At Dubai, October 13-17, 2016 (day/night). Pakistan won by 56 runs. Toss: Pakistan. Test debuts: Babar Azam, Mohammad Nawaz.
It was hard to know what to make of cricket's second day/night Test. There was a triple century, 17 wickets for leg-spin, a fourth-day collapse, and a valiant hundred in a big chase. Yet the public barely bothered: the first evening drew a crowd of around 600 and, even as Azhar Ali inched towards 300, the second day - a Friday, and therefore a public holiday - fared little better. The game sprang into life towards the end, though only a handful were there to watch it.
An hour into the fourth day, Pakistan were in control, dismissing West Indies for 357 to earn a lead of 222. Misbah-ul-Haq decided against the follow-on, reasoning his bowlers needed a rest after 124 overs in the field. But they were soon back at the coalface: Pakistan collapsed to 121 for eight by dinner and, soon after, left a target of 346. Bishoo was responsible, taking eight for 49 with his leg-spin, the best by a visiting bowler in Asia, beating Lance Klusener's eight for 64 at Calcutta in 1996-97. He bowled well, taking a couple with classic bits of deception on a pitch that belatedly gave prodigious, if slow, turn. But Pakistan played him terribly: six of his wickets came from outright errors in the hunt for quick runs.
Bishoo outshone his counterpart, Yasir Shah, who had created his own bit of history earlier in the day. By bowling Miguel Cummins, he collected his 100th wicket in his 17th Test - the joint-second-fastest to the mark, one slower than George Lohmann. It was also his seventh Test five-for. All told, West Indies handled him well: his seven victims in the game cost 234. But it was his one wicket on the final evening that sealed the match. Left-handed, lovely of shot, and bearing down on an unlikely target, Darren Bravo appeared to be fulfilling the prophecies written of him early in his career, when he was compared to Brian Lara. Then a loopy leg-break caught the inner half of his bat as he attempted another cover-drive. The ball went to the left of Yasir, who flew as if saving a penalty and grabbed it with both hands.
Sixth out, with West Indies 83 short of their target, Bravo had faced 249 balls for his 116, and survived six-and-three-quarter hours; it was his eighth Test hundred, and his seventh outside the Caribbean. Holder, the captain, batted on manfully, and West Indies held out for their longest fourth innings in Asia, beating 105.1 overs at Calcutta in 1978-79. But two run-outs ended their resistance, and gave Pakistan a win in their 400th Test with only 12 overs left.
Nothing on three soporific days had hinted at a gripping finish. Misbah is rarely happy with the surfaces in the UAE, and this one did nothing to cheer him up. From ball one, it was slow, low and straight - not a friend to any bowler. That rather dampened the magnitude of Azhar's triple-hundred - the fourth for Pakistan (following Hanif Mohammad in 1957-58, Inzamam-ul-Haq in 2002 and Younis Khan in 2008-09), and only the third against West Indies (following England's Andy Sandham in 1929-30, and Hanif). Dropped in the gully on 17 by Johnson off Cummins, he put on 215 with Sami Aslam - the highest opening stand in UAE Tests - 137 with Asad Shafiq, and 165 with debutant Babar Azam. Azhar's score, another UAE best, lasted 469 balls and almost 11 hours, buttressing a score of 579 for three, yet another record in the Emirates.
He provided few frills, hitting only 23 fours and two sixes. Fans in Sharjah had booed him during the one-day series - fallout from his leadership of a side that had been in sharp decline over the previous three years. But Tests are his natural habitat, and this mammoth effort provided great satisfaction, even if few were there to share it.
Man of the Match: Azhar Ali.