Misbah-ul-Haq found yet another avenue into the history books on the fourth day in Kingston, although, he might have done without this one. He became the first Pakistan batsman, and only the sixth overall, to be left stranded on 99 as he ran out of partners, Mohammad Abbas adjudged lbw as the captain stared helplessly from the other end. It wasn’t before Pakistan managed to stretch their lead to 121, the final wicket adding 32 runs, each of which must have felt like daggers to the West Indian cause.
On 97, Misbah cut a short ball from Devendra Bishoo through the off side but declined a third run which might have been on and left Abbas – who had shown an excellent defensive technique – to face Roston Chase. He blocked three balls comfortably, but then to the fourth was hit on the back leg. Almost as soon as Richard Illingworth gave the decision Misbah, himself, signalled the review. It was close to the bat, but there was no Snicko or Hot Spot, and the ball-tracker had it agonisingly clipping the top of the leg stump
West Indies had hit back ably in the afternoon session, taking four Pakistan wickets for 49 runs to still maintain hopes – albeit extremely scant – of a possible route to victory in this Test, but the tenth-wicket partnership halted whatever momentum they had built up.
Bishoo started it off by coming around the wicket right away after the lunch interval, and found success, bowling Sarfraz Ahmed round his legs as the batsman attempted to sweep. Misbah, at the other end, reached 5,000 runs in Tests with an understated single, and reached his half-century next over. It broke a spell of nine innings without a fifty for the outgoing skipper, and his first since the sides’ corresponding series in the UAE last year.
Mohammad Amir was good for some light entertainment, dispatching Bishoo for six over midwicket, but struggled against Alzarri Joseph. He had a catch dropped at gully against him, and his nicking through to the keeper next over had an air of inevitability about it.
Joseph was the pick of the afternoon session, the 20-year old being the only bowler able to extract movement in the air. He was able to get some shape into the right-handers, and one absolute beauty was too good for Wahab Riaz, swinging in sharply to clip the leg bail; Wahab’s bat was so far away it might as well have been on another Caribbean island.
Misbah and Yasir Shah hung around for what would have felt like a frustrating partnership for the West Indies, but at 18 runs off 45 balls, it was hardly devastating. Yasir fell after setting off for a single after dabbing to point, and substitute fielder Jermaine Blackwood made a direct hit in a rare piece of impressive fielding by West Indies.
The Pakistan batsmen had looked wobbly in the opening session, but poor fielding by the West Indies – two catches were dropped and a stumping missed in the first session – ensured they were able to establish a position of dominance and stretch their lead.
Gabriel and Joseph extracted sharp bounce off the surface, clearly discomfiting both Asad Shafiq and Misbah, neither of whom looked confident in dealing with the shorter length. Shafiq’s eventual dismissal brought Sarfraz to the crease, and along with him a sense of urgency to an innings that had stalled somewhat. He was particularly severe on Bishoo, striking a four and six off his first two overs, and picking off the loose deliveries to ensure the spinner could never get into his rhythm and start building pressure on the batsmen as Pakistan edged closer to West Indies’ total. His strike rate of 128 against the legspinner was indicative of his intentions, and he scored a half-century and brought up 2,000 runs, in a productive session for him.
Misbah, meanwhile, ticked along at the other end, looking curiously reticent to even attempt scoring shots at a juncture of the game when his side could be expected to drive home their advantage, having batted their way out of a crucial phase and emerging on the other side relatively unscathed. He more than lived up to his block-bash reputation in the closing stages of the innings, biding his time while also taking Bishoo for two sixes but that final run was not to be.