Darren Bravo was like the “Lawrence of Arabia” on day three of the opening day/night Test of the Haier Test series between West Indies and Pakistan at the Dubai International Stadium in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), yesterday.
The dapper left hander went out to battle from ball one and only left after ball 487, as he battled to save the Isles of the Caribbean against a rampant Pakistan assault.
Starting the day facing down the barrel of a gun, after Pakistan made an imposing 579 for three declared, the West Indies fired back some shots and closed the day on 315/6, 264 runs short of the hosts’ total.
Bravo spanked 87 and his partner in attack Marlon Samuels slapped 72 in a partnership of 113 runs for the third wicket that kept the West Indies in with a chance of saving the follow-on.
When play resumes this afternoon, captain Jason Holder and plucky wicketkeeper/batsman Shane Dowrich will go to war – needing another 65 runs to make Pakistan knock again. Things could have been better for the visitors but they lost Bravo with nine overs to go. He played into the hands of short leg, giving Mohammad Nawaz his maiden Test wicket. His marathon innings came in 398 minutes batting, spanned 258 balls and included nine fours and a six.
West Indies resumed on the overnight position of 69 for one and after five balls it was 69 for two, as the obdurate Kraigg Brathwaite was bowled by a leg-spinner from Yasir Shah. The Pathan got the right hander to play down the wrong line and carried away his sticks.
Samuels came in and underlined the fact that the pitch was flat, as he batted as if he was there all day. Playing languid drives on both sides of the pitch, the right hander kept the scoreboard ticking, while Bravo struggled at the other end.
The left hander who looked ominous during his brief 14 on day two, struggled to find his rhythm but stayed the course which was important for his team. He saw Samuels bring up his half century of 82 balls with eight fours. The two took West Indies to tea at 138 for two with Samuels unbeaten on 50 and Bravo on 30, adding 16 runs in the two-hour session.
After the break, Samuels continued to plunder the bowling and almost every ball he played at went to the fence. Looking set for a century, he received a quick delivery from Sohail Khan which struck him plumb in front for 76 of 139 balls with 13 fours.
With the fall of his wicket at 182, the Pakistanis were sniffing a comeback but it was not to happen. Bravo continued to concentrate and put a heavy price on his wicket. He and young Jermaine Blackwood added a valuable 77 runs for the fourth wicket. Blackwood played some audacious shots in between good defence.
With the score at 259 for three and West Indies looking safe and sound, Pakistan made two crucial strikes, through Wahab Riaz. Blackwood touched an innocuous delivery down the leg side into the gloves of Sarfraz Ahmed for 37 which came from 74 balls with six fours. The left armer then followed up with the scalp of Roston Chase —bounced out for six.
WI vs Pakistan
Pakistan 1st inns 579/3 dec
WI 1st inns
WI 1st inns
L Johnson lbw Yasir 15
K Brathwaite b Yasir 32
D Bravo c Ali b Nawaz 87
M Samuels lbw Sohail 76
J Blackwood c Sarfraz b Wahab 37
R Chase c Babar b Wahab 6
S Dowrich not out 27
J Holder not out 10
Extras 9b, 8lb, 1w, 7nb 25
Total for 6 wkts 315
Fall of wkts: 42, 69, 182, 259, 266.
Bowling: M Amir 19-4-48-0, Sohail Khan 16-2-56-1, Yasir Shah 35-14-95-2, Wahab 19.3-3-53-2, M Nawaz 16-5-38-1, A Ali M Nawaz 2.3-1-6-0.