For the first hour of play today, West Indies replicated Pakistan’s run-scoring model from the second day. They meandered along at a scoring rate of well less than two. Then there was a brief surge before Yasir Shah hit back with three wickets even as West Indies tried to attack to him. When lunch was taken, West Indies, resuming on 14 without loss, were tottering on 97 for 3.
Resolute defence from Kraigg Brathwaite and Kieron Powell – who registered West Indies’ highest opening partnership of the series – kept them at bay initially. It didn’t help Pakistan that the pitch was slow and the ball hardly moved, and batting looked easy, if not exciting.
The session came to life when Powell decided to take the attack to Yasir. After shuffling across and sweeping him to the vacant square leg boundary, he dragged a lofted hit to Azhar Ali at deep midwicket. Shimron Hetmyer came out with the same plan of not allowing Yasir to settle.
He drove Yasir for a boundary in the first over he faced him. Soon after, he dispatched a short delivery for six over deep midwicket. But the wily legspinner had the last laugh again, getting one to turn in sharply from the rough, kissing Hetmyer’s gloves with Sarfraz Ahmed taking a sharp catch. Pakistan may have not had the wicket had Sarfraz not confidently signalled for a review almost the moment umpire Bruce Oxenford adjudged not out.
Even so, West Indies still looked for scoring opportunities off Yasir, who conceded more than half the runs of the entire innings. It wasn’t that he was bowling poorly – a lot of his balls were perfect legspinners with sharp turn – but his consistency deserted him, prompting a rare reprimand from his captain Misbah-ul-Haq. Yet, it didn’t seem like he was far away from a wicket either.
That duly arrived in the last over before lunch when Brathwaite, who looked fairly comfortable up until then, jabbed at a delivery that spun away sharply to take the edge through to the wicketkeeper. The deadlock of the first hour was well and truly broken by then.