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Fawad, Afridi hand Pakistan control of second Test

August 23, 2021

Fawad Alam’s fifth Test hundred frustrated West Indies before left-arm seamer Shaheen Shah Afridi snatched a brace of wickets to rock their top order, as Pakistan put the home side on the ropes to set up an intriguing penultimate day of the second Test at Sabina Park.

Following the abandonment of Saturday’s second day due to rain, Pakistan converted their overnight 212 for four into 302 for nine, before declaring 35 minutes after tea on a truncated day’s play in Jamaica on Sunday.

The left-handed Fawad struck an unbeaten 124, resuming his innings on 76 after retiring from heat exhaustion, 20 minutes after tea on Friday’s opening day.

Mohammad Rizwan made 31 and Faheem Ashraf got 26 as Pakistan lost five wickets for 90 runs, with fast bowlers Jayden Seales (3-31) and Kemar Roach (3-68) finishing with three scalps apiece, and Jason Holder supporting with two for 46.

Faced with 27 overs at the back end of the final session, West Indies tumbled to 39 for three at the close, still 263 runs adrift, with captain Kraigg Brathwaite (4), opening partner Kieran Powell (5) and Roston Chase (10) already gone.

The 21-year-old Afridi once again proved West Indies’ nemesis, removing Powell and Brathwaite in successive overs with only nine runs on the board, before seamer Faheem Ashraf accounted for Chase’s wicket to leave the West Indies innings in shambles.

Nkrumah Bonner was unbeaten on 18 at the close with nightwatchman Alzarri Joseph surviving 16 deliveries without scoring.

“I think it’s a new ball wicket. If you can get past the new ball with little damage, it’s a very good track to bat on,” Holder said in a post-match interview.

“Fawad obviously showed us how to apply ourselves. He was very, very patient.

“In these kinds of situations trying to see off a day becomes quite tricky for batters, and the new ball will definitely count in these kinds of conditions.

“I expect tomorrow when the sun comes out and everything is pretty much even, [the pitch] should level off and settle down.”

Only eight balls were possible in the first session following a delayed start due to a wet outfield, as a damp spot in the bowlers’ run-up forced play to be suspended and an early lunch taken at 11:30 am (12:30 pm Eastern Caribbean time), with Pakistan failing to add.

When play finally resumed at 1 pm, West Indies kept Pakistan quiet but Faheem and Rizwan added a further six runs to complete their fifty partnership before Seales removed Faheem in his first over, half-hour after the interval, trapping the left-hander lbw after he had added just three to his overnight 23.

Holder then set Pakistan back even further when he knocked over Rizwan lbw and then had Nauman Ali caught at the wicket without scoring, with the first deliveries after the first drinks break, to leave the visitors stumbling on 231 for seven.

However, Fawad returned to the crease at the fall of Faheem’s wicket to put on 36 for the eighth wicket with Hasan Ali (9) before adding 35 for the ninth with Afridi (19), to gather precious runs for the visitors.

All told, Fawad faced 213 balls in just under 6-¼ hours and struck 17 fours, reaching three figures by pulling medium pacer Kyle Mayers through mid-wicket for a couple.

Unbeaten at tea on 111 with Pakistan on 273 for eight, Fawad increased the Windies’ frustration afterward before the declaration came.

Any hopes West Indies entertained of a sound start were then quickly dashed when Afridi hit Powell plumb in front and then rattled Brathwaite’s stumps with a swinging, full-length delivery in his next over.

Chase faced 24 balls and struck a four and a six – back-to-back strokes off Afridi’s fourth over – before Faheem jagged one back to hit the right-hander’s middle stump with the third delivery of his first spell.

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