Samuels fifty leads West Indies recovery

Marlon Samuels was strong on the cut and the drive (Photo: Getty Images)

Starting the day with a cushion of over 500 runs, Pakistan took early steps to make themselves even more comfortable, with Yasir Shah removing Kraigg Brathwaite in the second over, even before a run was scored. Pakistan’s seamers also showed greater control than their West Indies counterparts on what was still a flat, easy-paced Dubai pitch. But Marlon Samuels and Darren Bravo helped West Indies stage a brief recovery, taking them to 138 for 2 at tea.

Marlon Samuels was strong on the cut and the drive (Photo: Getty Images)
Marlon Samuels was strong on the cut and the drive (Photo: Getty Images)

Yasir got a flighted delivery to drift into middle stump before turning away slightly to beat Brathwaite’s outside edge and hit off stump. While it was a good ball, it was made to look even better by the batsman, who lunged forward and played down the wrong line. Yasir bowled with good rhythm throughout the session, getting the ball to grip and turn apart from giving it a generous flight.

At one point, Bravo threw his hands at a cut shot off a delivery that was slightly short of a length. The execution didn’t come off and an edge flew past slip for four. Though it was a case of the batsman making an error, it was partly down to the fact that Yasir wasn’t giving away much. When he did err in length, it was generally on the fuller side, allowing Samuels to drive a few fours through the covers.

Samuels perhaps got more out of the session than any other player, briskly moving to a half-century off 82 balls. He started his innings with consecutive boundaries off Yasir – one cut through point, the other driven through extra-cover. Even so, he was not totally convincing. Staying leg side of the ball against the fast bowlers, as is his method, he was rather edgy initially. He had an early slice of luck when an outside edge off Mohammad Amir fell short of Babar Azam at second slip. He was also unconvincing when ducking under the bouncer, often taking his eyes off the ball.

In between those moments, though, he unfurled some decent drives and cuts, hitting seven of his eight fours through the off side. Bravo’s stodgy knock provided a fine counterpoint to Samuels’ relative extravagance and the two had put on a promising 69-run stand by tea. (ESPNcricinfo) 

Sirish Raghavan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo



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