Windies up against it after batting fails

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates,  CMC – West Indies were plunged into survival mode with two days of the second Test remaining, after their suspect batting failed on the third day here yesterday, allowing Pakistan take a vice grip on the contest at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

Needing a huge first innings effort after resuming on 106 for four in reply to Pakistan’s 452, West Indies were dismissed for an average 224, 20 minutes before the scheduled tea break to concede a deficit of 228 runs.

Pakistan then dug in to reach the close on 114 for one, already 342 runs ahead, leaving West Indies with the distinct prospect of their second straight Test defeat and yet another series loss.

Captain Jason Holder drives attractively during his unbeaten knock of 31 yesterday. (Photo courtesy of WICB media)
Captain Jason Holder drives attractively during his unbeaten knock of 31 yesterday. (Photo courtesy of WICB media)

First Test triple century-maker Azhar Ali was unbeaten on 52 while his opening partner Sami Aslam made 50, before falling 25 minutes before the close.

The pair put on 93, a partnership which further demoralized West Indies, before the outstanding Shannon Gabriel broke the stand when he had the 20-year-old Aslam caught at the wicket by Shai Hope.

He was initially adjudged not out but the decision was overturned on review. The left-hander faced 111 balls and stroked five fours.

scoreboard3Azhar, meanwhile, who has so far hit two fours in an innings requiring 102 deliveries, enjoyed a slice of luck when he was given lbw to part-time off-spinner Kraigg Brathwaite on ten, after missing a sweep.

However, a subsequent review showed the ball had struck the glove first and the decision was over-turned.

The damage had been done earlier when West Indies failed to produce anything of worth with the bat, losing their last six wickets for the addition of 118 runs.

Captain Jason Holder hammered an unbeaten 31, Roston Chase got 22 and nightwatchman Devendra Bishoo, 20, but the big innings required never materialized.

Leg-spinner Yasir Shah picked up another three wickets to end with best figures of four for 86 while left-arm seamer Rahat Ali claimed three for 45 and pacer Sohail Khan, two for 35.

Pakistan needed just seven overs to get their first breakthrough when Jermaine Blackwood, yet to score overnight, perished for just eight after facing 20 deliveries – edging a fullish ball from Rahat behind to wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed at 121 for five.

Chase and Bishoo then put on 23 for the sixth wicket to help West Indies navigate their way safely to the drinks break.

The left-handed Bishoo had faced 66 balls and struck one four when he fell five overs following the drinks break, playing down the wrong line to Sohail Khan and losing his off-stump at 144 for six.

Unbeaten on 11 at lunch with West Indies on 151 for six, Chase added only 11 runs before departing in the eighth over following the resumption when he edged a drive at a wide leg-break from Yasir and was taken by Asad Shafiq at second slip.

He faced 80 balls and hit three fours.

With West Indies sliding at 169 for seven, West Indies were in need of a hero but none came to their rescue. Shai Hope, a late inclusion for injured wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich, spent 60 balls over 11 but missed a pull at Yasir and was bowled off-stump.

And the Caribbean side were in danger of being dismissed under 200 when Miguel Cummins was also bowled off-stump by Sohail for three, as he too mis-judged the line.

Holder, who was fluent in stroking four fours off 36 balls, then found an ally in Gabriel, who made 13, and they ensured the tail wagged by adding 27 for the last wicket.

Gabriel overcame a blow to the helmet from Sohail when he had scored one to lash two boundaries down the ground while Holder also capitalized on scoring opportunities with two back-to-back fours off Yasir.

However, Gabriel’s cameo came to end when he holed out to long-on in Yasir’s next over, to leave West Indies with a mountain to climb.

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