West Indies v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Bridgetown, 3rd day
Lunch Pakistan 226 for 3 (Azhar 94*, Misbah 40*) trail West Indies 312 by 86 runs
It was billed as the most crucial session of the Test yet. What a pity, then, that importance doesn’t always translate into exciting viewing. If people thought the go-slow nature of Misbah-ul-Haq and Azhar Ali’s partnership was just a recognition of needing to go into stumps on the second day without losing any more wickets, they could think again. This was their modus operandi, and the pair continued to grind the opposition in a dawdle to West Indies’ first-innings total of 312 that – with 54 runs being scored all session – might take nearly the entire day to match.
On a day when conditions underfoot were under just as much focus as those overhead, Misbah and Azhar resumed Pakistan’s circumspect approach to the innings, prioritising wickets in hand to runs scored. Shannon Gabriel and Alzarri Joseph began proceedings with the new ball due in 11 overs, but lacked the incisiveness to slice through Pakistan’s batting line-up in the way Pakistan had done to them yesterday morning. The likeliest route to a breakthrough was at the hands of a pitch that hadn’t been on its best behaviour all Test, and was by now positively spoilt rotten. There were enough cracks spread across the pitch for the batsmen to no longer be able to trust the bounce, but in the absence of real penetrative quality from the bowlers, Misbah and Azhar trudged along relatively comfortably in their unhurried way.
The new ball, taken at 81 overs, yielded slightly more excitement for the bowlers, Gabriel getting the occasional delivery to move and drawing Misbah into the odd play-and-miss. But in a session that ended up testing everyone, not least those watching it, there’s still a wait before one can determine who really came out on top. (ESPNCricinfo)
Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo.