SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates (CMC):
For the third straight match, all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite was reduced to watching from the sidelines, but that did not prevent him from having a profound impact on the opening day of the third Test here yesterday.
Brathwaite has failed to make the final XI in the series, but with leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo’s confidence sagging after Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq put him to the sword, the reserve player was quick to respond, encouraging his teammate to remain on top of his game and not to let his head drop.
The net effect was that Bishoo went on to claim four for 74 and trigger a slide in the final hour, which saw Pakistan crash from 230 for four to 255 for eight at the close.
“He (Misbah) tried to get after me in the second Test match. He tried to pick me off … attack me a bit, but, in this game, I tried to do the basics. I tried to bowl my lengths [in] my areas and don’t try too much,” Bishoo told reporters following the day’s play.
“When I had just started my spell, I had gone for a few runs, but Carlos (Brathwaite) saw my body language was a bit down and he came and told me, ‘You need to pick up yourself.’
“[He said], ‘You’ve done well in international cricket already. You got eight in the first game, so why can’t you do it again?’ And he said ‘I want to see some confidence in you’, and I started to be a bit more lively.”
Bishoo picked up three of the four wickets to fall late in the day, including that of Misbah, who gloved a catch behind for 53, as he attempted to reverse sweep.
Misbah was one of four players to make half-centuries as 20-year-old opener Sami Aslam top-scored with 74 and Younis Khan and Sarfraz Ahmed both made 51.
With Pakistan coasting in the second session and in the first hour after tea, Bishoo said West Indies were focused on drying up the scoring and creating pressure.
“In the second session, we decided if we were not going to get wickets, we were not going to let them score as much,” he said.
“We were trying to keep the run rate under three [runs per over], so we tried to bowl our areas, be patient and let them make the mistakes.”
The Guyanese, who took a career-best eight-wicket haul in the second innings of the historic day/night opening Test, was well supported by in-form pacer Shannon Gabriel, who once again bowled with pace to claim three for 58.
Gabriel picked up two wickets in four balls in the first over of the day to reduce Pakistan to one run for two wickets.
“It’s the first day of the game and I think we’ve put ourselves in a very good position and we need to capitalise from here on. The job isn’t finished as yet, but it’s good start for us on the first day,” Bishoo said.
“It was a good bowling effort. I think we tried to bowl as tight as possible, tried to hold our line and lengths, and if they wanted to take the chances, they take the chances.”