Kemar Roach strikes twice after West Indies take slender lead


Pakistan go to lunch on the third day 20 runs in front with eight second-innings wickets in hand

Lunch Pakistan 217 and 56 for 2 (Abid 31*, Roach 2-8) lead West Indies 253 (Brathwaite 97, Holder 58, Afridi 4-59, Abbas 3-43) by 20 runs

Pakistan made short work of the West Indies tail before roughing it out with the bat, but they should feel they have had the better time of it in the first session of the third day. In their second innings, after conceding a 36-run lead, Pakistan shook off the early loss of Imran Butt as Azhar Ali and Abid Ali put together a 55-run stand, before the loss of Azhar on the stroke of lunch brought West Indies back.
In bright sunshine, Shaheen Afridi allowed just two more runs to the West Indies batters before cleaning them up for 253. The prodigious inswing he found was much better directed than anything he had managed the previous day. Jomel Warrican had his stumps knocked back first, before, on the 16th ball of the day, Joshua Da Silva was trapped dead in front. Part One of Pakistan’s plan had been executed to perfection.

West Indies struck early themselves after the changeover, getting rid of the struggling Butt for nought as he pushed his pad out at one that was crashing into middle stump. Thereafter, though, Abid and Azhar settled down, seeing off the pace bowlers without much trouble. Abid looked to take the attack to Jayden Seales early on, smashing him for two off-side boundaries with shots that showed more intent than he had displayed in the first innings. When Warrican came on, he danced down the pitch to deposit the ball over his head for the first six of the match; it was the shot that erased Pakistan’s deficit.

Azhar was more circumspect, and more uncertain through the early part of his innings. He found the fifth-stump line targeted as the pacers tested his footwork and his judgment, with the outside edge beaten on a number of occasions. When Kemar Roach finally induced the edge, Jason Holder put him down at second slip. Azhar followed it up with two aggressive boundaries either side of the wicket off Warrican as the shackles began to come off.

Roach, however, had the last laugh in the last over before lunch, bringing one back in sharply to breach Azhar’s defence and crash into his leg stump. It was a wicket West Indies needed desperately, and a match that has swayed both ways multiple times is finely poised once more.

Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000

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