Yasir hero as Pakistan clinch series
ABU DHABI: Leg-spinner Yasir Shah proved he is the best spinner around, especially on the dusty and spin-friendly pitches in United Arab Emirates as he took 6-124 to help Pakistan to a series-winning 133-run victory against a hapless West Indies in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
It was always beyond this inexperienced and less talented West Indian side to score 456 for victory or bat out the five sessions which Pakistan gave them as they folded for 322 before tea on a still unresponsive pitch at Sheikh Zayed Stadium.
Jermaine Blackwood was unlucky to miss his second Test hundred but he fought well for his 95 before a peach of a delivery ended his vigil. Blackwood defied Pakistan’s bowling in the first hour-and half, taking West Indies to 244.
Shah has this guile of keeping one straight and skid as he bamboozled Blackwood with a similar delivery, which hit batsman’s pad and then slid onto his stumps. Blackwood was disappointed to miss his hundred as well as losing the fight for a draw.
The fifth day pitch looked unusual as it doesn’t have the usual cracks of fifth day as early morning breeze has hindered its cracking, leaving not much for the spinners who usually get good spin here on the final day.
But the state of the pitch should not demean West Indies never-say-die approach as they fought hard and batted for 10 overs, much like they did in Dubai when they batted for 109 overs on the last day pitch.
West Indies did take inspiration from the fact that the highest Test chase of 418-7 was in their name which they did with a formidable side with Brian Lara and Shivnarine Chanderpaul in their batting line-up, against Australia at Antigua in 2003. Also, that they drew a Test match against India as recent as in July when they batted out a whole day in Jamaica.
But these conditions and opponents are different. Chase was the first to go when Yasir spun one sharply across his bat and the ensuing edge was easily grabbed by wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed. Chase and Blackwood had defied the attack for 63 funs and it was only in the tenth over that Pakistan got the breakthrough.
Shai Hope and Blackwood added another 57 for the sixth wicket before Shah dismissed Blackwood and then Jason Holder. Zulfiqar Babar took the last wicket to give Pakistan an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the series.