West Indies on the verge of big win
West Indies enjoyed a magnificent day at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados, and had Pakistan running for cover, on the verge of defeat, at the end of the third day. Shivnarine Chanderpaul added an unbeaten 153 to his first-innings 92, and powered West Indies to 371, setting Pakistan an unlikely 573 for victory. From 1 for 2, to ending on 113 for 4 at stumps, forget the unlikeliest of victories, Pakistan were struggling just to find a way to eke out a draw. They still trail by 460.
If Bennett King, the West Indies coach, had written a script for his team to follow, it could not have been too different from the way things panned out. Bang on the stroke of tea they were bowled out, with more runs on the board than needed, and an inexperienced Pakistani batting line-up to bowl at. Fidel Edwards, hero of the first innings, combined with a diving Chris Gayle at second slip to strike, sending back Salman Butt before a run was scored.
But there was a spot of bother for West Indies as Edwards limped off the field in the middle of an over, with his right hamstring acting up again. Reon King stepped up to complete the over, and incredibly, another wicket fell. Yasir Hameed drove to cover, and sauntered down the pitch; the sprightly Younis Khan had already reached the other end, and Chanderpaul's lob hit the stumps at the bowler's end, sending Younis packing (2 for 1).
Darren Powell then stepped up to the plate, and produced a fine delivery - pitching on off and leaving the righthander - to tempt Hameed into edging to the wicketkeeper (16 for 3). West Indies' bowlers then lost their stride momentarily, spraying the ball a touch and struggling with no-balls, before a shower brought much-needed relief to Pakistan with the score on 46 for 3. It proved to be a false dawn. When the players came back out, after a break of close to an hour, Bazid Khan was trapped lbw by the second ball delivered. Corey Colleymore got a ball to jag back in off the seam, and Bazid was palpably lbw (47 for 4). Asim Kamal (38 not out) and Shahid Afridi (32 not out) then controlled the damage, taking Pakistan safely to stumps at 113 for 4.
But it was West Indies determined showing with the bat that set things up in the first place. Chanderpaul and Wavell Hinds shepherded the game through a dull first session, but did virtually everything they could to consolidate on the gains of the first two days. Barring the fact that Hinds (52) was bowled going for a big heave at the end of the session, West Indies barely put a foot wrong. They went from an overnight 168 for 4 to 271 for 5. Hinds had played his part, and though never dominating the bowling, bucked down well to stitch together a 134-run stand with Chanderpaul.
The fact that West Indies suffered a mini-collapse thereafter is of little relevance, other than that Pakistan's tired bowlers had something to show in the wickets column. Chanderpaul had already made the most of a situation tailormade for him. There was no hurry to score quickly, the pitch was not doing an awful lot, and bad balls were by no means in short supply. Why, for a change a West Indian tail-ender even stuck around - Edwards made a career-best 20 and shared in a 46-run partnership. In his uniquely unorthodox manner Chanderpaul biffed his way to 153, hitting 10 fours and 2 sixes in the process.
Pakistan's bowlers had suffered heavily. Rana Naved-ul-Hassan toiled hard, but only troubled batsmen when the ball was new and swung. Kaneria had been distinctly below par while Shahid Afridi and Abdul Razzaq did not quite have the firepower to make a dent in the top-order. They could do nothing to stop Chanderpaul, and West Indies, as they marched relentlessly towards victory.
How they were out
Salman Butt c Gayle b Edwards 0 (0 for 1)
Brilliantly caught at second slip after flashing at a full one
Younis Khan run out (Chanderpaul) 0 (1 for 2)
Left stranded attempting a quick one to cover
Yasir Hameed c Browne b Powell 11 (16 for 3)
Tickled one that was shaping away
Bazid Khan lbw b Colleymore 23 (47 for 4)
Caught on the crease by one that nipped back in
Devon Smith c Akmal b Razzaq 10 (59 for 1)
Tried to cut a ball too close and too short
Ramnaresh Sarwan c Akmal b Afridi 1 (64 for 2)
Bottom edge attempting to cut
Chris Gayle c Kamal b Kaneria 50 (65 for 3)
Bat-pad catch to short leg
Brian Lara st Akmal b Afridi 48 (137 for 4)
Just failed to slide his back foot over the line after missing attempted drive
Wavell Hinds b Kaneria 52 (271 for 5)
Attempted a big shot to a legbreak that spun in sharply
Courtney Browne c Akmal b Afridi 1 (274 for 6)
Outside-edged a sharp legbreak
Daren Powell b Naved-ul-Hasan 5 (307 for 7)
Lost his off stump to a peach that swung away late
Fidel Edwards c Akmal b Shabbir 20 (353 for 7)
Feathered a short one angled into his body
Reon King b Shabbir 5 (367 for 9)
Missed a straight yorker
Corey Collymore lbw b Razzaq 0 (371 for 10)
Deceived by a slower ball that was full and on middle stump
Anand Vasu is assistant editor of Cricinfo