© AFP

Pakistan won the third and decisive Test with just six balls left on the final evening to give Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan a fitting farewell from the game. © AFP

Pakistan won a thrilling third and final Test with six balls to spare to clinch a first series victory in the West Indies on Sunday (May 14) and give a fitting farewell to Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan, the retiring veterans.

Roston Chase’s unbeaten 101, his second century of the series, went in vain as West Indies, set a target of 304 at Windsor Park in Dominica, slipped to 93 for 6 before the lower order almost pulled off a dramatic draw. But Shannon Gabriel dragged a wide delivery from Yasir Shah on to his stumps to signal the end of the West Indian resistance and trigger celebrations in the Pakistani camp as West Indies were dismissed for 202 to lose the match by 101 runs and the series 1-2.

“This was just incredible. There were so many things happening in that last session –dropped catches, appeals, no-ball dismissals – it looked for a while as if it wasn’t going to happen. I am thankful for myself, the team and all supporters of Pakistan cricket that we were able to pull it off.” – Misbah

Chase, who also top-scored in the first innings with 69, was the prime beneficiary of Pakistani lapses. Twice, he had caught-and-bowled attempts by Hasan Ali put down and then was reprieved on 91 when an edge to Asad Shafiq at slip off Mohammad Abbas was shown to be off a no-ball.

In the end, he completed his third Test century but was left helpless at the non-striker’s end when Gabriel, who had defended resolutely for 21 balls, inexplicably attempted a wild drive off Yasir and played on. Yasir finished with 5 for 92 and a series haul of 25 wickets, the highest of his career, as he took the man of the series award.

After West Indies had skidded towards defeat in the mid-afternoon, a 58-run seventh-wicket partnership between Chase and Jason Holder frustrated Pakistan for an hour and a half, until Holder missed a knee-high full toss from Hasan to be lbw for 22 just after tea.

Devendra Bishoo and Alzarri Joseph also offered some resistance, but it was Gabriel’s defiance through eight nerve-jangling overs with Chase that almost took West Indies to safety.

“I’m really disappointed that we couldn’t hold on for just one more over,” said a crestfallen Chase. “We have showed that we can compete with the best but it’s up to us to be able to take it all the way. It doesn’t even matter that I got a hundred.” – Chase

Earlier, a swift end to the match had looked likely as Vishaul Singh and Shane Dowrich both fell to Yasir just after lunch. Both were taken at short-leg by Babar Azam and, on a pitch offering turn and bounce, it appeared only a matter of time before more wickets fell. But Chase and Holder batted with calm assurance as the Pakistanis grew increasingly impatient in pursuit of the breakthrough.

Such anxieties appeared unlikely at the start of the day. Having already lost the wicket of Kieran Powell overnight, West Indies suffered two further setbacks inside the first hour of the morning. Kraigg Brathwaite’s poor run of form continued when he miscued an attempted cut off Yasir for Hasan to take the comfortable catch at backward point. Shimron Hetmyer batted positively for 25 but was then bowled by Mohammad Amir for the third time in the series.

Chase then joined Shai Hope with the pair defying all the challenges presented to them by the Pakistani attack until Hasan got the breakthrough and his first Test wicket 20 minutes before lunch, trapping Hope lbw with a full-length inswinger. His two additional wickets in that pulsating final session were critical to the victory.