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West Indies scrape ahead Pakistan [The Nation] 04 May, 2017

BRIDGETOWN - West Indies lost two more wickets as they worked themselves into the lead at 112 for three at lunch on the fourth day of the second Test against Pakistan at Kensington Oval in Barbados on Wednesday.

Trailing on first innings by 81 runs, the home side will continue in the afternoon session ahead by 31 runs with the pair of Shai Hope and Roston Chase at the crease.

Pakistan struck an early blow after the West Indies resumed at 40 for one when Mohammad Aamir bowled Shimron Hetmyer before the left-hander could add to his overnight score of 22.

However Kraigg Brathwaite continued to bat resolutely in partnership with new batsman Hope, the pair putting on 56 for the third wicket despite the varying challenges posed by the tourists' combination of pace and wrist-spin.

It was the more experienced of the two leg-spinners, Yasir Shah, who provided the breakthrough when he removed the obdurate Brathwaite for 43. Bowling round the wicket and seeking to exploit the rough areas outside the right-hander's leg-stump, Shah managed to get a delivery to bounce and turn sharply to take the shoulder of the bat for Younus Khan to pull in his fourth catch of the match diving to his right at slip.

Fresh from a century in the first innings, Chase started confidently alongside Hope, who reached the interval on 25 with his fellow Barbadian on 12. With the deteriorating nature of the pitch presenting increasing challenges to the batsmen, West Indies will be banking on their middle and lower order in pursuit of a lead in excess of 175 runs as they seek a series-levelling victory ahead of the third and final Test beginning in a week's time in Dominica.

Pakistan are yet to win a Test match at Kensington Oval in six previous attempts dating back to 1958 and victory here will also earn them a Test series triumph in the Caribbean for the first time ever.

Earlier, Misbah-ul-Haq missed a Test century by one run for the second consecutive match but Azhar Ali completed three figures as Pakistan took a first innings lead of 81, totalling 393 in reply to the West Indies' 312 on the third day of the second Test.

M Abbas then removed Kieran Powell to a catch at the wicket in the 14 overs the home side faced in their second innings before the close of play.

Deprived of the landmark when stranded on 99 not out in the first innings of the first Test in Jamaica, the Pakistan captain appeared destined to accomplish the feat on this occasion, only to be dismissed in a bizarre manner, triggering a mini collapse in which three wickets fell for 13 runs just before tea.

Having survived an optimistic appeal for LBW against his West Indian counterpart Jason Holder the ball before, Misbah attempted to pull out of the way of the next delivery which lifted sharply and came off the glove for Shai Hope to gleefully hold the catch at second slip.

His typically phlegmatic, unflustered innings lasted almost five hours in which he faced 201 balls, striking two sixes and nine fours. It was also the first time he was dismissed in the series after two unbeaten innings in Kingston.

His surprise demise broke a brisk 57-run partnership with Asad Shafiq after earlier adding 98 with Ali, the opening batsman reaching a painstaking 13th Test century in mid-afternoon before he was caught at the wicket off Devindra Bishoo for 105, the leg-spinner's third success of the innings.

Ali's marathon effort occupied seven-and-a-half hours during which he faced 278 deliveries, stroking just nine boundaries in an innings characterised by considerable discipline and patience.

Buoyed by Misbah's departure, West Indies enjoyed further success just before tea when wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfraz Ahmed became fast bowler Shannon Gabriel's second wicket, edging an attempted drive to Powell at first slip.

Off the very last ball of the afternoon session, Shafiq was ruled leg-before to the miserly Holder, although Pakistan's tail wagged to the tune of another 64 runs after tea, Yasir Shah being last out to Gabriel, who led the home side's bowling effort with four for 81 off 32 overs.

Those eventful sessions after lunch were in direct opposition to the tedium of the morning, where 54 runs came off 26 overs as Ali and Misbah batted with almost exaggerated care on a pitch showing increasing signs of wear and offering disconcertingly variable bounce.

"This pitch is very difficult to bat on and it was important that we did the hard work to get a first innings lead," said Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur in putting his side's very deliberate batting approach into context.

"We need our spinners to hit their lines and lengths on the fourth day because it will be extremely tough to chase any sort of decent target in the fourth innings here."




(OVERNIGHT: 172-3):
Azhar Ali c Dowrich b Bishoo 105
Ahmed Shehzad c Hope b Bishoo 70
Babar Azam c and b Gabriel 0
Younus Khan c Gabriel b Bishoo 0
Misbah ul Haq c Hope b Holder 99
Asad Shafiq lbw Holder 15
Sarfraz Ahmed c Powell b Gabriel 9
Shadab Khan c Chase b Gabriel 16
M Aamir c Hope b Holder 10
Yasir Shah c Dowrich b Gabriel 24
M Abbas not out 1
EXTRAS: (b16, lb16, nb12) 44
TOTAL: (all out, 140 overs) 393
FOW: 1-155, 2-156, 3-161, 4-259, 5-316, 6-325, 7-329, 8-354, 9-384
Bowling: S Gabriel 32-6-81-4 (9nb), A Joseph 19-5-48-0, R Chase 19-2-74-0 (1nb), J Holder 29-11-42-3 (2nb), D Bishoo 41-11-116-3
(OVERNIGHT: 40-1):
K Brathwaite c Younus b Shah 43
K Powell c Ahmed b Abbas 6
S Hetmyer b Aamir 22
S Hope not out 25
R Chase not out 12
EXTRAS: (b4) 4
TOTAL: (3 wkts, 43 overs) 112
FOW: 1-8, 2-41, 3-97
BOWLING: M Aamir 10-3-27-1, M Abbas 12-4-27-1, Yasir Shah 13-4-28-1, Shadab Khan 8-0-26-0
TOSS: West Indies
UMPIRES: Richard Kettleborough (ENG), Bruce Oxenford (AUS)

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