Darren Bravo is one of West Indies    key batsman    Getty Images
Darren Bravo is one of West Indies key batsman Getty Images

West Indies came out fighting in the first Test against Pakistan at UAE but lost wickets in the final session of Day 3 and were precariously placed at 315 for the loss of six wickets at stumps. Wahab Riaz bowled a magnificent spell in the third session to scalp couple of wickets and put West Indies on the back foot. West Indies batsmen showed enough mettle to get some runs on the board and are 64 runs behind from avoiding the follow-on. Jason Holder and Shane Dowrich were at the crease and will resume batting on Day 4 and have a task in hand as batting will get difficult as the day progresses. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Pakistan vs West Indies, 1st Test match

West Indies resumed batting in the first session with their overnight score of 69 for the loss of one wicket in 22 overs. Yasir Shah got the better of Kraigg Brathwaite in his very first over of the day and put the opposition under the pump. It was a beautiful delivery, which outfoxed him and kissed the off-stump. With the fall of Brathwaite, Yasir inched a step closer towards creating history as he now has 97 Test scalps to his name. Marlon Samuels made his way out to the centre and weathered the early storm with Darren Bravo. The duo batted magnificently and did’t provide any room fr error. There were few hiccups but that didn’t cost them anything as West Pakistan fielders were not up to the mark on the field.

Samuels took some time to get in initially but played his shots once he got his eye in. Samuel is not someone who possesses very good technique or looks elegant while batting but his confidence and ability to take on the big guns has been the key behind his success. He played a solid innings and counterattacked the pumped Pakistani bowlers. His approach towards Yasir was laudable as the ball was turning but he attacked him and didn’t let the wily leg-spinner settle. Pakistani fielders let their bowlers down as an edge off Samuels’ willow in the 29th over was dropped in the slips and later a thick edge off Bravo’s blade was also missed at the slips of Yasir’s bowling. Samuels did well to milk out runs from the flat UAE surface and the duo remained unbeaten at tea with their team being well placed at 128 for the loss of two wickets.

The start of the second session saw Mohammad Nawaz being officially warned for walking in the danger zone of the pitch. In he very next over, Samuels shimmied down the wicket and drives back to the bowler Azhar Ali, the latter attempts a tough catch but the ball was too hot to handle as another opportunity goes down. In fact, Azhar had to leave the field for some medical attention. Two over later, there was a mix-up between the two while running but Pakistan failed to pounce on another opportunity. Samuels gets to his fifty and delivers when his team needed the most while Bravo silently keeps scoring from the other end.

After scoring an impactful 76, Samuels was caught leg before by Sohail Khan and the on field umpire ruled it out. Samuels was stuck in his crease as the ball moved in a little and struck his back pad. It was a beautiful delivery and deserved a wicket. Jermaine Blackwood walked out to bat and had a task in hand along with Bravo. Sohail tested Blackwood with a series of short pitched deliveries but the batsman did well not to fell prey to the bowler’s persistence. Bravo cut Yasir for a boundary and brought up his half-century in style. He batted for 176 deliveries to get to this landmark, which in a sense also speaks about his determination during the innings.

Yasir challenged the on field umpire’s decision in the 73rd over as Blackwood edged one onto his pads but the bowler was fully convinced of it being a wicket. The replay showed Blackwood getting a part of his willow on the leather before it struck his pads. Both batted well til Supper where West Indies were 211 for three with the second new ball just few overs away.

Just when things were looking good for West Indies as they were pulling things back, Wahab Riaz delivered and got rid of Blackwood for 37. Roston Chase walked out but didn’t manage to stay for long as Riaz got the better of him in next over with a short delivery. This hurt West Indies the most as they lost couple of wickets in quick successions and the pressure was back on them. Moments later, Riaz was also officially warned to walking on the danger area. Riaz was charged, he attacked Shane Dowrich with a shorter one as it hits his helmet but no serious harm was done.

Bravo was silent in scoring runs but was doing a great job in anchoring the West Indies innings. He looked set for a ton and deserved one for his precision and diligence. But while batting on 87, Mohammad Nawaz pulled curtains on his innings, which was also his maiden Test wicket. Some extra bounce did the trick as Bravo got an inside-edge, which was safely cupped by Azhar Ali at short leg.

West Indies are still runs away from avoiding the follow on and were placed at 315 for the loss of six wickets with Jason and Holder and Dowrich as the night watchmen. The day saw 87 overs being bowled despite extra 30 minutes being given. Day 4 will probably decide the fate of the match as the game is now in Pakistan’s favour and they would like to conclude a result. The conditions have not been helpful enough for the bowlers as batting looked easy out in the middle. The crowd didn’t turn up as expected, which was also a huge disappointment.

Brief Scores:

Pakistan 579/3 decl in 145 overs (Azhar Ali 302*, Sami Aslam 90; Devendra Bishoo 2 for 125) against West Indies 315/6 (Marlon Samuels 76, Darren Bravo 87; Wahab Riaz 2 for 53).

Full Scorecard.