Windies sniff rare win after Holder's heroics
Opener Kraigg Brathwaite has stood firm to bring West Indies in sight of a consolation win.
Test cricket was at its best as fortunes of two teams oscillated back and forth during the entire fourth day at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.
The third and final Test is still in the balance as West Indies need another 39 runs to pull one back while Pakistan will be in search of five wickets to make a clean sweep on Thursday after skipper Jason Holder's five-wicket haul. Yasir Shah grabbed three wickets while Wahab Riaz got two to reduce the visitors to 144 for five after they were set a target of 153 to chase. First innings hero Kraigg Brathwaite (46) and Shane Dorwich (36) put on 47 runs for the sixth wicket to keep West Indies in the chase.
West Indies are prone to self-destruction and it was no exception on Wednesday. After riding two lucks, Leon Johnson (12) became the first victim of Yasir Shah. West Indies star batsman Darren Bravo (3) also survived a run out chance in the beginning of his innings but was sent back by Yasir to leave West Indies on 35/2.
Marlin Samuels (10) failed once again as he tried to break the shackles and was caught on long on by Zulifqar Babar off Yasir.
Jermaine Blackwood was cleaned up by Wahab Riaz and immediately Roston Chase was caught at midwicket off the same bowler.
Earlier, a lot depended on the two overnight batsmen Sarfraz Ahmed and Azhar Ali to build a big lead for Pakistan. Sarfraz started in his usual style playing positively while Azhar looked more sedate. Sarfraz departed after playing a fine innings of 42.
Despite a triple century in the first Test in Dubai, Azhar has struggled against West Indies pacers. It was a big test for the opener and he survived some tough moments on Tuesday before scoring his 22nd Test fifty with a flick off Alzarri Joseph.
When Sarfraz was looking set for a big score, he tried to steal a single off Devendra Bishoo and was caught by Darren Bravo in the slips. Azhar and Sarfraz put on 86 runs in fifth wicket partnership.
It was a breakthrough much needed by West Indies as things were looking too easy for Pakistani batsmen in the middle.
Nawaz joined Azhar in the middle and Pakistani camp had a lot of expectations from the youngster. He has been drafted in the team as an all-rounder since he holds a good batting record at the domestic level. Nawaz started cautiously as he scored his first run after facing 15 balls but later grew into confidence. He put on 41 runs with Azhar but tried to steer a ball from Bishoo for a single and in the process gave a catch. The wicket provided West Indies a new energy and they struck a vital blow in the form of Azhar's wicket. It was the last ball of Bishoo's over, Azhar (91) wanted a single to keep the strike and was caught behind to leave Pakistan on 189/7.
It followed some drama when Mohammad Amir played a shot towards long on. Chase went for the catch but when he felt he may touch the rope while taking the catch he threw the ball back. Amir and Wahab presumed that ball has crossed the boundary but it didn't. Chase threw the ball back and Amir was run out in a bizarre fashion. Jason Holder finished with a five-wicket haul as he dismissed Wahab to make it 189/9 and Yasir Shah departed without scoring. ? email@example.com