ABU DHABI: Pakistan were in the driving seat after day three of the second Test, and with the Sheikh Zayed Stadium pitch giving signs of wear and tear they are in a commanding position to not only win this match but also the series.
Pakistan were 114-1 at close with Azhar Ali (52), Sami Aslam out for 50 and Asad Shafiq on five and with a lead of 342 and two days to play it leaves the West Indies with an uphill task to save this match.
Both Azhar and Sami survived leg-before decisions with part-timer Kraig Brahwaite off umpire Michael Gough. This has been an embarrassing match for the two England umpires. Seven decisions overturned in the match so far — four off Michael Gough and three from Richard Illingworth.
Although DRS is good for the players it has made lives of umpires miserable. Gough was seen giving a sheepish smile after Sami took a review and television replays showed he had played the ball.
It was Yasir Shah who once again took full advantage of West Indies batsmen’s frailties against spin, taking 4-96 to bundle West Indies out for 224.
Pakistan had gained a lead of 228 but Misbah did not enfore the follow-on, fifth time in 48 Tests as captain that he did not enfocre it and made the team bat again.
In fact the culture of enforcing follow-on is fast changing in modern day cricket. We have to back to 2002 to remember when Pakistan enforced follow-on. It was current chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq who was the last Pakistan captain to enforce it against New Zealand at Lahore in 2002.
It seemed West Indies had little interest of scoring runs as only 118 runs were added in the two sessions. Devendra Bishoo made 20, Roston Chase 22, and Jason Holder 31 not out.
West Indies have been abysmal in Tests as they have been conceding average first inngs lead of 257 in the last six Tests. When they have batted second in their last 6 Tests the deficits have been 228, 222, 128, 323, 280 and 360.
It is tough for the West Indies to save a Test match with such a huge lead and the suggestion that they should only play ODIs and Twenty20s seems to be rather justified.
Pakistan first innings 452 (Younis Khan 127, Misbah-ul-Haq 96; S. Gabriel 5-96)
West Indies first innings (overnight 106-4)
L. Johnson lbw b Rahat 12
D. Bravo lbw b Shah 43
K. Brathwaite run out 21
M. Samuels c Aslam b Rahat 30
D. Bishoo b Sohail 20
J. Blackwood c Ahmed b Rahat 8
R. Chase c Shafiq b Shah 22
S. Hope b Shah 11
J. Holder not out 31
M. Cummins b Sohail 3
S. Gabriel c Sohail b Shah 13
Extras: (b2, lb7, nb1) 10
Total: (all out; 94.4 overs) 224
Fall of wickets: 1-27 (Johnson), 2-65 (Bravo), 3-106 (Samuels), 4-106 (Brathwaite), 5-121 (Blackwood), 6-144 (Bishoo), 7-169 (Chase), 8-178 (Hope), 9-197 (Cummins)
Bowling: Rahat 21-8-45-3, Sohail 19-8-35-2, Babar 21-6-39-0, Shafiq 1-0-2-0, Shah 28.4-6-86-4, Nawaz 4-1-8-0 (1nb)
Pakistan second innings
Sami Aslam c Hope b Gabriel 50
Azhar Ali not out 52
Asad Shafiq not out 5
Extras: (b4, lb1, nb2) 7
Total: (for one wkt; 39 overs) 114
To bat: Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Yasir Shah, Sohail Khan, Zulfiqar Babar, Rahat Ali
Fall of wicket: 1-93 (Aslam)
Bowling: Gabriel 8-1-21-1 (2nb), Cummins 3-0-5-0, Brathwaite 13-2-27-0, Bishoo 12-0-45-0, Holder 3-0-11-0