West Indies will have to win a match from here to gain their confidence back    Getty Images
West Indies will have to win a match from here to gain their confidence back Getty Images

A dominant Pakistan side is all set to take on West Indies in the second Test of the series. The match is scheduled to be played at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi. It will be the decider as Pakistan have already won the first Test with a margin of 56 runs and will look to maintain their performance and win yet another match to win the Test series straight away. Pakistan have been clinical in the tour, winning all the matches so far and it is important for West Indies to win a match from here and gain their confidence back. Full Cricket Scorecard: Pakistan vs West Indies 1st Test at Dubai

West Indies have massively struggled in UAE in front of Pakistan spin attack. They failed to put up any match-winning team performance which resulted in a one-sided tour. The visitors have blamed the sacking of coach Phil Simmons as one of the reasons but the performance. Pakistan started off by winning the three-match Twenty20 International (T20I) series 3-0 and followed the performance up with a 3-0 clean sweep in One-Day Internationals (ODIs) before getting into the Test series and winning the opener.

Pakistan put up a brilliant performance with the bat in the first Test. The silver lining of the Test was Azhar Ali’s performance. Azhar has not been in runs for a long time now and with the performance in the first Test marked his comeback. Both Pakistan openers joined hands to give their team a solid start. Sami Aslam scored a very good 90 but it was Azhar who stole the show with his tripple-hundred. Azhar remained unbeaten at 302 till the end of the match. Asad Shafiq at No. 3 scored 62 and Babar Azam scored 69. All of it helped Pakistan put up a target of 580 for 3 as skipper Misbah-ul-Haq declared their innings. Devendra Bishoo was the most successful bowler for West Indies with 2 wickets while the only other successful bowler was Roston Chase with a single wicket.

Batting for West Indies, it was Darren Bravo along with Marlon Samuels who played good knocks in reply to what the hosts had put up. West Indies put up 357 and batting in the second innings Pakistan added 123 powered by Sami Aslam’s 44. Bravo scored a century in the fourth innings but did not get enough support to take his team to victory. All the Pakistan bowlers came into action to cause the destruction while it was a Bishoo show for West Indies as he took 8 wickets in the second innings.

Though Pakistan have an upper hand in the game, West Indies have been better in the Test match than their previous performances and have all the elements to win one match from here. As the match is all set to take place, here are the key battles that one can expect.

Azhar Ali vs Darren Bravo: After the exceptional performance by the Pakistan opener, all eyes will be on Azhar to perform once again. Azhar is also one of the most experienced batsmen up the order and he is the one who is expected to take the calls between him and Sami Aslam, the other opener in different situations. Azhar will have to score big again as that will ensure a good total and will make the start strong. On the other hand is Darren Bravo, who plays a similar role in the West Indies team. West Indies have a lot of young players and one thing that they need is players who have experience of playing in conditions which support spin. Bravo is also the most consistent of the players in the side and will have to score big for his team to carry on with the note.

Roston Chase vs Mohammad Nawaz: Among the young guns is Roston Chase who, in the limited time that he has played for West Indies, has proved himself to be one of the best recent day picks of the side. The all-rounder has consistently performed with both bat and ball even in conditions when players experienced than him failed and has become a regular member of the squad. Mohammad Nawaz is currently in a similar state in the Pakistan team but he, somehow, has more competitions than Chase. Imad Wasim has performed exceptionally well as a bowling all-rounder and for Nawaz to cement his spot, the Tests are his chance to prove his importance. Both the players will have to perform up to everyone’s expectations to stay in the their respective sides and make their sides win.

Yasir Shah vs Devendra Bishoo: It has been the spinners’ game in UAE and all the players who have been successful on the tour, have utilised the conditions well, which is the most important part. Yasir Shah is one of the most talented spinners in the world currently as his game suggests. Bishoo also belongs to the same league and he has already shown what he can do with the ball, taking 10 wickets in the previous Test. It will be a competition between to see who gets more wickets between the two.

(Paulami Chakraborty, a singer, dancer, artist, and photographer, loves the madness of cricket and writes about the game. She can be followed on Twitter at @Polotwitts)

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