WIvPAK, 1st Test….Darren Bravo shine but WI lose fight

Darren Bravo battled manfully – a near flawless innings which gave West Indies great hope throughout the final day of the first Test – but the visitors still went under to Pakistan by 56 runs in the opening match of the Haier Cup Test series.

The left-hander scored a wonderful 116 but when he left the West Indies hopes faded on the fifth and final night of what was a thrilling first Test match for both team with the pink ball at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Bravo departed in the final session- brilliantly caught and bowled by Yasir Shah diving to his left with the Windies still 87 away from the winning mark of 346 runs.

Although skipper Jason Holder tried to keep things together, the visitors folded for 289 – losing the match, making it seven straight losses across all formats against the Pakistanis on this tour. Holder was left 40 not out and West Indies lost their last two wickets – tailenders Miguel Cummins Shannon Gabriel and via the run out route.

The day began in horrible fashion for the West Indies, as Marlon Samuels feathered the first ball to Sarfraz Ahmed of Amir. This immediately forced the West Indies into their shell and they looked nothing like the day before.

Bravo was watchful as has been his new approach to Test cricket and even the normally free flowing Jermaine Blackwood was hesitant. This gave Pakistan the confidence to rush in hard and soon there was another cause for celebration.

Mohammad Nawaz trapped Blackwood leg before and although umpire Paul Reifel ruled not out, his decision was overturned by the third umpire, upon a review from Pakistan. At 116 for four, the next run looked almost impossible to get. It was if every ball sent down by hosts had a grenade attached to it.

Roston Chase joined Bravo and decided to play ball on merit. He was sound in defence and defiance but anything off line or off length, was dealt with. Bravo kept on picking the singles and all of a sudden the score started moving along. The two pushed the score to 154 for four at lunch, leaving the equation 192 runs from the final two sessions with eight wickets in hand.

On the resumption the two continued to display good Test batting, as probing deliveries sent down by the Pakistanis were met with confident broad bats and those naughty ones were sent the distance. Bravo brought up his 16th Test fifty off 139 balls during the association and just as Chase looked set to register his, he was out. He tried to on-drive Yasir Shah out of the rough and was bowled – his 35 came of 83 balls and included three fours.

A run later West Indian spirits sank lower, as wicketkeeper/batsman Shane Dowrich was beaten for pace by Wahab Riaz and left the arena with the score at 194.

Holder came in and saw Bravo to his eight Test century which came in 329 minutes of 211 balls and included nine fours and a six. The captain blocked up one end in order to give Bravo all the support, knowing that a victory depended on Bravo brave atting. They took the West Indies to the supper break at 232 for six wickets and left 114 to the final session.

The final session started with more the same application from Holder and some brilliant off-side play by Bravo. They took the score along to 263 when a brilliant caught and bowled effort from Shah, ended a brilliant knock of 116 by Bravo. He batted for 410 minutes, faced 249 balls and struck 10 fours and a six.

(Taken from windiescricket.com)