Match Summary: Ten wickets for Yasir Shah and West Indies lose their eighth in as many matches on this tour. After being whitewashed in the shorter formats, they are on course to be blanked 0-3 in the longest format as well. After a sensational comeback from a despairing situation in the previous match in Dubai, this was expected to be a closer game than what it turned out to be. Misbah-ul-Haq won the toss again and had no hesitations to bat first on a batting paradise. Things didn’t go well for them as Azhar Ali (who got a triple ton in the previous match) fell for a duck. A 175-run stand between the senior statesmen ensured that Pakistan posted a huge score, with the veteran Younis Khan (who had just recovered from dengue fever) notching up his 33rd Test century. After conceding 452 with the ball, the onus was once again on Darren Bravo, who looked good but eventually perished to the one and only Yasir Shah. None of the West Indian batsmen were able to convert their starts into a substantial one as they were bundled out for 224. With a lead of 228 runs and lots of time remaining in the game, Misbah decided to bat again. The openers made merry after their failures in the first essay. The top three reached half-centuries and it allowed their captain to declare with 455-runs in their kitty.
Yasir Shah – Man of the Match: I tried to bowl at one spot. Wherever I play, in UAE or away, people have expectations, and rightly so. This was a slow wicket. I bowled a few bad balls, was finding it difficult, but I bowled in the nets and tried to work on it, and on my repeatable action as well. I plan separately for every series, and the senior players – Misbah, Younis and even Mushy – keep guiding me and supporting me. I keep in touch with the latter.
Misbah-ul-Haq – captain, Pakistan: “It wasn’t easy on a wicket like this. Getting 20 wickets is a challenge. The bowlers worked really hard, especially Yasir Shah, and the fast bowlers contributed well to get the 20 wickets we needed. It’s important for the younger guys to come in; they have to know how we are playing, how to utilize out resources and how to play the games. If you don’t know how to win a game, there’s no point playing any format of the game. Once you see that and then believe in yourself, then it is good. I believe in going out there and assessing the conditions, to decide on your game plan. Need to stay in your limits and execute your limits according to your strengths. In the UAE, you cannot change much about your planning. Slow wickets here, so you have to grind the oppositions. We are going to New Zealand and Australia, and we need to change that because conditions are different. Looking forward to that. I always believe that winning Test matches without a good bowling attack is tough. Even in Dubai, getting 20 wickets was a tough task. When you believe that your bowlers can take 20 wickets, you are always in the hunt to win a Test match. I hope they [the bowlers] keep doing it again and again for Pakistan.”
Jason Holder – captain, West Indies: “We are getting to day 5, so good signs for us. Unfortunately we were not able to start well again. On the first day’s play, we did not get wickets but they did not score too many runs either. We didn’t bat well in the first innings. Pretty pleased with how the guys played today on day 5, showing application. Blackwood played well, mixing defence with attack. Shai Hope was composed as well but more partnerships early in the innings would have helped. We need more wickets upfront, with some improvement needed in the fielding too. We have let ourselves down on the field at crucial times, when we dropped Misbah and Younis in the first innings, and those things hurt. Such good batsmen make you pay, especially on a surface with not much assistance for the bowlers. Credit to bowlers for coming back on the second day, bowling hard to bowl them out for 450 odd runs. We need hold those chances and be more penetrative at crucial moments. Pakistan are a quality side. They are not number 2 for no reason; they play good cricket. They execute their plans and that’s what good teams do. We have to get to that stage. We are in the planning stage, not yet in the execution stage. We are not as consistent as we would like to be. We are sure we can do it. The guys in the dressing room need to get some confidence.”
>> 322 is West Indies’ highest 4th innings total vs Pakistan in Tests. Previous highest: 317/2 in Georgetown in 1958.
>> Most wkts after 18 Tests:
112 G Lohmann/ Syd Barnes/ YASIR SHAH *
105 C Grimmett
104 R Ashwin
101 C Turner (17)
>> Misbah-ul-Haq has now won 24 Test away from home – the most by a captain. Goes past 23 each by Clive Lloyd & Graeme Smith.
>> 322 is also the highest by a visiting team in UAE & 2nd highest after Pakistan’s 343/3 in the 4th innings in Tests in UAE
>> Pakistan have now won 11 consecutive series at home & UAE since losing 0-1 against South Africa in 2007. * won/ drawn.
>> Results for WI against Pak away from home in last 25 years: L L L L L L D L L L (last).
Keep watching this space, cheers and ta-ta!