Game still evenly poised

A fighting half-century from Denesh Ramdin kept the West Indies in the third Test at Karachi today, with Pakistan having to work hard to press home their slight advantage on a tricky pitch. Ramdin’s 50 came along with a 44-run last wicket partnership that ensured the West Indies kept pace with their hosts.

The tricky pitch has been the subject of much debate over the past couple of days, with Chris Gayle particularly critical – however, it played slightly better today than it had on the first two days. That is not to say that batting was easy – runs only came at 2.5 an over in the Pakistan second innings, with Mohammad Hafeez scoring a dogged half-century.

In what was largely a dull day’s cricket, the West Indies reached 260 all out on the stroke of lunch, after Ramdin played an important innings for his fourth Test half-century. Although he struggled against Danish Kaneria, Ramdin played the Pakistani seamers with aplomb. He had earlier lost Daren Ganga to a poor shot on 77, chasing a wide one from Abdul Razzaq.

Ramdin and Corey Collymore resisted for long enough to mean that Pakistan’s lead was a mere 44 runs – however, in what looks likely to be a fairly low-scoring game, that could be an important margin. They finished the day on 130-2 in their second innings, with Hafeez’s half-century the highlight after some solid bowling from the tourists.

Jerome Taylor found some reverse swing, and Collymore was his usual accurate self as the West Indies restricted run-scoring opportunities efficiently. A touch of extra spice was added to the day with Mohammad Yousuf’s arrival at the crease late on – he needs 47 in this innings to overtake Viv Richards’ record of 1710 runs in a calendar year, having already broken one record with an incredible eight Test centuries this year.

Pakistan’s lead currently stands at 174, and they can rest assured in the knowledge that anything upwards of 250 will be a challenging total on this wicket – however, the West Indies will feel they have fought back well in a day that was more evenly matched than at first sight.

Pakistan 130-2 & 304
Mohammad Hafeez 57*; Chris Gayle 1-23

West Indies 260
Daren Ganga 77, Denesh Ramdin 50; Umar Gul 4-79

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