KINGSTON, JAMAICA; TUESDAY APRIL 25, 2017 – Pakistan took a giant stride towards winning their first-ever Test series in the Caribbean, after an efficient bowling performance helped ease to seven-wicket win in Kingston.
After Yasir Shah’s six-for in the second innings left Pakistan chasing 32, Misbah-ul-Haq, who walked in at the fall of Younis Khan’s wicket with the side needing eight, hit two successive sixes to complete the formalities.
Pakistan, emboldened by pushing West Indies to a tight corner last evening, spent the morning session closing in. They picked up six wickets for 59 as West Indies, resuming 93 for 4, were bowled out for 152.
Misbah was in no mood to experiment, getting his two best bowlers – Mohammad Amir and Yasir Shah – into the attack straight away. At perhaps no stage of the Test did a wicket look as imminent as it did in the first 10 overs.
Amir tormented nightwatchman Devendra Bishoo with an unwavering line outside off stump. Or perhaps it was the other way round, as Bishoo kept missing, somehow managing to keep his outside edge from making contact with the ball.
Lesser bowlers – or indeed, Amir with lower levels of confidence – may have been frustrated, but Amir kept plugging away, and was duly rewarded. Vishaul Singh had just cut a rare poor Amir delivery away for four, but the bowler’s comeback was destructive.
He went slightly wide of the crease to the left-hander, the ball shaping in sharply from the moment it pitched, destination: top of off. Singh, who had seen Amir move the ball the other way all morning, shouldered arms, and was every bit as much a spectator as everyone else when the off stump cartwheeled.
Yasir was menacing from the other end, getting sharp turn off what was beginning to look like a standard day-five pitch, but it was Mohamamd Abbas who struck the next damaging blows with two wickets off three balls.
Bishoo was the first to go, flashing at a short and wide delivery with Younis Khan pouching it in the slips. Two balls later, Shane Dowrich played across a straight ball that struck his pads in front of middle stump.
Wahab, who has had a slightly disappointing Test with the ball, then got into the act, removing Jason Holder, West Indies’ highest scorer in the first innings.
Yasir came in to clean up Shannon Gabriel within four balls of each other to take six wickets this Test match, bolstering his ever-burgeoning credentials as a lethal second-innings bowler. This was the fifth time two Pakistan bowlers had taken six wickets in a Test innings of a Test, and the first since 2002.
The chase of 32 was one perhaps not even Pakistan could stuff up, but they can’t be accused of not trying to make things interesting. Ahmed Shehzad tentatively pushed at the Gabriel delivery outside off stump for a simple catch to the wicketkeeper in the third over. Three balls later, Azhar Ali was making the walk back, having made a mess of trying to leave a ball from Joseph, only to somehow end up dragging it onto his stumps.
After lunch, Younis fell trying to work Bishoo to the leg side with the side two boundaries away. But Misbah needed just three balls to put West Indies out of their misery. Thirty-six for three may not look too clinical, but, as is so often the case, their bowlers had left the batsmen ample room for error.
(Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo)