West Indies bite back in Multan

Following Pakistan’s dominance of the opening day in Multan, it could have been expected that the West Indies would have conceded a huge total and then capitulated meekly, as they have characteristically done so in the past decade. However this is not the West Indies of recent years. Nor equally is it a reincarnation of the fabled side of the 1970s and 1980s. But faced with a tough situation against a more than competent Pakistan side, they produced a performance that fused the calypso era of the past with the grit required to succeed in Pakistan. A four-man pace attack there may not be, but there adaptability and versatility in vast quantities.

It was Jerome Taylor, the young Jamaican fast bowler who made such an impression at the Champions Trophy, who turned the tide of the game and pushed the momentum the West Indies way. Resuming on 263 for four, Taylor removed a cumbersome Inzamam-ul-Haq with a beauty just three overs into the day’s play, caught behind by Ramdin. Shoaib Malik, not out overnight, stabilised the innings with Abdul Razzaq, who was strangely restrained throughout his unbeaten knock of 16 and Pakistan looked well set at 315 for five.

It took a stunning diving catch at third slip from Dwayne Bravo to break the partnership, as Corey Collymore’s patience finally induced the edge from Shoaib Malik. It was just rewards for Collymore, whose tireless accuracy in a marathon 15-over spell heaped pressure on the Pakistani batsmen for Taylor to later expose. Kamran Akmal’s patchy form continued, as he dispatched Collymore twice to the fence in three balls before flapping at the third and edging behind.

If Collymore had suppressed any hope of a Pakistan onslaught, Taylor shattered their control of the match with two quick wickets: Shahid Nazir, trapped leg before, and Umar Gul, who gave Bravo his third catch at slip. Daren Powell completed the collapse by running out last-man Danish Kaneria off his own bowling. Pakistan finished with 357, at least fifty short of the total they had been hoping for. Taylor finished with figures of 26-6-91-5.

That said, the work of Taylor and Collymore would have counted for nothing had the batsmen not fed on the morning’s momentum. Neither Chris Gayle nor Daren Ganga had made a significant contribution in Lahore, where the Pakistan seamers had wreaked havoc with the new ball. Both began a little insecurely, but having the survived some early scares the pair pacified the Pakistani attack on a pitch not offering undue concern to the batsmen. Ganga remained wary throughout the day, finishing on 59 from 179 balls, but Gayle, having seen of the threat of Gul and Nazir, and the leg-spin of Kaneria, opened up and compounded Pakistan’s despondency. He was unbeaten on 87 from 169 balls at the close, with ten fours and a pulled six off Mohammad Hafeez’s innocuous off-breaks. The West Indies closed on 151 without loss, but there is no room for sloppiness: look at Lahore, look at the speed at which Pakistan folded here in Multan.

Pakistan 357 all out (124 overs)
Imran Farhat 74, Younis Khan 56, Mohammad Yousuf 56; Jerome Taylor 5-91

West Indies 151-0 (57)
Chris Gayle 87*, Daren Ganga 59*

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