Holder and Brathwaite bring West Indeis on brink of win
SHARJAH: West Indies are just 339 runs away from winning the third Test and they thoroughly deserved this victory on the fifth day.
A side 2-0 down in the series, fighting back for a consolation win is remarkable and with 114-5 and Kraigg Brathwaite holding the key with 44 and with him Shane Dowrich 36 not out, the clear favourites are West Indies.
Pakistan were bundled out for 208 in their second innings and that gave a 153-run target in 135 overs in four sessions. Although they lost the top five with Yasir Shah capturing three and Wahab Riaz taking two, there are still no problems in batting on this pitch.
But cricket is a funny game and two balls can change the whole game on Thursday.
The stats are intriguing.
West Indies have never failed to chase targets of less than 200 in Tests, before this – having won 51 times and drawing six others. On the other hand Pakistan have twice defended targets below this, beating New Zealand afters setting a target of 127 at Hamilton in 1993 and defending 168 against England at The Oval in 1954.
But Pakistan were themselves to blame for this position as they batted and fielded poorly.
Six top Pakistan batsmen played injudicious shots in the second innings which led their downfall for a low total of 208. There were no problems in the pitch as well as bowling was not extraordinary.
Jason Holder finished with his first five-wicket haul with figures of 5-30 and Devendra Bishoo took 3-46.
Sami Aslam got out hooking when he could have and should have avoided the shot. Asad Sjhafiq defended a ball which should jhave been left alone, Younis Khan fell towards off to edge one towards the left of wicket-keeper and Misbah-ul-Haq was guilty of playing a rash shot when he was needed to stay.
Azhar Ali played well for his 91 and added 80 for the fifth wicket with Sarfraz Ahmed who made 42 but both fell to irresponsible shots as Pakistan slumped from 159-5 to 208, losing the last five for just 49 runs.
The signs are worrying with tours of New Zealand and Australia to follow.