Brathwaite, Holder put West Indies in charge

Pakistan 281 and 32 for 0 (Azhar 16*, Aslam 15*) trail West Indies 337 (Brathwaite 142*, Chase 50, Wahab 5-88) by 24 runs
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Kraigg Brathwaite brought up his fifth Test century in the first over of the day © Getty Images

Kraigg Brathwaite’s unbeaten 142 off 318 made him the fifth West Indies batsman to carry his bat through a Test innings and helped his side to post 337 on day three in Sharjah. West Indies thereby climbed up to a handy 56-run first-innings lead, before Pakistan’s openers eased their way to 32 without loss by tea.

Brathwaite was a paragon of patience and concentration for the majority of his marathon knock. His temperament was matched by an ability to work ones and twos to all corners of the ground. Though all but one of his 11 fours came behind the wicket, perhaps owing to the slow outfield, he scored pretty evenly all around the field thanks to his ability to manoeuvre the ball into gaps and rotate the strike.

Brathwaite resumed on 95 on the third morning, but he made that 99 after the very first ball of the day, helping a slightly wide delivery from Mohammad Amir between gully and point. On the fifth ball of that over, Brathwaite worked one away for a two through midwicket to bring up his fifth Test century.

His captain and overnight batting partner, Jason Holder, started promisingly, looking solid in defence and playing a couple of sumptuous drives for four. The first, off left-armer Wahab Riaz, was a straight drive to a delivery angled into him from around the wicket. He kept his balance perfectly and timed the ball sweetly, beating mid-on to his left. The second, off Amir, was a gorgeous drive through the extra-cover region off a ball that was angled across him.

But Holder’s dismissal came immediately after that second boundary. Amir, also a left-armer, changed the angle by going around the wicket and attacking the stumps. Holder misjudged the line, shouldered arms and had his off stump rattled.

That wicket notwithstanding, neither fast bowler was able to get much from the second new ball, which had been taken immediately. After the 87th over, Zulfiqar Babar and Yasir Shah were brought on to bowl in tandem.

However, it was left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz, introduced in the 96th over for just his fifth over of the match, who created the next two chances – in the space of four balls. First, he got Brathwaite to attempt a cut at one that was too straight. The ball bounced more than Brathwaite had expected and he got a thin edge to wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed, who fumbled it onto the grille of his helmet before it fell to ground. Then, off the last ball of the over, Devendra Bishoo swept onto his pad to Azhar Ali at short leg, but he, too, fumbled it onto the grille of his helmet before taking the catch. While Michael Gough gave it out on the field, Bishoo reviewed and third umpire Richard Illingworth spotted the infraction.

By that time, West Indies had taken the lead, and Brathwaite and Bishoo continued to build an eighth-wicket partnership that steadily extended it. Bishoo was more than adequate in the pair’s 60-run stand, mirroring some of the grit that Brathwaite had shown in spades. But he was the first to depart after lunch, nicking behind off the bowling of Wahab. Wahab then accounted for Alzarri Joseph and Shannon Gabriel to wrap up the West Indies innings and claim his second five-wicket haul in Tests.

Pakistan openers Sami Aslam and Azhar Ali then breezed through to tea without much trouble on a pitch that still looked good for batting.

Sirish Raghavan is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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