Brathwaite leads West Indies to near lead in Sharjah Test
SHARJAH: West Indian opener Kraigg Brathwaite will sleep without any butterflies in stomach as he admitted a good lead for his team will be more important than his personal milestone.
The 23-year-old has four hundreds in Tests before this match so he knows how to complete a three-figure and his knock of 95 which took West Indies to 244-6, within 37 runs of Pakistan’s first innings total of 281 at close on day two.
Pakistan will need four quick wickets tomorrow and if they don’t take them early West Indies for the first time in the series will be in the lead.
Brathwaite was ably assisted by Roston Chase (50) and Shane Dowrich (47) as both helped him add 83 each for the fifth and sixth wicket.
Pakistan were guilty of dropping Dowrich on 21 and before that drop catch he was caught off Wahab Riaz’s no ball. That spurned bowlers’ hard work after West Indies were struggling qt 38-3 and then 68-4.
Pakistan had got both senior West Indian batsmen Darren Bravo (11) and Marlon Samuels for nought before lunch but the last two sessions brought them only three wickets.
Samuels now have ten ducks in Tests and since 2011 – his si only the second-most by any top-order batsman (No. 1 to 7). Only Ross Taylor (12) has more ducks than him.
Earlier, Pakistan added just 26 runs to their overnight total of 255 and were bowled out for 281, their lowest total against the West Indies in first innings of a Test in the last ten years.
Misbah-ul-Haq will have to marshall his troops well on day three or else the Test as well as the clean sweep will slip away from them.
The Sharjah stadium pitch is still good for batting, a fact proved by Brathwaite as Pakistan spinners — Yasir Shah and Zulfiqar Babar struggled to find good spin out of it.
West Indies were struggling when they lost the key wicket of Darren Bravo for 11 before lunch.
Bravo miscued a drive off a flighted ball from spinner Zulfiqar Babar and was smartly snapped up by a diving Amir at extra cover, his first catch in 20 Tests.
Amir had no catch in his first 19 Tests — most matches without a catch for a player from the start of his career.
West Indies got off to a disastrous start, with opener Leon Johnson trapped leg-before by Riaz in the fourth over for just one.
Bravo, who made a fighting hundred in the first Test, was left frustrated by short-pitched deliveries from Riaz and Amir before getting out.
Marlon Samuels also did not last long, trapped leg-before by leg-spinner Yasir Shah without scoring to leave West Indies struggling on 38-3.
Earlier, leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo finished with figures of 4-77 while fast bowlers Shannon Gabriel took 3-67 and Alzarri Joseph 2-57 to dismiss Pakistan for 281.
Pakistan added 26 to their overnight score before losing Amir for 20 and Shah for 12, both to Joseph. The pair added 32 for the ninth wicket.