West Indies v Pakistan, 2nd Test, Bridgetown, 3rd day May 2, 2017

Azhar and Misbah fashion 81-run lead


West Indies 312 and 40 for 1 trail Pakistan 393 (Azhar 105, Misbah 99, Gabriel 4-81, Holder 3-42, Bishoo 3-16) by 41 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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'I deserved Misbah's wicket' - Holder

A slow but steady hundred from Azhar Ali, and Misbah-ul-Haq's 99, ensured Pakistan tightened their grip on the Bridgetown Test. After they secured a lead of 81 in response to West Indies' 312 on a deteriorating pitch, fast bowler Mohammad Abbas had Kieran Powell caught behind. West Indies ended the day trailing by 41.

The hosts had built up some momentum before tea, when they claimed three wickets for 13 runs, but they squandered it by allowing Pakistan's tailenders to make sizeable contributions in a game where batting in the second innings is expected to get significantly harder.

Jason Holder bowled an incisive spell, and along with Shannon Gabriel, had Pakistan seven down at tea for a lead of 17. Any hope of bowling them out swiftly, however, were dismissed by wayward bowling at the start of the final session. West Indies gave away three sets of byes that went for four down leg side. They were runs that, in this context, were such a gift they might as well have had a bow on them.

In all Pakistan added 64 runs, of which Yasir Shah scored 24. With Gabriel and Holder chipping away, Pakistan's lead had not become unassailable but the early loss of Powell meant West Indies would begin day four on the back foot.

The third day had begun with Misbah and Azhar in survival mode, scoring 54 runs in 26 overs on a pitch too slow to offer encouragement to the quicks. The likeliest route to a breakthrough was through the cracks spread across a misbehaving surface with variable bounce.

The second session was more lively, as if the teams had an epiphany over lunch that Test cricket in 2017 was supposed to be different to the kind they had displayed in the morning. Misbah was responsible for the injection of pace into the innings as Pakistan's batsmen looked more comfortable against spin at both ends.

Misbah broke the shackles when he swung freely for a six over long-on. The Pakistan captain looked good for a hundred, after being stranded on 99 in Kingston. However, he fell agonisingly on the same score again when a Holder delivery reared up to smash his gloves and loop to gully. What followed was a manic 20 minutes in which Pakistan went from 316 for 4 to 329 for 7.

Azhar brought up his 13th Test hundred shortly after, with a cut past backward point for four. However, Devendra Bishoo was beginning to find his range, and beat Azhar's bat from around the wicket on more than one occasion. Eight overs in, he found the outside edge with a sharp legbreak, breaking a 98-run partnership that took over 42 overs.

Misbah, though, continued to play in a liberated mood, sweeping well and even bringing out the reverse sweep to neutralise the spinners' leg-stump line. As a result, the runs began to flow, with 67 runs coming off 15 overs of spin. By then, Pakistan were ticking off milestones: the 300, the 50-partnership between Asad Shafiq and Misbah, and then going past West Indies' first-innings total.

However, it will be the one that got away - by one run yet again - that will likely remain memorable, as Misbah became the first man in Test cricket to have three scores of 99.

The mini-collapse that followed Misbah's dismissal was West Indies' best spell of the game so far. If they are to fight back once again during this Test, they will have to produce a better one with the bat on the fourth day.

Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • espn70744550 on May 3, 2017, 18:50 GMT

    great fight back by the windies only question is if there will be enough time to get all ten wickets tomorrow and in the time metman and others you guys need to bashing players who are not from your island . west indies cricket was great because of the mix of players from the different islands and no single territory can be successful going it alone

  • SamRoy on May 3, 2017, 16:24 GMT

    Test Cricket is not for inconsistent but very exciting bowlers like Shadab. He needs to learn to be consistent and a bit boring. Unless you are a Warne or Murali you need to be a bit boring. On this current state of pitch an extremely boring bowler like Ravindra Jadeja would have knocked WI over for about 100 and Pakistan for about 130.

  • Cricinfouser on May 3, 2017, 16:14 GMT

    WHNS when and where would Kyle Hope have played international cricket? Please tell me you meant a super 50 maych

  • Mohammad Zamin on May 3, 2017, 16:12 GMT

    Oh oh, looks like West Indies have rallied back. Pak look like they will be chasing a huge total.

  • Metman on May 3, 2017, 15:47 GMT

    @RALLY_WINDIES ...obviously an omission but what is the big deal ? it only means that Gabriel bowled 62 more overs to get 23 more wickets...it doesn't change the fact that Gabriel has 91 NO BALLS to his credit and that he has MORE NO BALLS than RUNS plus WICKETS and you should also find out from the FABRICATOR mngc1 how much that cost the WI over the years.

  • espn70744550 on May 3, 2017, 15:39 GMT

    come on Jimmy teach these guys how to use their pads Padams windies need to keep on fighting lets that Hope is there til Lunch

  • cricfan1828755433 on May 3, 2017, 15:28 GMT

    I think WI win this test 1-1 if WI get 150 lead pakistan easily lose 5th day pitch very difcult for bat so looking WI winning position

  • WNHS on May 3, 2017, 15:26 GMT

    And there I go speaking too soon. Kraigg is gone before he can get to 50.

  • WNHS on May 3, 2017, 15:20 GMT

    Watching Kraigg bat I was mildly criticizing him for batting slow 25 from 77 at the time but then I remembered a certain Kyle Hope made 29 from 92...in an ODI. Anyways nice to see Kraigg inching toward a half century and I'll hold my thoughts on Shai Hope. I'll wait to see if he makes some runs. I also want to point out that our openers never bat in tandem, it's always one is making runs and the other isn't. Powell did decently so far in the series and Kraigg failed now Powell fails and Kraigg is doing well again.

  • MightrySparrow on May 3, 2017, 15:15 GMT

    Yet another WI overnight batter (Hetmyer) failed to add to his score. WI batters have to learn to avoid this and to build on what was accomplished the day before if the team is to improve and become reasonably competitive.

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