Bravo and Chase keep West Indies’ hopes alive

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Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Nawaz helped Pakistan make a couple of early inroads into West Indies’ batting line-up on day five, before Darren Bravo and Roston Chase combined for an unbroken 38-run partnership that warded off further breakthroughs before tea. In an attritional first session, West Indies added only 59 runs to move to 154 for 4, but, with Bravo still at the crease, their hopes of hauling down an imposing target of 346 were still alive.

If Pakistan had been shaken by their collapse and West Indies’ fightback on the previous day, Amir’s first-ball wicket was just the tonic they needed. It was a rather unremarkable delivery, bowled from around the wicket, pitching on a good length well outside off and angling in. Marlon Samuels was drawn into poking at a ball he could easily have left alone and a thin edge was gleefully accepted by Sarfraz Ahmed behind the stumps.

Jermaine Blackwood, coming in at No. 5, shared Samuels’ tendency to fish at balls outside off, the bat well away from the body. Amir persisted with that line from around the wicket and repeatedly beat Blackwood’s outside edge. Noticing the batsman’s predilection for the drive, he also slipped in a full-length slower ball on the stumps. Blackwood took the bait, chipping a checked drive over the bowler’s head.

Darren Bravo went into tea on an unbeaten 134-ball 46 (Photo Getty Images)
Darren Bravo went into tea on an unbeaten 134-ball 46 (Photo Getty Images)

Blackwood also looked rather uncomfortable against spin, not always certain whether to play forward or back. That turned out to be his undoing, when he played a length ball from Nawaz from deep in his crease and was wrapped on the pads in front of leg stump. The on-field decision was not out as the ball appeared to be going over the top, and perhaps down leg too. But Pakistan reviewed and Hawk-Eye indicated that it would have hit enough of the top of leg to end Blackwood’s scratchy knock.

Bravo carried on in the doughty style that had kept Pakistan at bay for long periods in the match. He received capable support from Chase. Wahab Riaz and Sohail Khan tested the batsmen with occasional bouncers and yorkers, but did not manage to create any anxious moments. With Bravo looking very solid at the crease, West Indies could continue to dream of a remarkable come-from-behind victory. (ESPNcricinfo) 

Sirish Raghavan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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