ROSEAU - Pakistan negotiated a potentially tricky first session, reaching 70 for one on the first day of the third and final Test against the West Indies at Windsor Park in Dominica on Wednesday.

After they were put in to bat, Shan Masood was the tourists' only casualty of the morning, falling to off-spinner Roston Chase after an hour's play. Opening partner Azhar Ali (36 not out) was set to resume after the interval alongside Babar Azam (24 not out), their partnership having already produced 51 runs for the second wicket.

West Indies' faster bowlers failed to make the inroads that Jason Holder would have hoped for after he won the toss and had no hesitation in putting the opposition in to bat in heavy, overcast conditions. While Shannon Gabriel, the destroyer of the Pakistanis on the final day of the second Test, used the new ball with accuracy and economy, Alzarri Joseph lacked control, forcing the captain to introduce himself and then Chase in the quest for the breakthrough.

It came when Masood, playing his first match of the series in place of the unwell Ahmed Shehzad, reached nine off 30 deliveries and prodded indecisively at a delivery from Chase for Holder to take the straightforward catch at second slip. Having failed to score in both innings of the second Test, new batsman Azam found the bowling to be much less challenging than at Kensington Oval and settled into the promising partnership with Ali.

Despite an effort dominated so far by caution, Ali latched on to two loose deliveries from Chase, hoisting them for sixes to highlight an otherwise quiet morning. With a 106-run win in Barbados levelling the series, the home side named an unchanged eleven in pursuit of a first Test series win for five years against a team ranked higher than themselves.

Apart from the recall of Masood, fast-medium bowler Hasan Ali is making his debut at the expense of leg-spinner Shadab Khan, who struggled in his first appearance in the second Test. Pakistan have never won a Test series in the Caribbean on seven previous tours and the significance of the fixture has been magnified by the fact that Pakistan captain Misbah ul Haq and senior batsman Younis Khan are playing their final international matches.

Misbah hopes occasion can give more motivation: Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq hopes his and Younus Khan's impending retirement from international cricket can spur the team in its pursuit of a maiden Test series win against West Indies in the Caribbean. Both batsmen will make their last international appearance in the third Test at Roseau, and with the series tied 1-1, Misbah aims to remain focused on the demands of his role as a senior batsman amid the emotions that come with the occasion.

Pakistan have drawn three of the previous seven Test series between the two countries in the West Indies, including their last two series in 2011 and 2005.

"That has given us [Younus and Misbah] additional motivation and I hope that is the case with the team also," he said. "Looking forward to it as a normal game and focusing on our jobs. As batsmen, contributions from Younus and me would be very important. Sometimes emotions can come into these sort of occasions but we will try our best to focus on our jobs."

Pakistan began the Test series well, beating the hosts by seven wickets in the first Test in Jamaica but a dramatic second-innings collapse in Barbados - Pakistan were bowled out for 81 in a chase of 188 - allowed West Indies to draw level. West Indies captain Jason Holder, stressed his side needed get over the Barbados win and play the perfect game of cricket, and highlighted that fielding remained an area West Indies needed to improve on quickly.

"What's happening in Barbados has gone already," Holder said. "It's important to put it behind us. We don't have to forget the good things we have done there but we have to improve on a few areas - fielding is one, especially taking our chances and once we forget the last match as quickly as possible and move on to this, it's better for us.

"We are in a situation where we have played some good cricket in the series so far. We haven't been perfect so we are striving to play a perfect cricket game. Once we can do that, or get to 99% of that, then we will be the better side in this game."

Looking back on the legacy he will leave behind as captain, Misbah stated that he had tried to show a young team the importance of being more disciplined and determined. Misbah took over as captain in the aftermath of the 2010 spot-fixing scandal and was proud of the manner in which the team had grown in the Test format. Under his leadership, the side briefly held the No.1 ranking in Tests last year, before poor results on the tours of New Zealand and Australia pushed them down the table.

"It was a tough time, a lot of players at the time were retiring also," Misbah said. "We had different issues with the match-fixing, etc, it was a pretty young team at the time and the way we emerged as an international team, especially in Test cricket, that was wonderful. No doubt, we are not performing like that in the last couple of series but still this team has potential. We know the way, we know the path and we have to follow that. As a senior, I have tried to show this young side the need to be more disciplined, determined and once you do that and work hard, you can achieve anything. That is what is really pleasing about this team, you are looking forward that this team can go along well."

 

Scoreboard

PAKISTAN 1ST INNINGS:

Azhar Ali not out               36

Shan Masood c Holder b Chase    9

Babar Azam not out         24

EXTRAS: (w1)      1

TOTAL: (1 wkt, 26 overs) 70

FOW: 1-19

BOWLING: S. Gabriel 7-3-8-0, A. Joseph 7-0-27-0, R. Chase 6-3-17-1, J. Holder 5-1-11-0, D. Bishoo 1-0-7-0.

TOSS: West Indies

UMPIRES: Richard Illingworth (ENG), Bruce Oxenford (AUS)

MATCH REFEREE: Chris Broad (ENG)