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KINGSTON, JAMAICA: West Indian captain Kraigg Brathwaite’s 97 helped the hosts take lead over Pakistan on the second day of the first Test.
With assistance from former captain Jason Holder (58) in a crucial sixth-wicket stand of 96, the home team recovered from the distress of 100 for 5 to 251 for 8 at closing, a lead of 34 runs with two wickets in hand heading into the third day.
Starting the morning with his side already in difficulty at two for two, responding to the tourists’ first day total of 217, Brathwaite performed his usual sheet-anchor role to perfection.
That balance might have been firmly theirs only two balls later when Shaheen obtained a leg-before ruling against Holder before he had scored, only for the judgment to be reversed on review of the television video.
It provided a crucial respite as Holder’s innings, initially cautious against the quicker bowlers, flowered with the arrival of the infrequently-used wrist-spinner Yasir Shah.
Yet it was the deceptive speed of Faheem Ashraf which broke the partnership after tea just when Babar Azam’s side appeared to be running out of ideas.
Holder slipped a ball through to wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan to leave all attention focused on Brathwaite as he crawled towards what would have been his 11th Test century.
All that hard effort was undone by his own mistake of judgement.
As he turned a delivery from Yasir to short fine-leg, he chose to come back for a second run only for Hasan Ali’s straight hit to find him far short of his ground.
Brathwaite’s innings, after a string of low scores during his team’s difficulties in the two-Test series against South Africa in St Lucia two months previously, lasted six hours during which he faced 221 deliveries and hit 12 fours.
“I would have liked to have been there at the finish and to earn three figures, but it was my mistake and I have to take responsibility for it,” he added in reflecting on his effort.
“I would want us to show the same fight we showed today and when we start bowling again, we have to be focused and that should be the key.”
Pakistan’s hopes of a quick conclusion to the West Indies innings were foiled by Joshua da Silva.
He ensured the danger of the second new ball did not totally overwhelm the tail and enables the home team to continue on the third morning looking to increase what might already be an unpleasant deficit for their opponents.
Mohammad Abbas concluded day two with the wicket of Kemar Roach to lead the bowling performance for Pakistan with figures of three for 42. Completed day one with two wickets in two balls,
The phlegmatic opener put up 50 with overnight companion Roston Chase (21) for the third wicket, immediately followed by a partnership of 49 with Jermaine Blackwood.
However Blackwood’s demise to Shaheen Shah Afridi was followed next ball by the removal of Kyle Mayers, shifting the balance of the game in the Pakistan’s way.