Sharjah Test: West Indies on brink of consolation victory
SHARJAH: Skipper Jason Holder took a maiden five-wicket haul and opener Kraigg Brathwaite stood firm in a tense chase to bring West Indies in sight of a consolation win in the third and final Test against Pakistan in Sharjah on Wednesday.
Holder set his team — without a win in their last 13 Tests — on the right path with a career-best 5-30 to dismantle Pakistan for 208, which gave the West Indies a target of 153 in 135 overs spread over four sessions.
When bad light forced closure nine overs early on the fourth and penultimate day, Brathwaite was unbeaten on 44 to anchor West Indies to 114-5, still needing 39 runs with five wickets intact.
Brathwaite, who carried his bat in the first innings with 142, has so far added 47 runs for the sixth wicket with Shane Dowrich (36 not out) to lift West Indies from a struggling 67-5.
Brathwaite, who survived a bat-pad catch review on 43, has hit four boundaries in another resolute 88-ball knock, frustrating Pakistan’s bowling for a second time in the match.
Dowrich has hit a six and three boundaries for the West Indies. Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur said “it could still go either way”.
He added: “We are two wickets away from being favourites and this can happen in two balls.
“We should have scored big in the first innings and a below par score of 281 left us play chasing games.”
From 23 without loss, West Indies slumped to 67-5 with leg-spinner Yasir Shah (3-30) dismissing Leon Johnson leg-before for 12, Darren Bravo caught behind for three and Marlon Samuels caught in the deep for 10 in the space of 13 balls.
Paceman Wahab Riaz then had Jermaine Blackwood bowled for four with a sharp incoming delivery and Roston Chase caught flicking by a jumping Mohammad Nawaz for two to bring Pakistan back in the game.
It could have been worse for the West Indies had Pakistan not dropped two catches in the first three overs.
With only a single scored, Johnson on nought edged Mohammad Amir’s fifth delivery of the innings to third slip, where Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq grassed a simple catch.
Johnson again survived a slip catch on three when Sami Aslam dropped another straightforward opportunity at first slip off a luckless Amir, hurting Pakistan’s chances of early wickets.
Earlier, Pakistan’s chances of building a good lead ended when they slumped from 159-5 at lunch to lose their last five wickets for just 49 runs.
Opener Azhar Ali fell nine short of his 12th century when he edged Bishoo in the slip after initially deciding to sweep the ball but later changing his mind.
He batted for 234 balls and hit six fours and a six, adding an invaluable 86 for the fifth wicket with Sarfraz Ahmed, who made 42.
Nawaz helped Ali add another 41 for the sixth wicket but fell to Bishoo, who finished with 18 wickets in the series — the most by a West Indian against Pakistan in a three-match series.
Holder then removed the tail, with wickets of Riaz (one) and Yasir Shah (nought) to improve on his previous best of 3-15 against England at Barbados in May last year.
Amir was foolishly run out after watching the long-on fielder Chase save a six and throwing at the bowler’s end with the batsman short of his crease.
Pakistan lead the three-match series 2-0 after winning the first Test in Dubai by 56 runs and second by 133 runs in Abu Dhabi.