Shannon Gabriel, who turned 29 less than a week back, gave himself a late birthday present as his career-best figures of 5 for 11 helped West Indies stun Pakistan by 106 runs in the penultimate session of the final day of the second Test at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados on Thursday (May 4).
Resuming their second innings on 264 for 9, West Indies were bowled out for 268 and set Pakistan a target of 188. Then, Gabriel ran through the top order to reduce Pakistan to 35 for 5 at lunch before the visitors were bowled out for 81 in 34.4 overs, leaving the three-match series level at 1-1. Pakistan had won the first Test in Jamaica by seven wickets.
West Indies used just three seamers on a fifth-day track, with Jason Holder taking 3 for 23 and Alzarri Joseph finishing with 2 for 42. Only Sarfraz Ahmed (23) and Mohammad Amir (20) touched 20, and as many as six batsmen, including Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq, were dismissed for single-digit scores.
Incidentally, it was at this very venue 20 years back that West Indies had bowled India out for the identical score of 81 for a memorable 38-run win.
The day started with Yasir Shah claiming the last West Indies wicket to finish with 7 for 94, and match returns of 9 for 177. That was to be the last thing to go Pakistan’s way for the next few hours.
Gabriel started the rout with the wicket of Azhar Ali, the first-innings centurion who miscued an attempted pull for Shimron Hetmyer to take a diving catch at midwicket.
Joseph, sharing the new ball with Gabriel, struck in the very next over when Babar Azam flicked at a leg-side delivery for Shane Dowrich, the wicketkeeper, to snare the chance and consign Pakistan’s brightest batting talent to the indignity of a pair.
Joseph should have also accounted for Ahmed Shehzad but the opening batsman, who enjoyed generous slices of luck in scoring 70 in the first innings, was missed at first slip edging an attempted drive.
That disappointment was replaced by even more jubilation in the West Indies camp though, as Holder replaced Gabriel and immediately earned the prized scalp of Younis. Adjudged lbw by Richard Kettleborough, the on-field umpire, Younis challenged the decision only to have it confirmed by television replays.
With Joseph tiring, Gabriel was recalled into action to replace him and he responded with two critical wickets in the space of three deliveries.
Misbah-ul-Haq was first ruled not out to vociferous appeals but replays following a challenge showed an inside-edge that lobbed to Shai Hope at gully and sent the Pakistan captain back to the pavilion without scoring. Asad Shafiq joined him just a few minutes later when he edged his second delivery for Kieran Powell to take the catch at first slip at the third attempt.
Pakistan had not even added a run in the second session when Joseph trapped Shehzad in front for 14, which came over 117 minutes. A run later, Shadab Khan, the debutant legspinner, was caught behind off Holder.
At 36 for 7, Pakistan were in serious danger of being bowled out for less than their previous lowest score of 49 against South Africa in Johannesburg in 2013. But a stand of 42 between Sarfraz and Mohammad Amir spared them the blushes.
Amir, however, played a loose shot off Gabriel to give Vishaul Singh an easy catch at backward point, and then Yasir and Sarfraz fell at the score of 81 as West Indies levelled the series in emphatic style.
The series decider, which will be the farewell game for Misbah and Younis, will be played at Windsor Park in Roseau in Dominica from May 10.