adams’ exemplary resoluteness.
This series win proved to be an aberration, as West Indies went on to lose 3-1 in England a few months later, followed by another thumping 5-0 defeat overseas, this time in Australia. Adams’ captaincy had ended in disaster down under, and this innings remains the high point of his time at the helm.