IT’S 400 NOT OUT AS PAKISTAN BREAK WEST INDIES RESISTANCE TO WIN THE FIRST-EVER DAY NIGHT TEST IN DUBAI AS DARREN BRAVO’S STALWART CENTURY GONE ALL IN VAIN
BEYOND THE BOUNDARY LINE
By Dr Adnan Khan
Test Cricket at its best, What a match we have had at Dubai, 400th test for Pakistan & historic victory. Pakistan clinched a thrilling 56-run win over West Indies in the day-night cliffhanger in Dubai despite a Darren Bravo century on the final day. At one stage Ton-up Bravo thwarts Pakistan in day-night Test. Numerous great tales in the history of cricket have that moment where defeat is in the air, with little hope left of scripting a comeback. However, just in the nick of time, the talisman emerges to end the barren run of doom and gloom.
Darren Bravo 116, the mainstay of the West Indies batting line-up, captivated the visitors in times of need with a exalted hundred on Day 5 to give them genuine hope of pulling a heist. Unfortunately for West Indies, Bravo’s epoch-making effort seemed to have been taken right from a Greek tragedy. With 84 runs required for victory, Yasir Shah cajoled an uppish drive from Bravo and pouched the return catch. A crestfallen Bravo pausing briefly before almost collapsing to his knees has to be the poignant moment of the Test match as Pakistan celebrated long and hard. It will take sometime for Bravo to erase the fine lines of pain and agony. Once Yasir bagged the vital scalp, West Indies went down quickly, losing their last three wickets for 13 runs. Misbah-ul-Haq (42y and 142d) became the third oldest captain to win a Test after Wally Hammond (43 years) and WG Grace (48 years).
Babar Azam was honoured with Test cap and he meets the reputation of selectors by becoming fourth Pakistan batsman to score 50+on Test debut batting at No.4. Azhar Ali and Bishoo achieve career-high rankings as Bravo returns to top 20. Stylish West Indies batsman Darren Bravo is the other player to make a big impact in the latest rankings. The 27-year-old left-hander, who played in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2008 in Malaysia, scored 87 and 116 in the Test in which the West Indies went down fighting. Consequently, Bravo has returned to the top 20. The Windies fell to defeat despite battling hard on the final day. It was a tense game but Pakistan was good enough to play the game of nerves in their match number 400. Pakistan’s victory means that Azhar Ali’s triple is the 11th made in a winning cause.
The remaining 18 triples were drawn! Darren Bravo’s valiant century was in vain as Pakistan finally break West Indies’ resistance to win the first Test in Dubai. Only the 2nd time West Indies have played 100 or more overs in the 4th inns of a Test in Asia. It is only the 3rd century by a WI batsman in 4th inns of an away Test since 2000. Darren Bravo’s having five Test centuries In Asia in 27 inns and three hundreds outside Asia in 58 inns. This is the first time Bravo has scored 50+ in both inns of a Test. The hosts went into the final day needing eight wickets to secure victory in the series opener but they were made to work hard by West Indies, who have not beaten a major Test nation away from home since December 2007. The match was evenly poised at dinner with Pakistan needing four wickets and West Indies 114 runs short of their target with centurion Bravo and captain Jason Holder at the crease.
First time Yasir Shah has conceded more than 200 runs in 8 Tests in UAE. Darren Bravo led the West Indies resistance with a century but it wasn’t enough to meet the brilliance of men in green. Bravo scored a 249-ball 116, taking his side to within 83 runs of the target, before Pakistan finally overcame his dogged resistance to wrest back a match that had looked like slipping away. Darren Bravo century almost denies hosts in thriller but ultimately a little man again became a saviour for Pakistan. Yasir flew to his left to take the return catch of Bravo that decisively swung the match in Pakistan’s favour. In his 17th Test match, Yasir Shah becomes fastest Asian cricketer to 100 Test wickets, beating R Ashwin (18 Tests) and fastest Pakistani to 100 Test wickets.
Yasir Shah joined the 2nd fastest to 100 Test wickets to join the elite class of C Turner, S Barnes, C Grimmett. He is the quickest to reach 100 wickets in Tests in last 85 years, just in 17 matches. West Indies’ last three wickets added 26 runs, but the sting had gone out of the contest, and a pair of run-outs handed Pakistan a hard-fought win. They wrapped it up with 12 overs remaining, to register a memorable win in their 400th Test. Earlier Pakistan decided to bat again on wear out pitch on day 4. Bishoo’s eight-for the best by a visiting bowler in Asia. The previous best was Lance Klusener’s 8 for 64 against India at Eden Gardens in 1996. The previous best by a West Indian in Asia was Andy Roberts’ 7 for 64 in Chennai in 1975. Bishoo’s figures are the best by any bowler in the UAE, eclipsing Saeed Ajmal’s 7 for 55 against England, which also came in Dubai in January 2012.
Pakistan equalling their worst last 6 wickets collapses for Pakistan in Test. Cricket saw the innovation of day-night Tests with a pink ball for the first time when Australia played New Zealand at Adelaide in November last year, attempting to reverse the trend of dwindling Test crowds. Australia won the low-scoring affair on the third day by a narrow three-wicket margin, with Australian wicket-keeper Peter Nevill s 66 the top individual score. Azhar Ali bettered that and put his name in the records book with a 366-minute stay at the crease, hitting 14 boundaries, but unlike Adelaide where the attendance was 123,736 over three days, the lackluster figure of only 6000 people passed through the gates in Dubai. Star Pakistan batsman Azhar Ali has become only the 4th Pakistan to score a triple century in a Test match on the second day as Pakistan took complete control of the 1st Test against West Indies.
About 14 years ago Azhar Ali came on as a substitute fielder to see Inzamam-ul-Haq score an epic triple hundred in Lahore and wished he could emulate the legendary Pakistan batsman in future. On Friday he notched his own with an unbeaten 302 against West Indies in the second ever day-night Test in Dubai to join the elite class of batsmen. But what distinguishes the 31-year-old from the rest of the triple centurions is that he became the first batsman in day-night Test cricket to achieve the landmark. Azhar Ali now the first Batsman to Score, Day Night Test Hundred, Day Night Test Double Hundred, Day Night Test Triple Hundred. It was only 3rd time Pakistan has crossed 500 without losing 3rd wicket. The second 150+ stand for Pakistan in the first inns of a Test in last 50 years. Azhar Ali’s century is the 100th century by a Pakistan opener in Tests and first double-century by a Pakistan opener in the first inns of a Test in last 20 years. It’s Only the 3rd instance of Pakistan having three century partnerships, Azhar Ali involving in all three. He is the 4th Pakistani to notch up 300 in Tests, 29th overall. Azhar innings is the highest score ever in a Test match in UAE beating Previous best of 278* by AB de Villiers in 2010.