2nd Test: Pakistan in driver’s seat

Image credits: Twitter Pakistan Cricket

Pakistan look poised to level the series by winning the second Test against hosts West Indies.

The day saw the Windies’ top order fall like a pack of cards against Pakistan’s pace cartel on Day 4.

Shaheen Shah Afridi has led the attack from the front in the first innings, taking out both openers before the day’s play as WI finished at 39/3.

He caught Kieran Powell on the pads and later uprooted WI captain Kraigg Brathwaite’s stump with an inswinger.

Faheem Ashraf dismissed Roston Chase with a gem of a delivery.

With the best batters of the Windies’ line-up back in the hut, all eyes are on Pakistani bowlers now.

Trailing by 263 runs with two days in hand, Babar Azam’s men have the opportunity to enforce follow-on by wrapping up the hosts early on Day 4.

Fawad Alam conquers the Caribbean

Fawad Alam has been on a remarkable run ever since his comeback. He came to bat at 2/3 with captain Babar Azam and went unbeaten on 124* when Pakistan declared the innings at 302/9.

The lefty registered his fifth Test ton playing in only his 13th game.

Alam has become the sixth Pakistani to score a ton at Sabina Park.

The 35-year-old has beaten the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Sourav Ganguly and Sunil Gavaskar to become the fastest Asian to make five centuries.

It took Alam only 22 innings to achieve the milestone.

At the end of the day’s play, the Pakistani batsman reflected on the tricky Carribean conditions that forced him to declare his batting on Day 3.

“It was challenging. The conditions weren’t easy on Day 1, the heat, it was humid and hot. And we were 2 for 3 so we needed to come back, had to build partnerships,” he said.

“That’s what I and Babar did on the first day. I am very happy right now. Whenever you score a century for your country, you feel proud and that’s exactly what I’m feeling right now. I make things very simple.

“My dad always motivated me and told me to just perform and my time will come one day. I just waited for my time and kept focusing on performing.”

Even former WI captain Jason Holder was all praise for Alam’s determination and patience.

“Fawad showed us how to play, very patient. That partnership between him and Babar was very crucial,” Holder said.

Seales continues to impress

Jayden Seales is only 19, but his bowling makes him look like a veteran pacer.

The teenager has carried on his good form in the second Test as well.

He was declared Man of the Match in the first Test for his eight wickets and to help WI cross the line.

His crucial stay at the crease with Kemar Roach won Windies the game by a wicket.

Seales shared three wickets apiece in the second Test with Roach.

The right-arm pacer dismissed opener Imran Butt, Faheem Ashraf and Shaheen Afridi.

Holder talks ground conditions

The day’s play came to a halt soon after both teams entered the day, primarily because there was a huge damp patch in way of bowlers’ run-up.

“Start of play, it was quite wet still. The surface was quite unstable. When I walked through I could feel the ground shifting, and running through was very hard. As I ran wider, it was easier on the foot. The surface wasn’t as loose,” the former WI captain said.

“Generally I was pretty happy with the way I bowled, consistent as usual. Would have liked a few more wickets upfront, but didn’t happen.”

Pakistan 302 for 9 dec & 176 for 6 declared lead West Indies 150 (Bonner 37, Blackwood 33, Afridi 6-51, Abbas 3-44) by 328 runs


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