Pakistan Gain Foothold against West Indies in 2nd Test

October 24 14:19 2016

pakwiNew Delhi, Monday, October 24 – Getting fumbled at any stage is not a new story for the cricketers as cricket being an unpredictable sport. Pakistan have been amazing in the United Arab Emirates this season, making West Indies feel the heat every time they faced in different formats. The excellence can be understood by the fact that they won almost all matches against West Indies by a bigger margin.

They whitewashed the rivals in the shortest format of the game, winning all three T20 International matches. Tale wasn’t different in ODIs too as Pakistan sealed series 3-0, not giving any space to the opponents heave a sigh of relief. They started the Test matches with a win once again, winning opening Test at Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai by 56 runs. The second Test began at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi from October 21. Play of two days yet remains and Misbah-ul-Haq-led squad has gained grip into it already. The team includes Sami Aslam, Azhar Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Younis Khan, Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz Ahmed, Yasir Shah, Sohail Khan, Rahat Ali, Zulfiqar Babar. Those in extras are Wahab Riaz, Imran Khan, Babar Azam and Mohammad Amir.

West Indies Playing XI is captained by Jason Holder and the team comprises Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Leon Johnson, Jermaine Blackwood, Roston Chase, Shai Hope, Devendra Bishoo, Shannon Gabriel and Miguel Cummins. Those to sit on bench are Shane Dowrich, Alzarri Joseph, Jomel Warrican and Carlos Brathwaite. Pakistan won the toss and made best use of it by opting to bat first. They scored 452 runs for the loss of 10 wickets in 119.1 overs in their first innings. The batting orders managed to accumulate runs and succeeded to create some timely partnerships. Expertise and familiarity with the pitch helped Pakistan squad in the ongoing Test.

Younis’ 127 runs (10 x 4 and 6 x 1) and 96 runs from Misbah-ul-Haq were the highlights of Pakistan’s play. Ahmed’s contribution of 56 runs was of use too. But nothing so amazing was shown by West Indies squad. The members of the opposite side kept the host under stress and this was big achievement. Bravo’s 43 runs, Samuels’ 30 runs and Holder’s 30 runs caught the eyes to a certain extent. The team was all out at 224 runs. 10 extras were bowled by Pakistan. Shah took four wickets, Ali got three while Khan got two wickets. When the game of Day 3 ended, Pakistan led by 342 runs. Sami Aslam pocketed a fifty before being dismissed by Shannon Gabriel. His innings consisted of five boundaries.

Azhar Ali will resume his play today at 52 runs (4 x 2) and Asad Shafiq at 5 runs. West Indies eye remaining nine wickets as the defeat in sequence against Pakistan without any prior hint came as a shock for their fans and cricket fraternity since they being capable of attaining a tough target. They are facing criticism from fans after losing both T20 and ODI series and being on the back foot in Test series too. At the same time, Pakistan are on cloud nine and look forward to seal series by winning the 2nd Test, which is a do or die for the West Indies. Expectations of the Pakistan supporters have gone to another level since they want their team to be a step ahead of the rivals particularly when they are in good form.

Pitches for Test matches offer batsmen great opportunity to take their time and not rush for biggies and boundaries. Staying on the crease brings run automatically. Pressure is built when bowlers try their best to not let batsmen on the crease score. Here is to mention that Pakistan are doing well in the longest formats too, proving that all victories they tasted so far is a work of excellence. Pakistan middle order made the rivals to believe in their capabilities both as players and teammates. At the same time, the way Holder’s men have performed in the overseas conditions can’t be praised but closing the eyes to the fact that they still may bounce back once young & dynamic cricketers begin to show amazing performances.

This is not going to be attained in a feasible way. They definitely would try to show the resistance on the foreign soil but major challenge on the front right now is to let rest of the Pakistan batsman succumb as early as possible. This could be the only way to manage staying away from facing humiliating defeat in a row. Holder may focus on motivating squad and let players have faith on their strengths. The players, of course, have got the potential to be on the winning side & perform to the best of their abilities if they want to return home with their heads held high and move confidently before another tournament kicks off.

Due to some reliable innings in the ongoing Test, Pakistan would not let go the chance of winning. They are likely to declare innings soon after accumulating substantial runs and inviting West Indies to chase the same. Hopes are to soar once again from both teams. It is going to be hard for the West Indies bowlers to believe that they can still do it. A defeat here will mean game over for them in the series what they would not wish, definitely. If Pakistan beat them now as well then the final Test at Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium in Sharjah a formality. West Indies did not excel in the 50-50 and 20-20 over matches but they can think of gaining foothold, which is possible only when devoted efforts are poured. The 4th day play is to resume in a short while.