Pakistan skipper Babar Azam admitted that missed opportunities in the field cost his side dearly, after they went down to West Indies by just one wicket in the thrilling first Test in Jamaica. The 26-year-old, however, praised his bowlers for putting up a great fight while defending a low score.
Pakistan resumed Day 4 from their overnight score of 160/5, and were eventually restricted to 203 in their second innings. West Indies, chasing a victory target of 168 were soon reduced to 16/3 by Shaheen Afridi, before Jermaine Blackwood (55) staged a brief fightback.
Pakistan clawed back in the game once again, reducing the hosts to 114/7, still 54 adrift. Kemar Roach, however, scored a patient 52-ball 30 to win the game for his side. He was helped by two dropped catches on the way, including one by Hasan Ali at the deep square-leg boundary when West Indies needed 19.
Babar Azam looked back at the exciting day’s play, and admitted that the missed catches cost his side the game.
"That's the beauty of Test cricket," Babar said during his post-match conversation with the PCB. "The way this match panned out - you could see the momentum kept swaying from one side to the other. We tried to give it our 100%. Our boys put in the effort, our bowlers and fielders put in the effort. But in the final session the one or two chances that came our way in the form of catches - had we availed of those, the result of the match could have been different.
"When you drop catches in clutch phases, the course of the match changes. We got two chances but couldn't avail of them which is why we lost the match. That said, we did pull off a few good catches, so you took good catches but dropped a few, so you lost the match."
The visitors lacked in having substantial partnerships in both innings, losing untimely wickets at crucial junctures. Babar, who top-scored with 55 in Pakistan’s second outing, stated that his team failed to seize the advantage when it mattered.
"If I am to look back on how we performed throughout the match, the partnership Azhar bhai and I put up in the first innings - it was a good one and gave us the momentum but we relinquished it when we got out," he said.
“We then wrested it back and lost back-to-back wickets. In a Test match if you keep squandering momentum from advantageous positions, you struggle to put on a big score. That's something we need to review. A similar course of events took place in the second innings, although we weren't able to stitch together as big a partnership as in our first dig which resulted in a lower target than we had thought of."
The Pakistan skipper was satisfied with his bowlers’ performance while defending a low score, and expects them to carry the form into the next game.
"I'm quite happy with how they have been bowling," said the 26-year-old. "Their approach and effort, how they seem to be at the ready whenever their services are called upon, and also how they give their 100%. I am quite satisfied with how they bowled throughout the game and hope they'll do well in the next match and help us win it."