Windies reeling

Hosts facing uphill task to save first test

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Pakistan ended Monday’s fourth day well in control of the first Test at Sabina Park, thanks to an unbeaten 99 from Misbah-ul-Haq and four wickets from leg-spinner Yasir Shah, that left West Indies at 93 for 4 and still 28 runs short of making Pakistan bat again.

After the drama of ul-Haq becoming the first Pakistan batsman to be stranded on 99 – Mohammad Abbas failing in an attempt to review a marginal lbw decision – West Indies began their reply solidly after tea. But just as the session was drifting off, Misbah turned to Yasir. The ball had spun considerably earlier in the day for his West Indies counterpart Devendra Bishoo, and with the cracks on the pitch beginning to open up, it was a natural decision.

Misbah ul-Haq missed out on a century as Pakistan ended the day in a dominant position.

What wasn’t quite as natural was the speed with which the bowling change paid off. Yasir pitched the first ball of his spell on an off-stump line. The length was perfect for a legspinner, and Kraigg Brathwaite appeared to have no choice but to get on the back foot and watch for the turn. The ball skidded on, however, at flipper-like pace, and the attempt to cut was doomed. Two balls later, Yasir found the debutant Shimron Hetmyer’s glove, who was fortunate to see it drop short of slip. Suddenly, new life was breathed into Pakistan’s efforts.

Wahab Riaz was introduced from the other end soon after, but he served as a pressure release valve for the West Indies batsmen, if anything. All the action was happening at the other end, and as the shadows lengthened, every single Yasir delivery became a must-watch event. When Hetmyer smashed Yasir impressively, dismissively down the ground for six, you almost expected Yasir to come back with a vengeance. The leg-spinner didn’t disappoint, getting Shane Warne-esque turn the very next ball as Hetmyer went back and attempted to keep it out, only to end up dragging it on to his stumps.

Shah wasn’t nearly done yet, as four overs later he trapped Shai Hope plumb in front with a quicker delivery that skidded on to his front pad. There was still time for one final blow to the solar plexus of the West Indies line-up, as opener Kieran Powell, who had watched all the carnage unfold from the other end, edged to first slip on 49. Younis Khan was standing there to complete the dismissal, as West Indies headed for stumps dazed, dispirited, and, in all likelihood, defeated.

West Indies’ second innings had started off uneventfully, as the openers came out looking like they had made survival their priority, at least for the session. Mohammad Amir generated a bit of swing while Mohammad Abbas was his usual disciplined self, but Powell and Brathwaite were intent on not allowing Pakistan to make early inroads this time, and looked to see off the new ball with as little fuss as possible. The only chance for the faster bowlers came in Abbas’s first over, as Powell chipped straight back to the bowler’s left, who couldn’t hang on despite getting a good hand to the ball.

Pakistan had earlier posted 407, thanks to a quickfire half-century from Sarfraz Ahmed and an unbeaten 99 from Misbah. Even though West Indies struck back in the afternoon session with regular wickets, a 10th-wicket partnership between Misbah and Abbas dashed their hopes of keeping Pakistan’s lead to under 100, and therefore keeping alive the possibility – however remote – of the hosts charting a course to victory.

The Pakistan batsmen had looked wobbly in the opening session, but poor fielding by West Indies – a catch and a stumping were missed in the first session – ensured they were able to establish a position of dominance and stretch their lead.

Shannon Gabriel and Alzarri Joseph extracted sharp bounce off the surface, clearly discomfiting both Asad Shafiq and Misbah, neither of whom looked confident in dealing with the shorter length. Shafiq’s eventual dismissal brought Sarfraz to the crease, and along with him came a sense of urgency to an innings that had stalled somewhat.

He was particularly severe on Bishoo, striking a four and six off his first two overs, and picking off the loose deliveries to ensure the spinner could never get into his rhythm and start building pressure on the batsmen as Pakistan edged closer to West Indies’ total. His strike rate of 138 against the legspinner was indicative of his intentions, and he scored a half-century, as well as bringing up 2000 Tests runs, in a productive session.

Misbah, meanwhile, ticked along at the other end, looking curiously reticent to even attempt scoring shots at a juncture of the game when his side could be expected to drive home their advantage. He gradually found fluency as the innings went on and looked to set for an 11th Test hundred when Abbas, who had hung around for more than ten overs to keep his captain company, was struck on the pads by Roston Chase; Richard Illingworth’s lbw decision upheld by the ball-tracker, despite the suggestion of a possible outside edge.

A win to break six successive losses in a row would likely take some of the edge off Misbah’s disappointment and, to that end, Yasir appears to have his captain, and indeed his country, covered.

Source: (cricinfo)

4 Responses to Windies reeling

  1. Philip April 25, 2017 at 6:36 am

    A WI team badly out of shape. A lot of work needs to be done in all areas of their game. This is compounded by poor captaincy and poor team selection. It all begins with the upper management. WI need a different Board, It is very political and polarized and insular.

    Reply
  2. Peter April 25, 2017 at 9:38 am

    The management system (Note: not structure) is rancid with political and insular behavior. This has evidently revealed itself with poor team selection which is also clouded with favoritism and improper research. This has manifested itself with poor team management, proper technical coaching. substandard captaincy and indiscipline, disrespect, victimization and poor attitudes on all fronts. I find that when a player has made it to the International arena, he becomes a self awarded hero. The “Don’t you know who I am?” attitude takes control of their minds. They go out and get themselves the biggest, heaviest, thickest, shiniest GOLD chain, and display it openly on the field of play with the “Look, I have arrived” mentality. They are given Duty Free status quite like the CDB employees down to the maids and messengers, so they go out and purchase the most expensive European vehicle . and there you go. You can like it or lump it. According to Sir Richie Richardson, “oh It’s just another game.” winning doesn’t matter. I can go on because those commentators Gee them on with big up phrases for friendship, free lunches and other privileges.

    Reply
  3. orlando April 25, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    peter you dont need to say all that crap. a nice new crop of young guys . all the negatives . so you dont like cricket just dont talk about it .go watch english football

    Reply
  4. orlando April 25, 2017 at 8:55 pm

    oh and you too phillip

    Reply

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