Brathwaite leads West Indies’ recovery

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Pakistan v West Indies, 3rd Test, Sharjah, 2nd day

Tea West Indies 141 for 4 (Brathwaite 55*, Chase 43*, Babar 1-24) v Pakistan 281 (Aslam 74, Misbah 53, Bishoo 4-77, Gabriel 3-67)

After sliding to 38 for 3 by lunch, West Indies fought back to a respectable position as Kraigg Brathwaite’s 12th Test fifty steered the side through a second session in which they added 103 runs for the sole loss of Jermaine Blackwood. With Roston Chase, Brathwaite put on an unbroken 73 for the fifth wicket to leave West Indies 140 short of Pakistan’s 281 by tea.

Kraigg Brathwaite was a study in concentration during his 12th Test fifty(Photo: Getty Images)
Kraigg Brathwaite was a study in concentration during his 12th Test fifty (Photo: Getty Images)

After being bowled out within the first hour of play, Pakistan rebounded to pull ahead through early breakthroughs. Mohammad Amir troubled Leon Johnson in the first over by swinging the ball away from the left-hander, before Wahab Riaz dismissed him for 1 with a straight ball that trapped him in front.

Then, towards the end of the first session, Darren Bravo miscued a cross-batted swing off Zulfiqur Babar in the air towards cover, where Amir took a screamer of a catch. Soon after that, legspinner Yasir Shah trapped Marlon Samuels plumb in front and the batsman departed, but not before wasting a review. West Indies were sinking into a hole.

Blackwood briefly led West Indies’ fightback after lunch, hitting a run-a-ball 23. However, his attacking instincts, and his seeming refusal to rein them in, soon led to his downfall. Having driven Amir on the up for a boundary through cover, Blackwood tried to repeat the shot a few balls later. Only, this time, the delivery was slightly shorter and not quite there for the drive; Blackwood edged it to gully.

Thereafter, Brathwaite controlled proceedings with a composed knock that once again demonstrated his temperament for Test cricket. He patiently worked his way to 55 off 123 by the tea break. With him was Chase, who hit some lovely drives en route to 43 off 82. Chase had some anxious moments against Yasir, who lured him into some injudicious shots against the turn, but looked convincing for the most part.

Earlier, with Pakistan resuming on 255 for 8, West Indies began the day with the new ball, three overs after it had become available. They opened with Shannon Gabriel and Devendra Bishoo. While Gabriel bowled with decent control, Bishoo did not get much grip or turn from the surface and was taken off after two overs.

He was replaced by Alzarri Joseph, whom Amir greeted with consecutive boundaries. Joseph’s first ball was full and wide, and Amir played an extravagant drive through the covers for four. The next ball was short, but still provided width, and Amir slashed it in the air past gully for four. Later in the over, Yasir cut past point for four more. Runs were beginning to leak in a frustrating ninth-wicket stand.

But West Indies’ frustration did not last too much longer. Both Amir and Yasir played onto their stumps in Joseph’s next over to bring an end to Pakistan’s innings just 7.5 overs into the second day. (ESPNCricinfo)

Sirish Raghavan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo                                            

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