Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq failed to make an impact in their farewell international innings, but Pakistan were well placed to press for a series-clinching victory over West Indies at stumps on the fourth day of the third and final Test at Windsor Park on Saturday (May 13).
After only 15 wickets fell on the first three days, 14 tumbled on the penultimate day of the series, ending with West Indies at seven for one after being set a daunting target of 304.
Mohammad Abbas claimed his first five-wicket haul in Test cricket to trigger a West Indies first-innings collapse to 247 all out on the fourth morning after they resumed at 218 for 5.
That gave Pakistan a lead of 129, but in attempting to build on that, they crashed to 90 for 7 before Yasir Shah, with a Test-best 38 not out, and a determined Mohammad Amir (27) allowed Misbah the luxury of a second-innings declaration at 174 for 8 late in the day.
Yasir and Amir put on 61 for the eighth wicket and benefited from the continuing West Indian epidemic of errors in the field. Yasir was caught behind off a no-ball from Devendra Bishoo and two catches were missed as the tail wagged and the home side wilted. Alzarri Joseph claimed three wickets but the West Indies’ failure to press home the advantage after getting Younis and Misbah cheaply proved costly.
Yasir then turned the screws on West Indies when he removed Kieran Powell to a catch at silly point with what proved to be the final ball of an eventful day.
Abbas’s early demolition job gave Pakistan a match-winning platform although their top-order batting failed to build on that considerable advantage. Shan Masood and Younis Khan added 49 for the third wicket in mid-afternoon before Shannon Gabriel took his second wicket of the innings in prising out Masood.
His departure ushered in Misbah for his last innings but there was to be no fairy tale as the Pakistan captain attempted to hoist Bishoo out of the ground in the legspinner’s first over and succeeded only in getting a spiralling top-edge for Shane Dowrich, the wicketkeeper, to take the catch.
Younis also fell to Bishoo just before tea for 35, his errant sweep being well caught by Powell diving at backward square-leg.
Pakistan looked set to squander their hard-earned lead when Sarfraz Ahmed and Asad Shafiq fell cheaply at the start of the final session but Yasir and Amir rode their considerable luck in an entertaining partnership.
As well as they played, though, the individual honours on the day belonged to Abbas.
Increasingly impressive in his first Test series, the fast-medium bowler took the last four wickets of the West Indies innings for three runs in a four-over spell to finish with the excellent figures of 5 for 46 off 25 disciplined overs.
Amir removed Dowrich to just the fourth ball of the day, which brought back Roston Chase. Forced to retire hurt on 60 the previous evening due to a blow on his right elbow, Chase was progressing in partnership with Jason Holder until Abbas replaced Amir from the pavilion end.
Chase was bowled off his pads for 69 by a full-length delivery and Bishoo then edged his first ball low to second slip where the ever-reliable Younis came up with his tenth catch of the series. That effort put him into the record books for the most catches ever by a Pakistani fielder in a Test series.