Misbah, Sarfraz fifties resurrect Pakistan’s otherwise plodding day

The second day of the third and final Test needed a conscious change of momentum for visitors Pakistan, who had clearly looked unimaginative on the opening day, scoring at a snail’s pace. However, the trends didn’t change as they scored only 58 runs in 30 overs during an extended morning session – to make up for the lost overs due to rain on the first day. By the end of the day’s play though, Pakistan had managed 376 on the board, a total that seemed unlikely at one point in time. West Indies came out to bat for a tricky period of 11 overs, and managed to stay unscathed.

The day started off rather positively with Younis Khan finding the fence in the first over of play itself but five maiden overs followed next to kill any thoughts of momentum whatsoever. Younis Khan was dismissed by a sharp indipper to be out for 18, without any certainty of batting again in his farewell Test. Misbah-ul-Haq walked out to an emotional guard of honour from the hosts and he was lucky to survive when a thick outside edge was put down by ‘keeper Shane Dowrich, who was late to move towards his right. The Pakistan skipper took as many as 21 deliveries to open his account while Azhar Ali patiently made his way up to his 14th Test ton.

Things changed quickly in the afternoon session when Misbah opted to switch gears, while taking on spinners Roston Chase and Devendra Bishoo. Having found regular boundaries, the skipper turned on the heat further when he slog swept Chase for a massive six over deep mid-wicket. But an untimely shot selection marked the dismissal of Misbah, who got out right at the brink of Tea after notching up his 39th Test fifty.

The momentum stayed on with West Indies, who came out attacking to remove Mohammed Amir and Yasir Shah off back to back balls, led by the skipper Jason Holder. Amir was castled by an accurate incoming ball bowled from wide of the crease, while Yasir was undone by a spectacular off-stumpish ball that took the outside edge to land safely in the lap of the slip fielder.

Unfazed by the wickets falling around him, Sarfraz Ahmed continued with his improvisations as he kept moving outside the leg stump to take on the spinners and free his arms. While he raised his 13th fifty off just 67 balls, it also enabled Pakistan go past the 350-run mark. The fancy ended when Sarfraz fell to his trickery, when he outside-edged an ambitious heave to be found at first slip, where Shai Hope took a splendid, sharp catch.

Mohammad Abbas had given Sarfraz fine company in a resilient partnership but he failed to hang in for long once his partner was gone. Just a couple of overs later, he was done in by Devendra Bishoo, who ripped it past his drive to catch him outside his crease and get him out stumped, with Pakistan being bowled out for 376. While Chase was taken for a few boundaries by both Misbah and Sarfraz, he ended up with four wickets while captain Holder finished with three.

In what was a brief and tricky session of play that the West Indian openers had to battle through, Kieran Powell and Kraigg Brathwaite combated Amir’s swing well. Yasir Shah was brought in to bowl, keeping in mind the rewards reaped by Chase and Bishoo, but he too was kept at bay in the two overs that he bowled. Eventually, West Indies ended the day’s play on 14 without any loss, trailing Pakistan by 362 runs.

Brief Scores: Pakistan 376 (Azhar Ali 127, Misbah-ul-Haq 59; Roston Chase 4-103, Jason Holder 3-71) lead West Indies 14/0 (Kieran Powell 9*, Kraigg Brathwaite 5*) by 362 runs.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s