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Brathwaite’s enterprising fifty provides West Indies healthy start

24th October 2016 Comments Off on Pakistan strike twice after setting West Indies 456 Views: 1234 News

Pakistan strike twice after setting West Indies 456

Tea West Indies 224 and 86 for 2 (Brathwaite 55*, Samuels 9*) need a further 370 runs to beat Pakistan 452 and 227 for 2 dec (Shafiq 58*, Younis 29*)
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details

West Indies lost two wickets to avoidable shots after being asked to survive five sessions to save the Abu Dhabi Test or score 456 to win it. Pakistan declared their second innings at the stroke of lunch, after Asad Shafiq scored his second half-century of the match, leaving themselves a possible 62 overs on day four and all of day five to take 10 wickets. Their post-lunch session went more or less to plan: one-fifth of the task achieved in one-fifth of the time. At tea, West Indies were 86 for 2, with Kraigg Brathwaite batting on 55 and Marlon Samuels on 9.

The amount of time Pakistan gave themselves to bowl West Indies out indicated that they expected plenty of hard toil in excellent batting conditions. There was no swing available to the new-ball pair of Rahat Ali and Sohail Khan, and it only took Misbah-ul-Haq six overs to turn to spin from both ends.

There was not much help on offer for the spinners either, but Yasir Shah didn’t have to wait too long for his first wicket. Having only faced three balls from the legspinner, Leon Johnson tried to sweep him, and ended up dragging the ball onto his stumps, off the flap of his pad. The ball pitched outside leg stump, so Johnson may have felt the shot was on, but he was probably playing the shot Yasir wanted him to play, given all the fielders waiting around the bat for a top-edge or a bat-pad.

The same was the case when Darren Bravo chased away from his body to try and cut Rahat, back for a second spell, in the 19th over, while making no attempt to keep the ball down. He middled the ball, and it may well have rocketed to the boundary had he placed it a few feet either side of the fielder at point, but the choice of shot played right into Pakistan’s hands.

Usually so selective with his attacking strokes, Brathwaite also came out looking to go after the bowling; early on, he drove Sohail on the up through cover point, and later he stepped out to Zulfiqar Babar and launched him for a six over long-on and slogged him, against the turn, for a four through midwicket. The wicket of Bravo, however, forced him into a change of approach: having made 41 off 54 balls till that point, he made 14 off his next 41 balls in seeing West Indies through to tea. Samuels, not looking in too much trouble while blocking, nearly gave his wicket away in the last over before tea, fortunate to miss when he flashed at a wide-ish ball from Sohail without moving his feet.

With Pakistan already 342 ahead at the start of the day, West Indies set defensive fields against Azhar Ali and Shafiq, hoping to limit the damage the batsmen could inflict upon them. In their desire to plug the boundaries, West Indies allowed a steady stream of easy singles, and despite only hitting three fours in that time, Shafiq and Azhar added 50 in the first 69 balls of the day. Then Azhar, chasing away from his body, nicked to wide slip, falling for 79 and giving Miguel Cummins his first wicket of the match.

By then, Pakistan’s lead was nearly 400. It turned out that the declaration would come very soon, but Pakistan gave few clues that this was the case, with the runs coming at a reasonable clip without the batsmen really forcing the pace. Shafiq hit a couple of gorgeous shots as he approached his fifty, whipping Jason Holder between midwicket and mid-on, and then getting to the landmark with a deft late-cut off Roston Chase. At the other end, Younis punched Holder past his left hand and all the way to the straight boundary. By the time Pakistan declared, the two had put on 63 at 3.81 runs per over while barely breaking a sweat.

Taken from ESPN Cricinfo

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