West Indies v Pakistan, 3rd Test, Roseau, 1st day May 10, 2017

Azhar, Babar fifties blunt West Indies


Pakistan 169 for 2 (Azhar 85*, Younis 10*, Chase 1-27) v West Indies
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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'Would have ideally wanted Pakistan four wickets down' - Coley

Pakistan eased into their comfort zone in the evening session of a truncated day's play in Roseau. They played as they like to - slow, solid, unremarkable - scoring at a run rate around 2.50 throughout the day, ending on 169 for 2 in 69 overs. Azhar Ali and Babar Azam looked settled for most parts, much more so than one would have expected after their team was thrust in to bat under gloomy skies. The late wicket of Babar gave West Indies something to cling to on at the end of a long day.

After the brighter evening skies allowed for an extended final session, Azhar and Babar resumed their dominance, but the lengthy break seemed to have taken much of the intensity out of the game. The scoring rate dropped and there was a palpable lull in proceedings as Pakistan inched along in conditions that looked to have improved for batting.

There was a slice of luck for Babar soon after play resumed, a perfect legspinner from Devendra Bishoo taking his outside edge on 28, only for Dowrich to put down a straightforward. Excitement elsewhere was in precious little supply as Azhar brought up his half-century soon after and Pakistan hit cruise control.

There was a massive scare for the West Indies early on in the session, with their ace bowler Shannon Gabriel heading off the field with a niggle. Much to their relief, however, he was able to make his way back soon after, and, despite remaining wicketless, was the pick of the bowlers, wielding an aura of control over proceedings that his fellow bowlers couldn't quite match.

Azhar Ali struck seven fours and two sixes in his 219-ball vigil on a truncated opening day © AFP

But it was Alzarri Joseph who provided the breakthrough towards the end of the day, with a fifth stump line that Babar couldn't quite decide whether to leave or play. He did neither in the end, and his bat jutted out indecisively. The ball caught the outside edge and carried through to slip, but not before he had scored 55 in a 120-run partnership that had put his side in a position of authority.

That heralded the most memorable moment of the day, as the West Indies players formed a guard of honour to allow Pakistan's next batsmen to pass through. Younis Khan strode in to respectful, almost reverent applause from the Dominica crowd before shaking Jason Holder's hand as a way of thanks, and then drawing him in with a warm embrace. With the niceties out of the way, West Indies brought their best bowler Gabriel back into the attack, knowing Younis' wicket could put an entirely different spin on proceedings. Pakistan's most prolific runscorer, however, stood firm, living to bat yet another day.

The first session, to borrow from a football cliché, was one of two halves with Pakistan scoring freely after the first hour, during which they managed just 19 runs in 13 overs for the loss of Shan Masood. The cloudy weather resembled much of the first Test, and Azhar Ali and Masood, replacing the ill Ahmed Shehzad, started tentatively against the late swing of Gabriel and Joseph. As the pair pounded away at the Pakistan side they had skittled for 81 less than a week earlier, the scoring rate wasn't of as much importance as the wickets column.

With the bowlers on top, it was surprising to see Holder introduce part-time offspinner Roston Chase into the attack as early as the ninth over. What was even more unexpected was the prodigious turn and bounce Chase extracted, beating the left-handed Masood's bat almost every ball. Masood's eventual dismissal was entirely in keeping with the events leading up to it, as he finally edged an offbreak that carried low to Jason Holder at second slip.

The run rate picked up sharply after the drinks interval, with Chase, who didn't concede a run in his first three overs, lofted for two sixes off consecutive overs by Azhar. With the left-hand batsman gone, Chase found himself unable to take advantage of the footmarks created by the fast bowlers, and his potency rapidly decreased.

By the time lunch was called, the tables had been turned almost completely, with the West Indies on the defensive as Pakistan tried to stamp their authority on a session they might have been dreading by the drinks break.

The rest of the day continued in much the same fashion, though with rain expected across the remaining four days of the Test, Pakistan will have to speed up their run rate if they are to prevail in a Test that would give them their first ever series win in the Caribbean.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • cricfan61646232 on May 11, 2017, 21:00 GMT

    Disappointing to see Abbass bowling 78 MPH preferred over Wahab Riaz. His 90 MPH would have been crucial on a dead pitch

  • cricfan20688740 on May 11, 2017, 19:22 GMT

    so what did pak got for their slow pace. nothing. because now sarfraz has no one to bat with. good job everyone. Asad needs to go back to domestic for a while. get fawad

  • Nkhan_USA on May 11, 2017, 17:22 GMT

    I am one of those who would be Happy that Misbah is retiring. He has harmed the soul of Pakistan Cricket.

  • Nkhan_USA on May 11, 2017, 17:21 GMT

    Pakistan Test Cricket is horrible. I wish they are demoted as a Test Team. They should be denied Test Status. They simply undeserving of Test Cricket Status.

  • cricfan61646232 on May 11, 2017, 17:07 GMT

    In two and half days Pak will score 400 runs. Next two days WI will score 180 & 290 and on fifth evening (un-playable pitch) Pak will fail to chase 70 runs and lose or draw the series. It will be purely Misbahs fault i.e. scoring 237 in 104 overs (himself 15 runs from 74 balls) in first innings

  • shehryar_ashraf on May 11, 2017, 16:14 GMT

    boring , dull batting. i for one, wont miss misbah when he is gone but will breathe a sigh of relief. hopefully things will change when whoever is the next captain (sarfraz) takes over

  • Usman Amjad on May 11, 2017, 16:04 GMT

    pakistan clearly win WI 4th inn impossible best world bowling line up survive if india bowler 4th inn then may be WI win or draw but this is class. bowling attack i dont not think so pakistan draw this

  • Nasar86 on May 11, 2017, 15:54 GMT

    1 run from 50 balls. What kind of a joke is this? This all misyou business is getting to me. We may miss u you in uae but outside Asia these 2 have performed poorly. Even i can make a lot of runs batting first on dead uae pitches.

  • jishrat on May 11, 2017, 15:53 GMT

    One 'tuk tuk' is out. The other is still in. At 15:40 GMT on the second day of third test match Misbah had the figures of 1 for 51. It will definitely go in the Guinness Book of Records. Guess who was responsible for the debacle in the second test. The batsmen, may be. They could not go past 181 in the fourth innings. No. It was none other than our retiring captain Misbah, Mr. 'tuk tuk'. In the first innings he had ample chance of accelerating the lead. Rather than 81 he could have had 181. That's what great cricketers do. Take lessons from the Australians. They go for results rather than draws. If the first innings lead was 181, then Pakistan would be required to do 81 for a win______possible.

  • swarzi on May 11, 2017, 15:49 GMT

    I thought that a man of Younis Khan's illustrious reputation as a test cricketer and person, he was very hard done by that doubtful decision this morning, especially in his final test match. I am sure that the overwhelming majority of people who were watching the line of that delivery would have thought that there was no certainty by even the umpire, that it was going to hit the wicket. And the very marginal hint of it touching the wicket as exposed by the DRS confirms this. I thought that under the circumstances, a man of Mr Khan's stature should have been given the benefit of the doubt. Let me hastily say, that I am not saying that Mr Khan is above the game, but I think that the trajectory of that delivery had provided enough doubt whereby a player who has given so much admirably service to the game, should not have been given out. His dismissal should have been a case where there is not a smidgen of doubt in the decision.

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