Holder, Gabriel lift West Indies

Misbah-ul-Haq’s gritty innings of 99 propelled Pakistan into the lead as the visitors ended the second session of the third Test against West Indies in Barbados at 329 for 7, in front by 17 runs. At the stroke of Tea, Holder dislodged the Pakistan captain just one short of a well deserved hundred and followed it up bagging Asad Shafiq’s (15) scalp, while Shannon Gabriel took Sarfraz Ahmed’s wicket (9) to keep West Indies in the game.

After the break, Misbah bristled with intent as he lofted Roston Chase for a six in the 99th over. Azhar Ali (105), his partner at the other end, then compiled his 13th Test century with a cut shot off Devendra Bishoo. The opener has been in splendid form in the recent past, evidenced by the triple hundred he accumulated against West Indies when they toured the UAE and the double hundred he aggregated against Australia at the MCG last year.

The gutsy opener looked set to accrue another big score. However, he was soon dismissed by the legspinner Bishoo, with Shane Dowrich grabbing the catch. The leg-break bowled from round the wicket turned appreciably.

Despite losing his partner at the other end, Misbah continued to unfurl a volley of shots against West Indies’ spinners. He reverse swept Chase for a boundary in the 105th over and lofted Bishoo for a four and a six in the 107th over.

Holder then injected life into the match with a delivery that climbed awkwardly to take shoulder of Misbah’s bat, with Shai Hope snapping up the catch at gully. The jubilant Holder pumped his fists in delight after picking up the scalp. Misbah has been dislodged for 99 three times in his Test career.

Gabriel followed it up by inducing Sarfraz to nick one to the slip cordon. On the brink of Tea, Holder trapped Shafiq to lift the spirits of the home side. Shafiq took the review but the ball-tracker suggested it would clip the leg-stump and the on-field decision was upheld.

At the start of the day, the resolute duo of Azhar and Misbah just blocked, blocked and blocked some more to stonewall the young West Indies’ pace attack. The prosaic methods of Azhar and Misbah spoke volumes of the duo’s patience and discipline. It was only in the 90th over of the innings when Misbah decided to take a few risks as he cracked the square cut off Gabriel. Misbah decided to chance his arm once again as he checked in another cut stroke off Gabriel to collect his second boundary in three overs.

Holder and Gabriel have given West Indies renewed hope of making a comeback into the match. The hosts will look to restrict Pakistan’s lead by wrapping up the innings as quickly as possible.

Brief scores: West Indies 312 (Roston Chase 131, Jason Holder 58; Mohammad Abbas 4-56, Mohammad Amir 3-65) trail Pakistan 329/7 (Azhar Ali 105, Misbah-ul-Haq 99; Devendra Bishoo 3-103) by 17 runs.

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