TEST: Yasir six-for edges Pakistan ahead on testing day
SUMMARY: West Indies 312 and 264 for 9 (Hope 90, Brathwaite 43, Singh 32, Chase 23, Hetmyer 22, Yasir 6-90, Abbas 2-57) lead Pakistan 393 (Azhar 105, Misbah 99, Gabriel 4-81, Holder 3-42, Bishoo 3-16) by 183 runs
It was a memorable day of Test cricket at the Kensington Oval, but for West Indies, it was a cruel finish. After all, West Indies – led by a resolute 90 from Shai Hope that lasted over five hours – made Pakistan’s bowlers graft and toil for the majority of the day, but the defining period will be five minutes of chaos that saw his side lose three wickets in eight balls for one run. It might yet lose them a game they have grated their way back into on more than one occasion, but with the lead already 183 with one wicket in hand, the Test is still alive. Yasir Shah claimed another six-wicket haul to lead Pakistan’s fightback in the final hour.
With West Indies leading by 154 runs with six wickets still in hand, thoughts may already have been turning to an early declaration on the final day. But all of a sudden, Hope sought to cover drive a flighted Yasir delivery through the air, perfectly picking out Azhar Ali at cover. The next ball saw Vishaul Singh, the other set batsman, drag an inswinging delivery from Mohammad Abbas onto his stumps. Six deliveries on, Jason Holder poked at one from Yasir, and even as the light eroded, Younis Khan was never going to drop that.
There was still enough time for West Indies’ last recognised batsman – Shane Dowrich – to edge one that ballooned up for an easy catch to second slip. Yasir dismissed Alzarri Joseph soon after to take his innings tally to six, and West Indies’ hard work crumbled.
They had begun the final session with the resoluteness that characterised their batting all day. The runs, which had begun to flow a little too freely, dried up after tea as Misbah operated spin from both ends, waiting for the new ball. The likelihood of a wicket seemed to recede with both Vishaul and Hope looking increasingly comfortable, and West Indies began to take hold of the game. Shadab came closest to a breakthrough with an lbw shout against Vishaul that Pakistan decided to review, only to be thwarted by the on-field umpire’s call. As a result, the breakthrough Yasir provided through Hope’s moment of ill-judgment will seem even more fateful, coming as it did at a time when the hosts were looking to bat Pakistan out of the game.
Momentum in the first session had fluctuated, a half-century partnership between Kraigg Brathwaite and Hope steering West Indies into the lead. West Indies got off to a terrible start, having added only one run to their overnight score when Shimron Hetmyer, who had looked convincing on the third evening, was dismissed by Mohammad Amir. The manner of the wicket was identical to his dismissal in Jamaica, the ball seaming back in sharply to crash into the stumps.
Hope and Brathwaite batted more positively after coming together, but just as it looked like West Indies might creep into the ascendancy once more, Brathwaite was undone by a combination of vicious spin from Yasir and staggering reflexes from Younis. Yasir pitched one well outside leg stump from around the wicket, which spun sharply across and clipped the shoulder of his bat. Younis dived to his right with agility and reflexes that belied his age, holding on to a splendid one-handed catch that could end up being as crucial as any runs he scores this game.
The afternoon session was a cagey affair as Yasir resumed the session by bowling around the wicket again to exploit the rough, while Roston Chase and Hope kept him at bay. Mohammad Abbas and Mohammad Amir kept chipping away laboriously from the other end, as Misbah appeared reluctant to trust a misfiring Shadab with runs at a premium. But it was Yasir’s persistence from around the wicket that finally paid off for Pakistan when he drew Chase into driving him on the up. Chase hadn’t been able to get to the pitch of the ball, and the drive came straight back to Yasir for an easy catch, giving Pakistan a breakthrough they needed badly. (ESPNCricinfo)