BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – A rampant West Indies flattened Pakistan for a record-equaling low at Kensington Oval, as they romped to an emphatic 106-run victory in the second Test here Thursday, to level the three-match series and set up a decider in Dominica next week.
Set 188 for victory on the final day of the pivotal contest, Pakistan folded meekly for a paltry 81, about 38 minutes before the scheduled tea interval, to slump to their fourth loss in seven games at the historic venue and maintain their unenviable record of having never won a Test at the ground.
The total equaled the previous lowest posted by India 20 years ago here and was also Pakistan’s second lowest-ever against West Indies, surpassing their record low of 77 in Lahore, 31 years ago.
For West Indies, the victory came just 11 days after they lost the opening Test in Jamaica by seven wickets and marked only their third Test win in 17 outings over the last two years.
“It was obviously a very good game for us. It was a collective team effort,” captain Jason Holder said afterwards.
West Indies were fired by speedster Shannon Gabriel who turned in a Man-of-the-Match effort with five for 11 from 11 overs, to claim his second five-wicket haul in Tests and end with match figures of nine for 92.
Holder claimed three for 23 while 20-year-old pacer Alzarri Joseph supported with two for 42.
Resuming the morning on 264 for nine, West Indies added only four runs before the innings ended, when Devendra Bishoo holed out to Azhar Ali at mid-off for 20, off the fifth ball of the day from leg-spinner Yasir Shah who ended with seven for 94.
Gabriel then produced a lethal three-wicket burst to wipe out Pakistan’s top order and reduce the innings to rubble at 35 for five at lunch.
He prised out Azhar in the seventh over of the innings for 10, pulling a short ball to Shimron Hetmyer at short mid-wicket with as many runs on the board and four balls later in the next over, Babar Azam completed a pair in the match when he touched a leg-side catch to wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich off Joseph.
West Indies struck a major blow when they got the prized wicket of veteran Younis Khan for five, lbw to Holder at 27 for three but it was in the fifth over before the break that Gabriel turned the game on its head.
With the second delivery, he removed skipper Misbah-ul-Haq without scoring to a catch at gully by Shai Hope after that batsman edged one into his pads, and was given out via DRS after the initial appeal went unheeded.
Two balls later, new batsman Asad Shafiq also fell without scoring, nicking Gabriel to first slip where Kieran Powell held a juggling catch.
Needing a virtual miracle after lunch to survive, Pakistan found themselves in deeper trouble when they lost two further wickets in the first 16 balls on resumption.
Opener Ahmed Shehzad, unbeaten on 14 at the interval after being dropped on six by Powell at slip off Joseph in the 10th over, failed to add when he was lbw on the back foot in the second over after the break to one from Joseph which kept low.
Shadab Khan then followed in the next over for one, caught at the wicket off Holder, leaving Pakistan flailing on 36 for seven and in danger of their lowest Test score of 49.
Wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed, who top-scored with 23, briefly raised hopes of a Pakistan comeback, staging the best partnership of the innings by adding 42 for the eighth wicket with tail-ender Mohammad Amir who made 20.
Sarfraz, unbeaten on five at lunch, spent just 50 balls and just over 1-1/2 hours at the crease and struck two fours while Mohammad Amir was his usual self, stroking four boundaries in a 34-ball knock.
However, once Amir’s enterprise got the better of him and he slashed Gabriel to Vishal Singh at backward point on the stroke of the first hour, the innings quickly declined as the last two wickets tumbled for just three runs in the space of 18 balls.
Yasir was bowled neck and crop by Gabriel without scoring and Sarfraz was last to fall, holing to Chase at long-on off Holder.
The decisive third Test begins next Wednesday at Windsor Park.