Sharjah Test: West Indies in driving seat
SHARJAH: Jason Holder carried on the good work of Kraigg Brathwaite as West Indies sensed a rare victory in a Test against a formidable opponent for over a year.
After three days of domination West Indies will need some more aggression to dismiss Pakistan in their second innings and then wipe off the target for the consolation win after losing the first two Tests.
At close Pakistan were struggling for survival as they lost four top order batsmen for 87, leading by 31 runs with two full days to play.
Opener Azhar Ali held the innings with 45 and with him Sarfraz Ahmed on 19 as all four batsmen fell to injudicious shots. It could have been five down for Pakistan had Shannon Gabriel not overstepping after getting Ahmed caught in the slip for nine.
Opener Sami Aslam started the downfall when he hooked Holder high in the deep, then Asad Shafiq fended a short ball to slip for a pair in the match, Younis Khan edging the ball from leg side and did not taking review. That gave Holder 3-10, all three in successive overs in the space of 17 balls and 11 runs.
Misbah-ul-Haq of all the people played a rash shot to throw his wicket to innocuous off-spinner Roston Chase for four, leaving Pakistan to 48-4, with still eight runs to wipe off West Indies lead of 56.
It was Kraigg Brathwaite who set the tone for West Indies’s domination as he carried his bat through the innings with a resolute 142 not out. His knock carried West Indies to 337 which gave them a lead for the first time in the series.
He became the fifth West Indian batsmen to carry his bat through the innings with Desmond Haynes doing the feat thrice. Sir Frank Worrell, Conrad Hune and Chris Gayle have also achieved the feat for West Indies.
Brathwaite frustrated the Pakistan bowling as well as captain Misbah-ul-Haq who were left to search ways as to how to get rid of the West Indian opener. They didn’t find one till the end.
Brathwaite added 60 for the eighth wicket with Devendra Bishoo which gave West Indies an important 56-run lead. This was after 13th time that West Indies had conceded a first-inns lead (when they batted second.
It was left to Wahab Riaz to use his fiery pace to settled the case, taking the last three wickest to finish with 5-88 — his second five wicket haul in Tests. It took him 19 Tests to achieve the feat after his first came in his debut Test against England in 2010.
AFP Adds: Pakistan needed a big effort after conceding a 56-run lead but from 37-0 they lost four wickets in the space of 11 runs with Holder firing on all cylinders and their batsmen playing rash shots.
Holder forced Sami Aslam (17) to hook straight into the hands of deep fine-leg, then in his next over had Asad Shafiq caught in slip fending a short ball for nought, his second in the match.
An over later Holder had Younis Khan caught behind for zero and from the other end Misbah-ul-Haq holed out off spinner Roston Chase for four.
West Indian paceman Shannon Gabriel had Ahmed caught in the slip for nine only to see the umpire calling a no-ball, allowing the stand to reach 39 by close.
If West Indies pull off a win it will be their first in 13 Tests since beating England at home in May last year while Pakistan will spoil a good chance of a 3-0 whitewash after winning the first two Tests in Dubai (56 runs) and Abu Dhabi (133 runs).
The highlight of the morning session was Brathwaite’s knock. He held the innings with 11 boundaries and for the first time in the series lifted West Indies into a rare lead.
Brathwaite added an invaluable 60 runs for the eighth wicket with Devendra Bishoo who made a solid 27 to leave Pakistan spin-cum pace attack frustrated.
In the end it was left to the lively pace of Wahab Riaz to take the final three wickets for his second five-wicket haul in Tests, finishing with 5-88 in 26.4 overs of hard work.
Riaz, whose first five-wicket haul came in his debut Test against England at The Oval in 2010, had Bishoo caught behind before dismissing Alzarri Joseph (six) and Shannon Gabriel (nought) to warp up the innings.
Pace partner Mohammad Amir took 3-71 while the spinners Yasir Shah and Zulfiqar Babar took a wicket apiece.
It was Brathwaite who defied the bowling, emulating illustrious West Indians Frank Worrell, Conrad Hunte, Desmond Haynes (thrice) and Chris Gayle in remaining not out throughout a Test innings.
Brathwaite had a lucky escape when wicketkeeper Ahmed failed to hold a sharp, rising edge off spinner Mohammad Nawaz when he was on 121.
In the same over, Bishoo was given out off a sweep shot but he successfully reviewed English umpire Michael Gough’s decision as the ball had hit fielder Ali’s helmet before he took the catch. Resuming at 244-6, the West Indies were looking for a good lead.
Brathwaite hit Amir for his 11th boundary off the day’s first ball, and then on-drove him towards mid-wicket for two to reach his hundred off 211 balls.
Pakistan took the second new ball with the total on 251 and Amir struck instantly, clean-bowling Holder with a sharp incoming delivery for 16.
Pakistan first innings 281 (Sami Aslam 74, Misbah-ul-Haq 53, Younis Khan 51, Sarfraz Ahmed 51; D. Bishoo 4-77)
West Indies first innings (overnight 244-6)
K. Brathwaite not out 142
L. Johnson lbw b Riaz 1
D. Bravo c Amir b Babar 11
M. Samuels lbw b Shah 0
J. Blackwood c Shafiq b Amir 23
R. Chase c Younis b Amir 50
S. Dowrich b Riaz 47
J. Holder b Amir 16
D. Bishoo c Ahmed b Riaz 27
A. Joseph c Shah b Riaz 6
S. Gabriel c Ahmed b Riaz 0
Extras: (lb6, nb8) 14
Total: (all out; 115.4 overs) 337
Fall of wickets: 1-6 (Johnson), 2-32 (Bravo), 3-38 (Samuels), 4-68 (Blackwood), 5-151 (Chase), 6-234 (Dowrich), 7-263 (Holder), 8-323 (Bishoo), 9-333 (Joseph)
Bowling: Amir 25-5-71-3 (5nb), Riaz 26.4-1-88-5 (3nb), Shah 26-2-80-1, Babar 21-3-56-1, Nawaz 11-2-20-0, Ali 6-0-16-0
Pakistan 2nd innings
Sami Aslam c Joseph b Holder 17
Azhar Ali not out 45
Asad Shafiq c Bravo b Holder 0
Younis Khan c Dowrich b Holder 0
Misbah-ul-Haq c Bishoo b Chase 4
Sarfraz Ahmed not out 19
Extras: (nb2) 2
Total: (for four wkts; 39 overs) 87
To bat: Mohammad Nawaz, Yasir Shah, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Zulfiqar Babar
Fall of wickets: 1-37 (Aslam), 2-41 (Shafiq), 3-41 (Younis), 4-48 (Misbah)
Bowling: Gabriel 8-1-14-0 (2nb), Joseph 6-1-16-0, Holder 9-4-10-3, Brathwaite 1-0-5-0, Chase 13-1-39-1, Bishoo 2-0-3-0