Getting their noses in front: Pakistan tighten up noose on West Indies

Caribbean outfit lose two late wickets to hand hosts initiative on second day.

Afp/our Correspondent October 23, 2016
West Indies had defied Pakistan’s bowlers well until the 44th over with the score 106-2, but then lost Samuels (30) and Brathwaite (21) in the space of three balls without adding any further runs. PHOTO: AFP

ABU DHABI: West Indies lost two late wickets to hand the initiative to Pakistan on the second day of the second Test in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

West Indies had defied Pakistan’s bowlers well until the 44th over with the score 106-2, but they then lost Marlon Samuels (30) and Kraigg Brathwaite (21) in the space of three balls without adding any further runs.

Day two: Pakistan all out for 452 against West Indies

Nightwatchman Devendra Bishoo and Jermaine Blackwood were yet to score as West Indies trail Pakistan’s first innings total of 452 by 346 runs with six wickets intact.

Darren Bravo, who made 87 and 116 in the first Test in Dubai, made an attractive 43 but his dismissal left Pakistan in a dominant position.

A late collapse hit the West Indies hard as Samuels edged fast bowler Rahat Ali to slip before Brathwaite was run out by Misbahul Haq’s throw after setting off for a quick single.

Bravo, who opened the innings after Brathwaite was off the field when Pakistan were batting and could not come in at the start, helped the tourists reach 27 without loss at the tea interval.

But in the third over after tea Rahat gave Pakistan the breakthrough when he trapped Leon Johnson leg-before for 12.

Bravo and Brathwaite took the score to 65 before drama unfolded involving English umpire Michael Gough as two of his decisions were overturned on referral.

Pink ball

Earlier, Pakistan skipper Misbah missed out on his 11th Test century by just four runs, but Sarfraz Ahmed (56) and Mohammad Nawaz (25) added 70 for the seventh wicket to ensure Pakistan crossed the 450-mark.

Shannon Gabriel, who took a career best 5-96, had dismissed Misbah in the first session before bowling Ahmed soon after lunch.

‘Few quick wickets in opening session decisive’

Former Test cricketer Shoaib Mohammad believes that despite a solid start by the West Indies, a few quick wickets could turn the game on its head.“Pakistan have the upper hand in the Test,” the former opener told The Express Tribune. “It’s just a matter of a few quick wickets in the opening session [today] and the match will be theirs.”

He further added that the West Indies’ inclination to play big shots will favour the hosts. “The players in the current West Indies side are not inclined to play big innings. Instead, they love to play good shots and that may favour Pakistan.”

Shoaib, meanwhile, felt that Pakistan could have added 50-70 runs more to the 452-run total they posted and hailed Gabriel for his impeccable spell on the second day.

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“The total of 452 is reasonable but Pakistan could have scored more runs. The West Indies bowlers also deserve credit for the way they fought back, especially Gabriel for his five-wicket haul. It’s tough for fast-bowlers to take wickets in the UAE.”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 23rd, 2016.

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