Mushtaq leads Pakistan charge

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The Independent Online

Pakistan immediately made up for lost time to take control of the first Test against the West Indies here after rain delayed the start of yesterday's third day until 20 minutes after lunch.

Mushtaq Ahmed, whose leg breaks and googlies had mesmerised the batsmen through 17 consecutive overs on the previous afternoon, removed the captain Jimmy Adams and Chris Gayle within the first 40 minutes. Ridley Jacobs followed, run out at the bowler's end in a mix-up with Shivnarine Chanderpaul, as the West Indies declined from their overnight 101 for 3 to 149 for 6 at the first drinks break.

It left them 139 behind Pakistan's first innings of 288 with only Chanderpaul of the main batsmen remaining to salvage the faltering innings.

On a slowly wearing pitch responding to spin, the brittle West Indies batting, still sorely missing the resting Brian Lara, will be hard-pressed to keep out Mushtaq Ahmed and the off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq on the final day. Guyana's equatorial weather offers their most realistic chance of avoiding defeat.

After Adams punched the day's third ball to extra-cover boundary, Mushtaq drew him forward with his next delivery and found a thin outside edge that carried to first slip so near to the turf that umpire Steve Bucknor had to seek confirmation from the TV replay.

Gayle, 20, in his third Test, drove two boundaries off Mushtaq but was then lured into a leg-side heave that sent a catch to Wasim Akram at mid-on.

While Mushtaq wheeled away from the Regent Street end, Akram posed different problems with his lively left-arm swing. He repeatedly passed the bat without reward but the captain, Moin Khan, could afford to be patient. He still had Saqlain up his sleeve.