Pakistan on verge of victory in second Test

Pakistan bowler Tanvir Ahmed (C) celebrates after getting a wicket on West Indies Kraigg Brathwaite AFP

By Paul Mitchell

Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis: May 24, 2011

Hundreds from Taufeeq Umar and Misbah-ul-Haq followed by purposeful bowling led by Abdur Rehman had Pakistan on the verge of victory over West Indies in the second Test on Monday. Rehman captured three for 26 from 14 overs, as West Indies, in pursuit of 427 for victory, slumped to 130 for five in their second innings at stumps on the fourth day at Warner Park.

Left-hander Darren Bravo has been the only West Indies batsman that has come to terms with the Pakistani bowlers, hitting the top score so far of 50. Taufeeq had equalled his career-best of 135 and Misbah, the Pakistan captain, was undefeated on 102, as the visitors reached 377 for six in their second innings before they declared about 45 minutes after lunch.

Taufeeq struck 13 fours from 315 balls in close to seven hours batting, and Misbah stroked 10 fours and two sixes from 141 deliveries in close to four hours. Devendra Bishoo was the most successful West Indies bowler with two for 149 from 38 overs.

“It is really, really good to score a Test hundred as a captain because the team is always looking towards you for something special. For your own confidence, and the sake of the team, it is really important that you chip in and perform at all stages of the game. But we have not won the Test match yet. Until we have taken the final wicket, we have not won it yet. It’s still a game of cricket, and we have to finish the game, unless it’s half the job done,” Misbah said.

Tanvir Ahmed made an early breakthrough for the Pakistanis, leaving West Indies 54 for one at tea, when he bowled West Indies opener Kraigg Brathwaite for a duck in the third over of the innings.

After tea, the visitors made a huge charge for victory, with Rehman playing a leading role, with the wickets of Lendl Simmons and Ramnaresh Sarwan in the space of five deliveries. The Pakistan left-arm spinner had Simmons caught at second slip for 24, and Sarwan, the most experienced batsman in the West Indies line-up, was lbw playing back and across for a duck, a decision from New Zealand umpire Billy Bowden, which was changed after it was reviewed.

Rehman added the scalp of Marlon Samuels caught behind for six to leave West Indies 77 for four, but the Pakistanis met defiance from the left-handed pair of Bravo and West Indies vice captain Brendan Nash. The visitors spent over an hour working away on the West Indies pair before Bravo cracked under the pressure, and was lbw to left-arm fast bowler Wahab Riaz. He struck two fours and two sixes from 144 balls in close to three hours of batting.

Earlier, Pakistan jammed their foot down on the accelerator, anticipating the declaration after they reached 202 for three at lunch. Misbah reached his hundred from 141 balls, with a thick edge to third man off Ravi Rampaul for his last boundary to prompt the declaration.

Umar Akmal shared 62 with him for the sixth wicket before Bishoo bowled him for 30, and Mohammad Salman was caught at deep fine leg off Rampaul for eight before the declaration came. Pakistan trail 0-1 in the two-Test series, following a 40-run defeat inside four days in the first Test, which ended last Sunday at the Guyana National Stadium, crushing their dreams of a maiden Test series victory in the Caribbean.

Brief Scores: Pakistan 272 all out (Azhar Ali 67, Tanvir Ahmed 57; Ravi Rampaul 3 for 68, Devendra Bishoo 3 for 80) & Pakistan 377 for 6 dec (Taufeeq Umar 135, Misbah-ul-Haq 102*; Devendra Bishoo 2 for 149) lead West Indies 223 all out (Marlon Samuels 57, Ravi Rampaul 32*; Mohammad Hafeez 3 for 23, Saeed Ajmal 3 for 56, Abdur Rehman 2 for 55) & 130 for 5 (Darren Bravo 50, Brendan Nash 30*; Abdur Rehman 3 for 26, Tanvir Ahmad 1 for 10, Wahab Riaz 1 for 26) by 297 runs.