Shannon Gabriel’s twin strikes put Pakistan on the back foot early on Getty Images

Win toss and elect to win Pakistan‘s story in UAE. The curators dished out another featherbed for the batsmen, for Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq elect to bat first against West Indies in the third and final Test at Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium. “It is important for you, especially in Tests, to play better than the previous one. Every game is important and you have to play for the sake of winning. The wickets won’t come easier and the bowlers will have a tough time,” Misbah said at the toss. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Pakistan vs West Indies, 2nd Test at Abu Dhabi

As a matter of fact, Misbah added another milestone to his remarkable resume, as he will captain Pakistan for the 49th time in the longest format, surpassing the legendary Imran Khan. “Team first, you just enjoy these milestones. The main goal is to win the Test match,” he added. On the hand, West Indies Jason Holder said, “It is important for us to be competitive. We have to definitely take our chances. We have shown glimpses and the mood has been good in the camp.” For that matter, West Indies have already lost the series 2-0 and will be aiming to end the series on a winning note.

All the same, the track produced fierce bounce early on, putting Pakistan on the back foot so much so that Shannon Gabriel sent Azar Ali and Asad Shafiq back to the pavilion in the very first over.

First to go was the triple-centurion Azar, who edged a short-of-length delivery to second-slip. He instinctively rocked back but could not tackle the away movement.

And a delivery later, Gabriel seamed the ball in and trapped Shafiq in front. Given the on-field umpire turned down the appeal, captain Holder called for a review, which eventually proved that the ball was clearly hitting the leg-stump. Also read: Misbah-ul-Haq breaks Imran Khan’s record

The onus was then on the juggernaut Younis Khan to keep the scoreboard ticking. Along with him was the southpaw Sami Aslam.

The duo played with caution and hit only when there was something on offer.

Younis, for that matter, took 19 deliveries to hit his first boundary. He punished a half-volley with a flick on the leg-side. The next one came on the off-side, as the right-hander drove with conviction. As he got his eye in, with his quick foot-work, he played one down the leg and put his team in the driver’s seat.

On the other hand, Aslam smashed his first four off the 24th ball he leant forward and played a lovely drive, displaying full face of the bat. He took his time though, for the pace duo Gabriel and Alzarri Joseph were right on the money, not willing to give away easy runs.

All the same, the ball stopped moving as the temperature scaled up. As a result, Holder introduced spinners into the track.

Aslam made full use of the opportunity and slammed Devendra Bishoo’s short delivery to deep mid-wicket delivery. Then he slogged one off the same bowler over mid-wicket; that one came right of the screws.

Pakistan went into lunch at 81 for 2.

Brief scores:

Pakistan 81 for 2 (Younis Khan 39, Sami Aslam 37; Shannon Gabriel 2 for 22) vs West Indies


(Kaustubh S. Mayekar, a reporter at CricketCountry, played cricket at U-16 level. Like his idol Rahul Dravid, he often shadow-practises cricket shots. His Twitter handle is @kaumedy_)