IN PICS: Pakistan seal dramatic first Test win

Barnaby Read 23:00 17/10/2016
Darren Bravo was the star on day five.

Pakistan clinched a dramatic 56-run victory with just 72 balls left on the final day of the day-night first Test in Dubai, denying West Indies and their hero Darren Bravo either a famous victory or, at the very least, a deserved draw.

Bravo faced 249 balls for his 116 but once he finally lost his wicket, Pakistan were able to turn the screw and eke their way towards a 1-0 series lead.

Something special was always going to be needed to remove Bravo and, once again, Yasir Shah provided that inspiration with a stunning caught and bowled that ended the West Indies left-hander’s innings. When Bravo fell, West Indies still needed 83 to win from the remaining 26 overs, Pakistan just three wickets.

Pakistan did the necessary to secure victory despite the brilliance of Bravo who played a perfect hand until his dismissal.

The touring side began the day in pursuit of 251 more runs for a win, Pakistan searching for the eight wickets that would see them take a 1-0 series lead with two matches to play.

Remaining matches in the series

  • Second Test: Abu Dhabi - Oct 21-25
  • Third Test: Sharjah - Oct 30-Nov 3

Pakistan were immediately up for the challenge with the pink ball in their hands. Mohammad Amir wasted no time in securing an early breakthrough, creating an angle from around the wicket that Marlon Samuels felt he had to prod at but could only edge into the hands of Sarfraz Ahmed from the first ball of the day.

His third wicket of the innings meant Amir returned his best figures in five matches since his infamous 2010 spot fixing ban. That Amir took the first three wickets of the West Indies innings and removed their top-order was encouraging, showing a potency that was somewhat missing in England this summer.

By the time Mohammad Nawaz trapped Jerome Blackwood (15) lbw, it felt like a matter of when, rather than if, Pakistan would win. But Bravo and West Indies continued to defy their hosts.

Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur had highlighted unbeaten overnight pair Samuels and Bravo as key wickets and it proved to be the case with Bravo. After the first break, the 27-year-old moved to his second fifty of the match from 139 balls to keep his team edging towards the total.

Yasir, who has so often bowled Pakistan to victory in the fourth innings of UAE Tests, was superbly neutered by Bravo and Chase as the leggie struggled on a pitch that refused to offer the venomous turn he desperately craved.

Inevitably, though, it was Yasir who found the breakthrough, bowling Chase for 35 to give Pakistan a vital opening and reinvigorate their pursuit of the remaining five wickets. The door was then wrenched open by Wahab Riaz in the following over as his superb Yorker did for Shane Dowrich as light peered from the end of the tunnel.

Bravo was the man aiming to darken Pakistan’s hopes and he was clearly the beacon driving West Indies forward.

Resolute in defence and untroubled by either the pitch or bowlers, Bravo did what he does best en route to a superb eighth Test century of his career that ensured the game went deep into its final day. It was a classy, fighting innings that has so often been missing from West Indies cricket in recent memory, his contribution as vital to his country’s ambitions as it was to providing a contest in a match that looked destined for the realms of dreary.

The first three and a half days passed by without capturing the imagination, despite its historic nature and the remarkable efforts of the standout performers.

Pakistan were in pole position with a first innings total of 579-3 declared, thanks to Azhar Ali’s magnificent 302 not out. However, they crumbled in their second innings, bowled out for just 123 in the search of quick runs and giving West Indies a chance of an unlikely win as Devendra Bishoo’s 8-49 helped them reduce their target to 345.

Despite Bravo’s best efforts, it ultimately proved beyond them.


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