Pakistan v West Indies, 1st Test, Day 3 - 5 Talking Points

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Pakistani bowler Wahab Riaz celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of West Indies batsman Jermaine Blackwood. (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Darren Bravo’s gritty 87 and Marlon Samuels’ counter-attacking 76 helped West Indies to gain a bit of momentum in the match and finish at 315/6. The day could have ended on a better note had Wahab Riaz late flurry of bouncers not claimed Jermaine Blackwood and Roston Chase in the final session. The Windies are still 264 runs away of Pakistan’s mammoth total at stumps on Day 3 of the Day-night Test at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Saturday.

1. Darren Bravo fights back:

Darren Bravo was the star of the day for West Indies. The left-hander, who has a special love for slow pitches, hit a well-compiled 87 runs knock stretched over 258 runs. This really slow knock was the highlight of day 2.

Resuming to bat on his overnight score of 14, Bravo put up a solid show with the bat to make the Pakistan bowlers work hard for success while at the same time keeping the West Indies scoreboard healthy. His vital partnerships with Marlon Samuels and Jermaine Blackwood were the key reason behind the respectable team total which West Indies was able to manage at the end of the day.

This knock also represents Bravo’s love for the slow tracks. While other find it really difficult to cope on such pitches, Bravo has so far scored 1391 runs in 26 innings in Asia. No other batsman has a better tally than him.

2. Samuels contributes in the resistance:

While Bravo dug in from one, the counter-attacking Samuels also made his contribution to the resistance. Coming in to bat at No. 4, the right-hander struck a superb 76 run knock and formed an 113 run stand with Bravo, the biggest partnership of the day, and kept West Indies in the contest.

He scored at a far better rate than his left-handed partner. He was properly tested by Yasir Shah and the fast bowlers but whenever the opportunity arose, he made sure he pounced on it. His opportunist behaviour reflects in the boundaries column which has 13 hits to the fence.

3. Azhar hurts his hand:

Azhar Ali learned a very good bowling lesson yesterday – Never bowl a juicy full toss to an aggressive batter. The right-hander, who dominated the first two days of the test with mammoth batting performance, had to leave the field after getting struck on his bowling hand by Marlon Samuels.

The blame for the injury can be put on the bowler. Ali, who bowls part-time leg-spin, made a mistake by bowling a full toss Samuels in the 56th over. The West Indian, obviously, could not resist and step out of the crease to whack the ball straight back to Azhar.

The ball was hit forcefully but Azhar attempted to catch the ball. Unfortunately, the ball had too much force and flew off his hand. The tough chance went down and Ali was left with a painful hand. The physio had to rush in immediately who took him off the field after tending him.

4. Wahab Riaz pulls back with late wickets:

Left-arm fast bowler Wahab Riaz brought some respite for Pakistan who were made to hard to toil hard for gain on day three. Marlon Samuels and Darren Bravo along ith Jermaine Blackwood consumed most of the three sessions on day three and gave the Pakistanis very little opportunities to rejoice.

Going into the last session, West Indies were in sort of comfortable situation sitting at 211/3 with Bravo and Blackwood at the crease. Post-Supper, West Indies continued to bat in the same slow fashion and test the Pakistani bowlers. But, Wahab Riaz’s hostile spell with the second new ball saw him spoil West Indies’ hard-earned momentum.

Riaz snapped Samuels and Blackwood in back to overs to pull back West Indies and give the edge to Pakistan. He chose to use the short ball strategy and was eventually successful in getting the returns. Blackwood gloved an attempted pull to Sarfraz Ahmed behind the stumps while Roston Chase hit a well-directed bouncer to Azam at leg slip.

5. Yasir just three away from Ashwin’s record:

Leg spinner Yasir Shah was fabulous yesterday. After having given Pakistan their first breakthrough in the form of Leon Johnson on Day two, Yasir struck in his first over of the day to open Kraigg Brathwaite up and hit the top of off-stump. He proceeded to test Bravo from the around-the-wicket angle.

He spun the ball hard throughout the day and gave a few scare moments when he began hitting the rough. Day four will be quite exciting for Pakistani fans who will be eagerly hoping to see him snap at least three out of the four remaining West Indies’s batsman. A five wicket haul in this innings help him overtake Ravichandran Ashwin and become the fastest Asian bowler to hundred Test wicket.

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