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Windies facing tall order after Powell’s error

August 24, 2021

Kieran Powell’s negligence cost West Indies late in the day but the home side avoided the now familiar top order turmoil, to give themselves a fighting chance on Tuesday’s  final day of the second Test against Pakistan.

Set 329 to win after Pakistan dominated Monday’s fourth day, West Indies ended on 49 for one in their second innings, still requiring a further 280 from the 98 overs scheduled.

At one stage, it appeared as if Powell and Brathwaite (17 not out) would take West Indies safely to the close, denying Pakistan that vital wicket but a moment of sloppiness led to Powell’s run out with the partnership having yielded 34.

Brathwaite drove Hasan Ali sweetly through cover and should have easily collected three runs but Shaheen Shah Afridi’s direct hit at the striker’s end found Powell mindlessly ambling through the crease for the third run with his bat not grounded.

The left-hander, fighting for his place after scores of 0, 4 and 5 in the series, made 23 off 41 deliveries in just over an hour and struck three fours.

Brathwaite and nightwatchman Alzarri Joseph, unbeaten on eight, then survived the last half-hour to frustrate Pakistan’s bowlers and set up a fascinating final day.

Afridi had earlier snatched a career-best six for 51 as West Indies, starting the day on 39 for three, were bundled out for 150 in their first innings, half-hour after lunch.

Left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi snatched a career-best six-wicket haul.

The outstanding 21-year-old left-arm pacer picked up four of the seven wickets to fall, inspiring a West Indies collapse which saw them lose their last six wickets for 45 runs.

Nkrumah Bonner battled for his top score of 37 while vice-captain Jermaine Blackwood got 33 and Jason Holder, 26, but with seamer Mohammad Abbas (3-44) providing superb support, the hosts once again found life difficult.

Joseph, who ironically also entered as nightwatchman the previous evening and was yet to score, fell in the morning’s fourth over for four, snared low down at third slip by captain Babar Azam off Afridi, with only six runs added.

Bonner and Blackwood, both Jamaicans, then produced the best stand of the innings when they added 60 for the fifth wicket.

Though tentative and never suggesting permanence, Bonner struck half-dozen fours – some of them streaky – off 116 balls in a shade over three hours after resuming the morning on 18.

Blackwood, meanwhile, was more assured, also punching six fours in a breezy 50-ball knock which lasted 1-¾ hours.

Abbas eventually got the breakthrough with the fifth ball after the drinks breaks – in the first over of his second spell of the morning – when he removed Bonner and Kyle Mayers to catches at the wicket off successive deliveries.

For Mayers, it was his third straight ‘duck’ in the series following his ‘pair’ in last week’s first Test.

With four runs added in the next over, Afridi got Blackwood to fend a short ball to gully where Fawad Alam ran to his right to complete a brilliant diving catch, and Abbas hit Joshua Da Silva (6) plumb in front, to leave West Indies tottering at lunch on 123 for eight.

Unbeaten on eight at the interval, Holder counter-attacked afterward to lash two fours and sixes before falling in the fourth over following the resumption, drawn into a false stroke by Afridi and nicking a regulation catch behind.

Afridi accounted for the last wicket of Kemar Roach for eight, Babar Azam hauling in a one-handed catch at mid-on.

Armed with a lead of 152, Pakistan chased quick runs to rattle up 176 for six declared in their second innings, with opener Imran Butt and Abid Ali putting on 70 off just 57 deliveries in a busy opening stand.

Butt struck 37 off 44 deliveries with five fours while Abid Ali belted half-dozen fours in 29 from 23 balls before steering fast bowler Joseph to substitute Shai Hope at gully.

Butt put on a further 20 runs for the second wicket with Azhar Ali (22) before scooping medium pacer Mayers high to Bonner at point, and Azhar Ali faced 30 balls and counted three fours before falling on the stroke of tea, top-edging a sweep off Brathwaite’s harmless off-spin to Blackwood at short fine leg.

On 107 for three at tea, captain Babar Azam carried his side afterwards, lashing a four and a six in his 41-ball 33 in a 38-run, fourth wicket stand with Hasan Ali who lashed two sixes in an 11-ball 17, after being promoted in the order.

With the Pakistanis chancing their arms, Joseph (2-24) and Holder (2-26) grabbed two wickets apiece before the inevitable declaration came 53 minutes after tea.

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