A 60-run stand between Blackwood and Bonner had kept Pakistan at bay for much of the extended session
Lunch West Indies 123 for 8 (Holder 8*, Roach 0*, Afridi 4-40, Abbas 3-29) trail Pakistan 302 for 9 dec (Alam 124*, Babar 75, Seales 3-38, Roach 3-68) by 179 runs
The elements seemed to have conspired to lead this game down the cul-de-sac of a pointless draw, but emboldened by having nothing to lose, Pakistan made it an engrossing viewing. They had West Indies on the ropes overnight, 39 for 3 with Nkrumah Bonner and nightwatchman Alzarri Joseph at the crease.
Afridi made short work of Joseph in the morning, drawing a meaty outside edge that Babar Azam snaffled at slip to further underscore Pakistan’s dominance in the contest. The spell that followed was perhaps Pakistan’s most wayward, with Afridi, in particular, going too far down the leg side as he tried to exploit the natural left-armer’s angle into the right-hander. Abbas prowled and menaced, but through a combination of Blackwood’s flamboyance and Bonner’s steel, West Indies were finding a way of settling down.
Hasan Ali went after the stumps, too, perhaps to exploit Bonner’s tendency to get out bowled or lbw, his mode of dismissal in six of his nine Test dismissals. But it gave away easy runs to fine leg and West Indies soon brought up the 50-run partnership. As lunch bore down, it appeared to be the hosts’ session.
Abbas changed all that in two deliveries. Not exactly two, because he had worked on softening Bonner up with inswinging deliveries before moving one away that kissed the outside edge. Kyle Mayers, yet to score a run this series, saw his wait extended by another innings after Abbas went around the wicket and induced him to poke at one.
West Indies were suddenly six down and Afridi was steaming in, enjoying a second wind. He went short to Blackwood, and even though the batter pulled him away for four once, he kept plugging away. A beast of a bouncer threatened to lodge up the batter’s nostrils, and as Blackwood desperately fended it off, it flew up towards gully. Fawad Alam took an excellent catch as he leapt to his right, and both set batsmen had departed.
There were further troubles for the hosts before lunch when Abbas prised out Joshua Da Silva, trapping him plumb in front. The session could not end soon enough for West Indies, but the late blows they took in it mean Pakistan now have a realistic chance of levelling the series.
Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000