Pakistan v West Indies, 3rd Test, Sharjah, 3rd day
Kraigg Brathwaite’s unbeaten 142 off 318 steered West Indies to a hard-earned first-innings lead of 56, before Jason Holder made three breakthroughs in a lively spell as West Indies had their tails up after tea on day three. Pakistan lost four wickets before erasing the deficit, but Azhar Ali and Sarfraz Ahmed stabilised the innings with an unbroken 39-run fifth-wicket partnership that warded off further losses and took Pakistan to 87 for 4 by stumps.
After a 60-run eighth wicket partnership between Brathwaite and Devendra Bishoo propelled West Indies to 337, Holder made quick inroads into Pakistan’s top order with a short-ball barrage after tea. He bowled a pacy bouncer to Sami Aslam that the batsmen could only top-edge to fine leg. Another well-directed bouncer got big on Asad Shafiq and had him fending straight to Darren Bravo at gully. Then Younis Khan got a faint tickle on a leg-side delivery to give Holder his third. When Misbah-ul-Haq pulled Roston Chase straight to Bishoo at deep-backward square, Pakistan had lost four wickets for 11 runs to slip to 48 for 4.
It could have been even better for West Indies. With Pakistan’s score at 71, Shannon Gabriel bowled a nasty, steep bouncer at Sarfraz, batting on 9, who fended it to Bravo at slip. But Gabriel had overstepped – for the 26th time in the series – and Sarfraz survived. He moved on to 19 by stumps, while Azhar had compiled 45. But with Pakistan’s lead still only 31 at the close of play, they were a long way from safety and heavily dependent on Azhar and Sarfraz to get them there. (ESPNCricinfo)
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Sirish Raghavan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo