Shoaib Ahktar's withering pace and controlled hostility, supported by Abdur Razzaq's each-way swing, set off another stunning, if familiar, West Indian collapse that led to a Pakistan victory by 170 runs in Sharjah's inaugural Test here yesterday.
The West Indies, comfortably placed at 111 for 1 at lunch in their quest to prevent their 22nd defeat in their last 26 Tests abroad, were swept aside by tea for 171 by the Pakistani combination.
If they had thoughts of reaching the 324 set for a famous victory by Pakistan's second-innings declaration the previous afternoon, they were swiftly dispelled as their last nine wickets tumbled for 56 from 22.4 overs, the last seven for 25 from 12.5. The second of the two Tests starts at the same venue on Thursday.
Defying a last-day pitch expected to favour spin, not speed, Shoaib claimed 5 for 24 from 16 overs in three separate spells, the best figures in his 18 Tests. Abdur, the all-rounder who joins Middlesex next season, had 4 for 25 from 7.5, including three in the same over.
The other wicket came through the third umpire Athtar Zaidi's inexplicable run-out decision against Sherwin Campbell on a television replay that showed the batsman had made his ground before the wicketkeeper Rashid Latif broke the stumps.
Shoaib, all menace as he charged from his 30-metre approach, legs pumping and hair flapping, four times rattled the stumps of batsmen too late on their shots. Among them were the openers Daren Ganga, the only wicket before lunch for 34 after a promising start of 76, and the left-hander Chris Gayle in his first over after the break for 66, his second top-score of the match.
Shoaib's other victim, the left-handed Wavell Hinds, attracted a throat-seeking bouncer that deflected from self-protecting gloves for a catch Rashid hauled in from over his head. At the opposite end, Abdur removed Shivnarine Chanderpaul with the first ball of his fourth over and had the captain, Carl Hooper, and Ridley Jacobs lbw with the fifth and sixth. But he could not complete the hat-trick and had to wait until his eighth over to complete the innings and the match.
Shoaib, 25, first caught the public's attention as the "Rawalpindi Express" during the 1999 World Cup in England, but has been troubled by injury and doubts over the legality of his delivery.
Television evidence here revealed what the commentator Michael Holding, the former West Indies fast bowler, called "a distinct kink" in the elbow on delivery and, although the Pakistan captain, Waqar Younis, said the issue is "all over and finished", Shoaib is bound to continue to come under close scrutiny.Reuse content