Hostile Gabriel leaves Pakistan in disarray


West Indies v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Bridgetown, 5th day

This Test had to show its hand sometime, after four days of being as finely balanced. With Pakistan’s famously suspect batting order chasing 188 at a ground where many teams have famously fallen short, they looked set to be added to that unwanted list as a hostile Shannon Gabriel left them reeling at 35 for 5.

Azhar Ali (L) of Pakistan is dismiss as Shannon Gabriel (2R) of West Indies celebrate during the 5th and final day of the 2nd Test match between West Indies and Pakistan at Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados, May 04, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Randy BROOKS (Photo credit should read RANDY BROOKS/AFP/Getty Images)

It took Pakistan just five balls to remove the last wicket; Devendra Bishoo was caught at mid-off as Yasir Shah finished with 7 for 94, the second-best figures for Pakistan against West Indies. But no one who had watched any of this Test so far would have thought the target was a stroll, a view reinforced when Gabriel and Alzarri Joseph bogged down the openers in the first six overs.

Azhar Ali then attempted to pull a short delivery from Gabriel over midwicket, unwisely trusting the bounce. He mistimed the shot horribly, sending it straight down midwicket’s throat. Babar Azam fell off just his second ball for his first pair in Tests, swishing at a ball wide down legside from Joseph, getting a faint tickle on it which carried to the keeper.

More misery was to follow, with the treacherous nature of the pitch consuming Younis Khan. Jason Holder banged one in slightly short of a good length, well outside off stump. As Younis shaped up, it darted back in and kept low to smash into his pad. The hapless Younis could only watch as it struck him dead in front of middle.

Misbah-ul-Haq and Asad Shafiq both came and went within minutes of each other. Their wickets had less to do more with Gabriel’s brilliance though. He persisted with a probing off stump line, drawing an inside edge that lobbed off the pad to gully. The original appeal for lbw was ruled not out, but overturned, leaving West Indies pleasantly surprised.

Two balls later, Shafiq was squared up by the length as he poked to the Kieran Powell, who put down a sitter to reprieve Shehzad in the first hour, completing a catch off the third attempt. Sarfraz Ahmed found himself hurrying to the middle much earlier expected. (ESPNCricinfo) 

Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo.



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