After the frenetic finish of the first night, West Indies steadied their first innings with a 50-run stand between Kraigg Brathwaite and Roston Chase before lunch, with Pakistan getting the wicket of the latter, their bête noire from the 2017 tour.
It was a seesaw session, with each side enjoying phases of dominance, but with Brathwaite still at the crease at the break and the hosts having added 79 for just the one wicket, there’s little doubt West Indies are the happier side.
In overcast conditions at Sabina Park, the overnight pair stood firm in the face of probing lines and lengths from the visitors.
Mohammad Abbas picked up exactly where he had left off the previous day and was the pick of the bowlers once more, peppering the corridor of uncertainty between a good and full length.
Chase and Brathwaite had to be especially sure of their footwork, with the seam movement Abbas was generating an additional challenge.
Shaheen Afridi let his high standards dip somewhat, beginning with two leg-side deliveries that trickled away for four leg-byes each.
It settled the West Indian nerves, and once Chase drove Abbas straight down the ground, the runs off the bat became more frequent. Before long, they had brought up a half-century stand.
But, just as West Indies looked poised to take control, Pakistan struck. Hasan Ali, who had been testing the pair in his first three overs, especially when they got on the front foot, coaxed an expansive front-foot drive from Chase that wasn’t really on.
It produced a tickle through to Mohammad Rizwan, with an anguished look from the batter revealing quite how ordinary the shot was.
West Indies, however, brushed that setback aside soon enough, with Jermaine Blackwood’s punchy counter-attacking knock evocative of Rizwan’s cameo on the first day.
It hasn’t been quite as assured an innings yet, with all three of his boundaries coming off shots he wasn’t in control of, which may raise Pakistan’s hopes of an early post-lunch wicket.
But with Brathwaite a stoic, immovable presence at the other end, West Indies have rebuilt impressively from last evening’s chaos, and have momentum on their side at lunch.
Earlier, two wickets in two balls by Mohammad Abbas just before the close of play put the West Indies immediately on the back foot in reply to Pakistan’s first innings total of 217 on the rain-affected opening day of the first Test at Sabina Park on Thursday.
At 2-2 going into the second day, with captain Kraigg Brathwaite and Roston Chase set to resume the innings, the home side will be mindful of the repeated batting capitulations they endured in being thrashed in a similar two-Test duel with South Africa two months earlier in St Lucia.—AFP