West Indies v Pakistan, 2nd Test, St Kitts, 4th day

Misbah, bowlers put Pakistan on top

The Report by Osman Samiuddin

May 23, 2011

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West Indies 223 and 130 for 5 (Bravo 50, Rehman 3-26) need 297 runs to beat Pakistan 272 and 377 for 6 dec (Umar 135, Misbah 102*)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details


Misbah-ul-Haq celebrates after reaching 50, West Indies v Pakistan, 2nd Test, St Kitts, 4th day, May 23, 2011
Misbah-ul-Haq declared as soon as he reached his hundred © Associated Press
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Having scored only two Test hundreds since January 2010, Pakistan scored two in one innings in setting themselves up perfectly for a series-levelling win in the second Test against West Indies in Basseterre. Taufeeq Umar's fifth Test hundred - nearly eight years after his last - and Misbah-ul-Haq's third set a dispirited West Indies 427 to win.

It was never remotely realistic and by the close Abdur Rehman had depleted spirits further with a relentless spell. Rehman took three wickets to leave West Indies down, almost out at 130 for 5; Darren Bravo's 50 was solitary defiance.

Pakistan were formidably placed overnight for events of today to be no great surprise. Attention as the day began was on Umar and the three runs he needed to reach his hundred. It took him three overs to get his first run and not until the seventh over of the morning did he get there, with a little dink to square leg.

There wasn't much else to note - he scored eight runs in the first hour - though this meant, interestingly, that three of Pakistan's last four Test hundreds had now been made by left-hand openers (Imran Farhat and Salman Butt the others).

Misbah was altogether more interesting, though at times that was a relative observation. His first hundred since becoming Test captain - he now averages 90 in six Tests as leader - was in his typical all-or-nothing fashion. There were stretches of no intent and much of that soul-destroying forward defensive, mixed with bouts of smart boundary-hitting.

He'd begun the morning with a nice drive, before he suddenly leapt on Darren Sammy, in realization that he isn't half as dangerous as Pakistan make him look. In one over he twice clipped him through midwicket before gliding him past slips.

Then, nothing until after morning drinks when a swept triptych against Devendra Bishoo brought him the fifty; first he swept him conventionally, then slog-swept, both for boundaries before ending with a reverse-swept single. That signalled the assault. A little later came the Misbah signature, the one-kneed loft to long-on for six and Bishoo was regularly punished thereafter as Pakistan pillaged 63 runs in the 10 overs to lunch.

Umar ran himself out just before lunch, ending a 129-run stand but Umar Akmal took over after as Pakistan upped the pace in search of the declaration. He launched a couple of sixes while Misbah worked his way steadily to the landmark. Akmal fell as did Mohammad Salman, but Misbah brought up the hundred with an edged boundary.

Immediately he declared, 40 minutes into the afternoon session. Until then, the West Indies stood not so much in the way of Pakistan as opponents, as bemused, helpless bystanders. What they were doing on the field in the morning for example, nobody knows. They came out with the intensity of a corpse, opening with Ravi Rampaul and Sammy and choosing not to take a new ball until they had to when a 110-over-old ball fell apart and no replacement could be found; did they not know the fragility of Pakistan's batting?

From the time the first ball was bowled, they appeared beaten, waiting, hoping for a declaration. When it came, they realized it wasn't really what they wanted. An excellent opening spell from Tanvir Ahmed saw Kraigg Brathwaite dismissed by a big, fizzing inswinger but the game was simply waiting for Pakistan's spinners.

And they do bring terrific variety. Rehman is like a drone, at you without rest; at one point after tea, he bowled five maidens in six overs. Saeed Ajmal is more given to moods and smiles and winks, chancing it to get wickets. Mohammad Hafeez is a bit of both, able to restrict, also of late able to attack.

All three have contributed and it was Rehman's turn today. Getting fair turn and big bounce, he ripped out Lendl Simmons, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Marlon Samuels in an 11-over stretch from tea till drinks.

Bravo showed the first real signs of life in the hosts across an afternoon of confident work. Just before tea, two sixes off Rehman provided moments of rare, frozen beauty. The going after tea was sedate, though not entirely uncomfortable. A couple of cuts, in front of and behind square, confirmed the elegance of his game and a fourth fifty near the close was well-deserved.

A change of pace at the death brought his downfall, however, and the day was fully Pakistan's.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Osman Samiuddin Osman spent the first half of his life pretending he discovered reverse swing with a tennis ball half-covered with electrical tape. The second half of his life was spent trying, and failing, to find spiritual fulfillment in the world of Pakistani advertising and marketing. The third half of his life will be devoted to convincing people that he did discover reverse swing. And occasionally writing about cricket. And learning mathematics.
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