Hasan’s strikes leave West Indies staring at defeat

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Jamaica

Hasan’s strikes leave West Indies staring at defeat Hasan Ali’s two strikes put Pakistan five wickets away from a series-levelling win at Sabina Park as West Indies lost three quick wickets in the first half of the morning session.

Shaheen Shah Afridi felled nightwatchman Alzarri Joseph with a short delivery before Hasan struck to remove Nkrumah Bonner and Roston Chase.

West Indies’ two most assured batters this series, captain Kraigg Brathwaite and his deputy Jermaine Blackwood, stalled Pakistan up till the stroke of lunch, when Nauman Ali got rid of Blackwood for his first wicket of the match.

Pakistan were slightly jittery overnight in the face of West Indian resistance, and for a brief spell this morning, as Joseph and Brathwaite kept the bowlers at bay.

Each struck a boundary to get the ball rolling, and with the ball losing its shine, West Indies appeared to be making progress. But once Afridi banged one in that Joseph threw his bat at, the innings began to fall apart.

Mohammad Rizwan took a comfortable skier and if West Indies had the baton of control, Pakistan were beginning to wrest it away from them.

Hasan hadn’t enjoyed as spectacular a series as he’s become used to since his comeback, but it took just one ball for him to have an impact today. Bonner played down the wrong line and was struck dead in front; Hasan didn’t even bother to appeal as he set off to celebrate.

The umpire made Pakistan review, but there was no redemption for Bonner.
Faheem Ashraf at the other end should have seen off Brathwaite, but while one Pakistan opener simply cannot drop a catch in the slips, Brathwaite’s outside edge looped to the other one.

Abid Ali put down a dolly, perhaps illustrating why Imran Butt had dived so spectacularly in front of him in the first Test. To rub the point home further, when Chase offered up a chance the following over, Butt dived adroitly to his right, and Pakistan had another wicket.

Blackwood and Brathwaite have been West Indies’ brightest batting sparks this tour, and for more than an hour, they kept Pakistan waiting for another breakthrough.

It came from an unlikely source – their left-arm spinner Nauman – who flighted the ball to draw the batter forward and induce an outside edge to the keeper. The wicket possibly extinguished West Indies’ realistic hopes of holding Pakistan off.

Pakistan threw down the gauntlet to the West Indies on the penultimate day of the two-match Test series on Monday, setting the hosts 329 to win as the visitors chase a series-levelling victory at Jamaica’s Sabina Park.

West Indies will start Tuesday’s final day at 49 for one, 280 runs away from the target as Pakistan bid to square the series after losing a thriller by one wicket in the first Test at the same venue.

A fourth day’s play almost completely dominated by the visitors saw Shaheen Shah Afridi claim Test-best innings figures of six for 51 as the West Indies were routed for 150 in the first innings just after the lunch interval.

Building on a healthy advantage of 152, Pakistanis threw caution to the wind in racing to 176 for six at better than a run-a-ball through the afternoon, declaring for the second time in the match when captain Babar Azam was dismissed to give bowlers more than 90 minutes to attack the home side’s top order.

However, the West Indies opening pair of skipper Kraigg Brathwaite and Kieran Powell was negotiating that potentially tricky period comfortably until Powell was a run-out victim of his own carelessness in completing a third run.—AFP

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