WI openers solid after Gabriel bowls Pakistan out for 452

Tea: West Indies 27 for 0 (Bravo 15*, Johnson 12*) trail (Pakistan 452 (Younis 127, Misbah 96, Shafiq 68, Sarfraz 56, Gabriel 5-96) by 425 runs
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Sarfraz Ahmed scored an enterprising 56 before he was bowled by a Shannon Gabriel rocket © Getty Images

Shannon Gabriel picked up his maiden five-wicket haul in Test cricket as West Indies bowled Pakistan out for 452 an hour after lunch on day two of the Abu Dhabi Test. Pakistan were 304 for 4 overnight, and had gone past 500 in their last three first innings at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, but Gabriel and Jason Holder prevented them from doing so again. They took two early wickets in the morning session, and then, after a 70-run seventh-wicket stand between Sarfraz Ahmed and Mohammad Nawaz, picked up the last four wickets in the space of 8.4 overs.

With just under an hour to bat out to tea, West Indies survived unscathed, and did so with some silken strokeplay along the way as Darren Bravo and Leon Johnson showed there was nothing yet in the pitch for batsmen to fear. Bravo, who hit three fours while moving to 15, opened the batting since Kraigg Brathwaite had spent too long off the field during Pakistan’s innings, meaning he could only go in to bat after a minimum of three minutes had elapsed in West Indies’ innings. At tea, West Indies were 27 for no loss.

Pakistan’s lower-order slump began in the second over after lunch, when Gabriel speared a reverse-swinging 152kph full-toss between Sarfraz’s bat and pad and hit the base of off stump. Sarfraz had just stroked him for two fours in four balls and moved past the half-century mark.

Another full, reverse-swinging delivery sent Nawaz back for 25 when he played across a Holder yorker from around the wicket, the ball ricocheting off his inside-edge onto boot and then into the stumps. Sohail responded to the loss of the last two recognised batsmen by going after Gabriel, barely moving his feet but timing his on-the-up drives and pulls crisply. He couldn’t quite middle an attempted pull off Holder, however, and he fell to a catch at midwicket.

A successful lbw review from Sohail had kept Gabriel waiting for his fifth wicket, but he didn’t have to wait too long before Zulfiqar Babar, failing to get fully forward to drive, sent a thin edge through to wicketkeeper Shai Hope.

West Indies took the second new ball at the start of the day’s play, and Gabriel struck in the fifth over of the morning. The last six times Misbah-ul-Haq has resumed his innings overnight, he has added no runs to his score four times, and just four on one occasion. Today he added six runs to his overnight 90 before Gabriel got one to seam back a touch and go past his inside edge as he looked to work the ball into the leg side. Misbah reviewed umpire Michael Gough’s decision to give him out, and had to walk back when ball-tracking returned an ‘umpire’s call’ judgment on whether the ball would have gone on to strike leg stump or not.

Yasir Shah, who walked in as nightwatchman on the first evening but didn’t get to face a single ball, played some pleasing shots in reaching 23 – his three fours including a straight drive and a wristy pull, both off Jason Holder – before pulling Holder straight to square leg.

Pakistan were in danger of losing some of the ground they had gained on day one, but in Sarfraz they had just the right batsman for the situation, with the ability to score quickly and put the bowling team back on the back foot. Moving around the crease and often out of it to disrupt the bowlers’ lines and lengths, he began finding the gaps and rotating the strike as soon as he walked in, usually with nimble flicks and deflections into the leg side.

Sarfraz didn’t hit any boundaries in his first 25 balls, but then hit two in two balls when Miguel Cummins tried to peg him back with the short ball, pulling him through square leg before helping him over the slips. Those were the last two balls of pace in the session. Spinners Devendra Bishoo and Roston Chase bowled the last 10 overs before lunch, and Pakistan comfortably milked 43 runs off them.

Nawaz, who made a duck in his only innings in his debut Test in Dubai, waited ten balls to get off the mark here, but didn’t show any urgency or nerves while doing so. The introduction of the spinners freed him up to an extent, and he brought up his first Test boundary in the fifth over before lunch with a rasping square cut off Chase.

Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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