After three days of attritional cricket in a tense Test match, this game finally showed its hand. Pakistan’s fast bowlers were rewarded for the graft they had put in with Mohammad Abbas taking four wickets in four overs to give Pakistan a seemingly impregnable lead of 129. They had pushed that up by eight runs by lunch, for the cost of two wickets.
There were seven in all, with Shane Dowrich chopping the fourth ball of the day on to his stumps. That meant Roston Chase, who had been forced to retire hurt on 60 after a bouncer struck his elbow, came back to the crease. He and Jason Holder – the same pair that had orchestrated a 132-run seventh wicket stand in Bridgetown – held the innings together for a while, but Pakistan continued to be tight and eventually reaped great dividends.
Abbas caught fire all of a sudden, with a spell of 4-1-3-4, and in the process he revealed a side many didn’t know he had. He bowled Chase with a fast, inswinging yorker to start off. Devendra Bishoo followed the very next ball, Younis Khan taking a superb low catch in the slips. Another searing yorker, in the mould of Waqar Younis, cleaned up poor Alzarri Joseph. Holder could only watch from the other end as last man Shannon Gabriel too fell to Abbas, giving him a maiden five-wicket haul.
There was still time for Pakistan to bat seven overs before lunch would be taken, so swiftly has they bowled the West Indies out. But they were rather tentative during that period, scoring just eight runs, and lost the wicket of Azhar Ali, who slashed a short, wide delivery to point.
Babar Azam followed suit on the last ball of the session, edging to short leg, with the third umpire judging him out after lengthy deliberations. There were visuals that seemed to indicate the ball had kissed the ground before going into Shimron Hetmyer’s hands, but Richard Kettleborough went with the on-field umpire’s call of out.
These successes, though undoubtedly welcome, may not nearly be enough for West Indies, who, when they reflect on this match, might still look back on this morning’s events as the time when the series drifted away.
West Indies replicated their opponents’ dour batting effort in crawling to 218 for five off 100 overs in reply to Pakistan’s first innings total of 376 at stumps on day three of the third and final Test at Windsor Park in Dominica on Friday.
Leg-spinner Yasir Shah lifted his series-leading wicket tally to 20 with three victims in the morning session but the home side then showed resolve with all-rounder Roston Chase leading the defiance in a topscore of 60 before being forced to retire hurt in the final session.—Agencies