Pakistan regain control after Lara blitz
For the third time this season - and the second at Kensington Oval - Brian Lara hit a scintillating century to haul West Indies back into contention in the first Test against Pakistan. Shivnarine Chanderpaul made an equally important, if much less dynamic, 92 but the long West Indies tail folded in the late evening sunshine as Pakistan regained the initiative.
But Lara is not the only batsman on show who can take an attack apart. The West Indies attack were given a brief glimpse of the flashing blade they will face, on the second day, when Shahid Afridi played for the close in the only way he knows how - pulled a huge six onto the roof of the stand at deep mid-wicket.
However, the day was dominated by the Lara show - again. Against South Africa in Trinidad he made 196, after West Indies had been 13 for 2, and in Barbados scored 176 when they were 12 for 2. Both those matches ended in defeat, and this one might still despite Lara's best efforts, but he turns on the style when his team are in trouble.
Today, he walked to the crease with West Indies in a familiar pickle at 25 for 2, but immediately set about the Pakistan bowling, intent on rescuing another poor start by the top order. He was already scorching along at better than a run-a-ball at lunch, but in the afternoon session he really cut loose. He peppered the boundary all round the ground and by the time he fell, shortly before tea, he had faced just 120 balls.
He made a calculated attack on the Pakistani spinners - Danish Kaneria and Shahid Afridi - to such an extent that Kaneria was removed from the attack after eight expensive over as Younis Khan, Pakistan's stand-in captain, tried to restrain Lara.
The seamers were not exempt from the full force of Lara's bat, either, as he brought out his full array of drives, cuts and pulls. Anything seemed possible until he was bowled through the gate by Kaneria - after the legpsinner was bravely brought back into bowl - as Lara aimed another expansive drive through the covers. Kaneria deserves some plaudits for holding his nerve, a lesser bowler would have crumbled under such a powerful onslaught.
At the other end, watching the carnage unfold, was Chanderpaul. He provided his usual limpet-like support for Lara, working the singles, and being content to feed the strike, as they added 169 in just over 30 overs. When Lara was dismissed Chanderpaul had not struck a single boundary - his innings almost forgotten among Lara's dazzle.
However, Chanderpaul began to open his shoulders, realising there was very little batting left to support him. Courtney Browne was completely worked over by Shabbir Ahmed's outswing and inevitably edged to Kamran Akmal and Chanderpaul's lack of trust in the tail prove justified. From 336 for six, West Indies lost their last four wickets for nine runs as Abdul Razzaq and Kaneria proved too much.
Chanderpaul had, in fact, found an ally in Daren Powell and the pair added 49 but when Razzaq uprooted Powell's stumps the end was rapid. Chanderpaul, disappointingly, slapped a long-hop to cover from Kaneria as he tried to reach his century before the end of the innings. Despite the punishment Kaneria received he picked up the two top-scorers and preserved well. The pick of the Pakistan attack, though, was Shabbir, who produced probing spells of outswing throughout the day, especially in the morning session when he rocked West Indies' top order.
Chris Gayle was caught trying to play an expansive drive at Shabbir, who then had Ramnaresh Sarwan taken at second slip by Bazid Khan as he was squared-up by a perfect outswinger. This form of dismissal happens too often to Sarwan, although Shabbir deserves plenty for working the batsman over.
So Lara entered in a familiar position, with West Indies needed another big contribution from him. He soon lost Smith and with West Indies so low on confidence another wicket could have been terminal, but West Indies made it to lunch without further loss. Lara has always considered attack the best form of defence and when he emerged for the afternoon session he produced yet another of his amazing displays of batting. While there is Lara, there is always hope in West Indies cricket.
Chris Gayle c Razzaq b Shabbir 4 (12 for 1)
Flat-footed drive to mid off
Ramnaresh Sarwan c Bazid b Shabbir 6 (25 for 2)
Squared up, edged low to third slip
Devon Smith c Hameed b Razzaq 19 (45 for 3)
Regulation edge to first slip
Brian Lara b Kaneria 130 (214 for 4)
Bowled through the gate playing an expansive cover-drive
Wavell Hinds run out (Akmal) 28(263 for 5)
Going for second to fine leg, keeper made direct hit at bowler's end
Courtney Browne c Akmal b Shabbir 12 (287 for 6)
Outside-edge from well-pitched outswinger
Daren Powell b Razzaq 10 (336 for 7)
Quicker ball, beaten all ends up
Shivnarine Chanderpaul c Bazid b Kaneria 92 (336 for 8)
Carved long-hop to cover
Reon King c Kamran b Razzaq 3 (343 for 9)
Fidel Edwards c Hameed b Kaneria 3 (345 all out)
Edged defensive push to first slip
Andrew McGlashan is editorial assistant of Cricinfo