Late wickets mar valiant WI effort

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, CMC – West Indies lost two wickets in the dying stages of the day to take the shine off an otherwise valiant effort and concede a clear advantage to Pakistan, in the second Test of the three-match series here yesterday.

Replying to Pakistan’s first innings of 452, the Caribbean side were coasting at 106 for two late on the second day when they dramatically lost key batsmen Marlon Samuels and Kraigg Brathwaite in the last two overs of play, to end on 106 for four.

Samuels had made a fluent 30 from 61 deliveries with six fours when he edged a loose drive at left-arm seamer Rahat Ali and was caught low down at first slip by Sami Aslam in the day’s penultimate over.

West Indies captain Jason Holder (left) celebrates the wicket of Sohail Khan during his three-wicket haul on the second day of the second Test against Pakistan. (Photo courtesy WICB Media)
West Indies captain Jason Holder (left) celebrates the wicket of Sohail Khan during his three-wicket haul on the second day of the second Test against Pakistan. (Photo courtesy WICB Media)

And in the very last over Kraigg Brathwaite was run out for 21, sent back by nightwatchman Devendra Bishoo on a call for a quick single and failing to beat captain Misbah-ul-Haq’s throw from cover to the wicketkeeper.

The two dismissals put a damper on the outing especially after left-hander Darren Bravo had stroked an attractive 43 to help put West Indies on course for a strong reply.

Earlier, fast bowler Shannon Gabriel claimed his maiden five-wicket haul in Tests as Pakistan, resuming from 304 for four, added a further 148 runs before being bowled out an hour before tea.

Misbah fell agonizingly short of his 11th Test hundred when he was dismissed for 96 while wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed extended his decent form with 56.

West Indies were frustrated as Sohail Khan (26), Mohammad Nawaz (25) and Yasir Shah (23) all chipped in to see Pakistan past the 450-run mark.

Gabriel picked up three of the wickets to finish with a career-best five for 96 while captain and seamer Jason Holder claimed three for 47.

Starting the day on 90, Misbah added just six runs before he was lbw to Gabriel in the morning’s sixth over and nightwatchman Yasir followed three overs later when he was caught at square leg by Bishoo, pulling at Holder.

Sarfraz then anchored a 70-run, seventh-wicket partnership with Nawaz which saw Pakistan past 400 and took them to lunch without further loss at 401 for six.

Fast bowler Shannon Gabriel celebrates his maiden five-wicket haul in Tests on the second day of the second Test in Abu Dhabi. (Photo courtesy WICB Media)

Unbeaten on 45 then, the right-handed Sarfraz brought up his eighth Test half-century off a mere 55 deliveries in the second over after the break when he stroked Gabriel to the long on boundary.

He followed up in the same over by steering one behind square for another boundary before going yorked off the fifth delivery after facing 59 balls and striking six fours.

Gabriel and Holder then combined to send the last three wickets tumbling for 22 runs.

With Brathwaite ruled ineligible to opening the batting, having spent too long off the field towards the end of the Pakistan innings, Bravo stepped up to partner Leon Johnson and helped give West Indies a solid start.

He faced 85 balls and counted six fours as he put on 27 for the first wicket with the left-handed Johnson who made 12 before going lbw to a full length delivery from Rahat, in the third over after tea without any runs added to the score.

Bravo then added a further 38 with Brathwaite to see West Indies safely through the next hour.

Coming off a century in the first Test in Dubai last week, Bravo once again looked in touch, stroking Rahat to the point boundary and following up with a delightful backfoot drive to the extra cover ropes off seamer Sohail Khan, to reach the tea interval on 15.

Afterward, he picked up where he left off, stylishly punching Rahat to the cover boundary to move into the 20s and pulling the first ball of a new spell from Sohail through

mid-wicket for four.

He was looking at ease when he missed a pull at one from leg-spinner Yasir Shah in the second over after the final drinks break, and was adjudged lbw on review after initially gaining favour from the on-field umpire.

With West Indies still on 65 for two, Samuels was given out lbw to Yasir off the very next delivery but was reprieved on review, and proceeded to post 41 for the third wicket with Brathwaite.

Bogged down in the initial stages, the veteran Samuels burst to life with three fours in Yasir’s seventh over which leaked 12 runs. He cut the first delivery to the point boundary, struck the third straight down the ground before belting the next delivery to the ropes at cover.

Both batsmen appeared set to take Windies strongly to the close when they both perished, leaving an uphill task yesterday’s pivotal third day.

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