AFP
AFP

Pakistan ended Day Two of the first Test against West Indies on a high as the latter are trailing by 510 runs with nine wickets in hand. Azhar Ali engineered Pakistan’s innings and helped them post a total of 579 riding on his maiden triple ton, with which he scripted history. West Indies were delicately placed at 69 for the loss of one wicket at stumps. The only wicket to have been fallen was that of Leon Johnson as Yasir Shah got the better of him with his wily leg-spin. It was a beautiful display of batting by Azhar while West Indies too have showed some mettle and the pitch not having any help for the bowlers, West Indies should look to come out fighting. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Pakistan vs West Indies, 1st Test match

The Day started with Pakistan resuming their overnight score of 279 for one. Azhar and Asad Shafiq continued from where they had left. The very first over saw Shannon Gabriel hitting the pads of Shafiq but the on field umpire ruled it not out and West Indies were quite satisfied with it. But what would have hurt them the most is the fact that the DRS showed the other way round. Shafiq brought up his fifty and played well with Azhar to help his side slowly cross the 300-run mark.

Azhar took on Roston Chase in the 108th over by hitting him for a boundary and six on consecutive deliveries. The very next over saw the fall of Shafiq as Devendra Bishoo got he better of him. He was deceived by the flight as he went down the track but ended up giving a simple catch to the bowler. West Indies needed to built pressure at this juncture but failed to do so as their bowling hardly seemed to be challenging to the Pakistani batsmen.

Babar Azam walked in to accompany Azhar in the middle and played a memorable knock to mark his Test entry. Initially, he took sometime but started rotating the strike after getting used to the conditions. While batting on 190, Azhar got a reprieve as Jermaine Blackwood at slips attempted for a catch in lost cause. This was a big opportunity missed by West Indies as Azhar made the most of it by smashing his maiden triple to in Tests.

Moments later, Azhar smashed consecutive boundaries to Gabriel to become he first cricketer to have scored a double ton in a day-night Test. He did the ‘push-ups’ to celebrate his achievement and his innings was been a delight to watch for any budding talent. His was precise and astute in his approach, batted with immense temperament.

When Azhar ran his 227th run, he also recorded his finest Test innings with that stroke. The pink ball was also changed in the 135th over as it lost shape due to some powerful hitting. Azam was impressive on his Test debut and soaked in all the pressure of a debutant as he scored a fifty. Pakistan also brought up their 500 in the 400th Test and made the moment special. After contributing 69 runs, Azam was dismissed by Bishoo. He went for a drive to a tossed up delivery and ended up landing the ball in the safe hands of skipper, Jason Holder. Meanwhile, Azhar reached the 250-run mark.

Misbah-ul-Haq got the ball rolling from the outset and started off with a boundary riding on some improvisation. He reverse-swept the very first delivery he faced and gave indication of his aggressive intent. There was another opportunity for West Indies to earn a run out but Bishoo missed a direct hit, which could have ended Misbah’s innings. The second session ended with Azhar few runs away from his triple ton.

Both the batsman looked to garner some quick runs in the third session and got the score board ticking from the start. When Misbah scored his 281st run, he surpassed Javed Miandad’s record of the highest run-scorer in Tests. He is now sitting at the fourth position on the table of leading highest run-scorers for Pakistan in the longer format. While batting on 298, Azhar looked tentative but Misbah calmed him down. He drove Blackwood for a boundary and brought up his maiden Test triple ton and also became the fourth Pakistani cricketer to have done so.

The team erupted in joy as a talented Azhar engraved his name in the history of Test cricket. Pakistan declared their innings at 579 for the loss of three wickets as West Indies had a task in hand. Their openers were looking good as there was some movement with the new ball but Leon Johnson and Kraigg Brathwaite were doing well initially. Yasir Shah was brought into the attack and he got the ball to turn early on in the innings. Yasir drew the first blood in the form of Johnson, when he was caught leg before and the southpaw decided to challenge the umpire’s decision. The review didn’t show any bat involved as the ball was crashing onto the stumps. He was given out as Darren Bravo made way to the middle.

Bravo and Brathwaite played well and remained unbeaten on 32 while is Bravo looked good at 14. Bravo will hold the key for West Indies as the elegant southpaw has been the spine of the batting attack and his success at the top will influence the rest of the batting. West Indies have a long way to go on Day Three and as the ball gets older, the pitch will also wear out, which will make Yasir formidable.

Brief Scores:

Pakistan 579/3 decl in 145 overs (Azhar Ali 302*, Sami Aslam 90; Devendra Bishoo 2 for 125) against West Indies (Kraigg Brathwaite 32, Leon Johnson 15; Yasir Shah 1 for 13).

Full Scorecard.