Dubai: On a wicket that is offering no help to the bowlers, Pakistan has picked six West Indies wickets for 315 runs on the third day of the first Test at the Dubai International Stadium. West Indies is battling to avoid the follow as they would need to reach 380 runs to avoid the follow on. They trail Pakistan's first inning score by 264 runs.
Darren Bravo orchestrated West Indies’ chase towards Pakistan’s mammoth first innings total through a fighting 87 runs. Studded with nine boundaries and a six and playing out 258 balls, Bravo had kept West Indies hopes alive of reaching Pakistan’s total of 579 for 3 declared.
Marlon Samuels too tried his best to pull West Indies towards the total through an elegant 76 off 139 balls with 13 boundaries.
Mohammad Nawaz took his maiden wicket forcing Bravo inside edge to Azhar Ali at forward short leg.
Samuels and Bravo put on 113 runs in 43.3 overs for the third wicket. Jermaine Blackwood (37) and Bravo too posted 77 runs for the fourth wicket.
West Indies, commencing from their overnight score of 69 for 1, began cautiously with Kraig Brathwaite on 32 and Bravo on 14.
Yasir Shah struck early in the second over of the day by dismissing Brathwaite for 32. He clean bowled Brathwaite with a drifting delivery. Brathwaite had added 27 runs for the second wicket with Bravo.
Marlon Samuels joined Bravo who began stroking comfortably. His punch getting on to his toes to a Mohammad Amir delivery through the covers was a treat to watch.
Samuels refusing Shah to get an upperhand hit him for two consecutive boundaries in the 26th over. The first boundary was square cut with immense power and the second boundary came off through a fine drive through the extra cover and mid-off gap.
Amir tried his best making the ball angle uncomfortably at Samuels who once even edged it but did not carry to Babar Azam at second slip.
Wahab Riaz too bowled with tremendous pace but Samuels and Bravo refused to be affected by it.
Punishing Shah for two boundaries in the 36th over, West Indies went past the 100 run mark. Bravo refused to take any risks and defended solidly. In the 46th over, Amir managed to induce Samuels to edge but the ball flew between slip and wicketkeeper to the boundary.
Samuels was the first to reach his half century off 82 balls. It was after 17 innings that Samuels scored a fifty and West Indies needed a long innings from him. At tea break, West Indies were 138 for 2.
At the score on 149 for 2, the play had to be stopped as the pink ball which was giving a bit of trouble had to be changed. Umpires were seen checking the ball with go-no-go ring to ensure that it hasn’t gone off shape.
Azhar Ali would have got a breakthrough had he held on to a return catch from Samuels on 54.
The ball ricocheted to the left of Sohail Khan at mid-on. Ali injured his hand in the process and Riaz had to complete the over.
After adding two more runs, Samuel drove at Riaz away from his body and edged it but the ball did not carry to wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmad.
Samuels used his feet to come down the track and hit two consecutive boundaries off Shah.
Pakistan bowlers now looked as helpless like the West Indies bowlers.
Samuels’ shots were so well placed and hit with enormous power that the fielders often had to watch the ball race to the boundary in a flash. When Samuels and Bravo recorded their 100 runs partnership, it also turned out to be this Test match’s fourth century partnership too.
Samuels and Bravo put on 113 runs in 43.3 overs when Sohail Khan trapped Samuels’ leg before for 76 off 139 balls with 13 boundaries.
Jermaine Blackwood joined Bravo, who reached his fifty in 176 balls.
At dinner break, West Indies were 211 for 3, trailing by 368 runs. Second new ball taken in the 82nd over too could not disturb the batsmen. Blackwood and Bravo put on 77 runs in 22.5 overs before Riaz forced Blackwood to glove a catch down the leg side to wicketkeeper for 37.
Next man Roston Chase lasted just seven balls.
Riaz bounced at Chase who fended it into the hands of Babar Azam at leg slip for 6.