At the tail end of another dismal season, the West Indies finally secured a match-winning position on the second day of the first Test against a depleted Pakistan side yesterday.
They have so far gone four Tests and eight one-day internationals without a single victory, beaten 2-0 by South Africa in the preceding series of four Tests and in all the intervening limited-overs matches against South Africa and Pakistan.
Inspired by another masterful century by Brian Lara on the opening day, their fast bowlers seized the initiative, dismissing Pakistan, handicapped by the absence of their two best batsmen, captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, who is sitting out a one-match suspension, and Yousaf Youhanna, who has returned home to his ill father, for 144 and then extending their lead to 368 by reaching 167 for 4 in their second innings.
Their unfamiliarity with such dominance was clear when they lost Devon Smith for 10, Ramnaresh Sarwan for 1 and Chris Gayle for 50 to subside to 64 for 3 in successive overs. But Lara and the captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul, as they did in the first innings, steadied the nerves with a partnership of 72.
Lara fell for 48 to wicket-keeper Kamran Akmal's smart stumping off Shahid Afridi but Chanderpaul remained to the end, unbeaten on 37.
Earlier, Pakistan subsided from an overnight 22 without loss to their inadequate total an hour and a half into the second session.
The West Indies bowling spearhead was Fidel Edwards with five wickets for 38. Pakistan's problems started with the third ball of the day. Afridi, the cavalier opener, edged an outswinger from Edwards to third slip after which no one looked likely to extend the West Indies for any time.
Stand-in captain Youns Khan was top scorer with 31 but he fell to Edwards, a victim of a miscued pull that lobbed a catch to mid-on.Reuse content