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5 Talking Points from West Indies' incredible Test victory over Pakistan at Sharjah

West Indies Team
West Indies registered one of their most memorable Test victories at Sharjah

Though they had given Pakistan a considerable scare in the first Test at Dubai, West Indies arrived at Sharjah mindful of the fact that all eight matches on their tour (also involving T20Is and ODIs) until then had ended in defeats. Misbah-ul-Haq’s team had taken an unassailable 2-0 lead following a convincing performance in the previous Test at Abu Dhabi and won yet another toss which only added to the Caribbean outfit’s worries.

However, Jason Holder’s side produced a remarkable performance against an opposition who were at home when playing on those slow and low pitches in UAE. By responding to obduracy with unyielding persistence, West Indies notched up a famous 5-wicket victory to salvage something memorable from their trip while Pakistan had to remain content with a 2-1 series triumph.

Also Read: Pakistan vs West Indies 3rd Test Stats: Kraigg Brathwaite's all-time Test record, Yasir Shah overtakes Ravichandran Ashwin

Here are five of the most interesting talking points from the gripping encounter.

#5 Bishoo turns it West Indies’ way

Devendra Bishoo
Bishoo delivered the breakthroughs in the first innings

Pakistani batsmen have a well-documented history of struggling against leg-spinners. Having picked up a ten-wicket haul in the opening Test at Dubai, Devendra Bishoo was eager to test their mettle further. Despite a couple of early wickets, the West Indies bowlers were not able to grab the initiative and needed their leg-spinner to bring them back into the match.

Bishoo rose to the occasion by prising out a cluster of key wickets to derail Pakistan’s progress. After luring Sami Aslam and Misbah into ill-fated reverse sweeps, the wrist-spinner prevented any punitive action from the lower order.

#4 Amir‘s action-packed outing

Mohammad Amir
Amir had plenty to deal with on the field

It has been rumored that coaches in Pakistan often advise emerging fast bowlers to not rely on their error-prone fielders and instead target the stumps. After seeing his team-mates drop numerous catches during the England tour, Mohammad Amir’s misfortune continued in this series as well.

Knowing that his side needed early wickets to make a fist of the meager fourth-innings target, he squared up opener Leon Johnson twice only to see both those simple catches go begging behind the stumps.

Interestingly, Amir was kept busy right throughout the contest. The left-hander got run out in an extremely comical fashion when Roston Chase pulled off an astonishing save at the boundary. This after he himself grabbed a spectacular catch to finally get off the mark in the fielding department.

#3 Remember the name Brathwaite: Part II

Kraigg Brathwaite
Brathwaite held West Indies together without any fuss

When the hard-hitting Carlos Brathwaite smashed England aside to propel West Indies to the World T20 title earlier this year at Eden Gardens, former fast bowler and insightful commentator Ian Bishop thundered on air – “Carlos Brathwaite. Remember the name.” Though it was not quite the same atmosphere here at Sharjah, opener Kraigg Brathwaite’s heroics deserves as much applause.

Amidst wickets regularly falling at the other end, the compact right-hander carried his bat en route to a 318-ball 142 and held West Indies’ fragile batting lineup together like binding glue. Not quite content with his effort, Kraigg Brathwaite replicated the feat in the second innings to guide his team to the tricky target to become the first ever opener to carry his bat during both innings of a Test.

Safe to say, we might hear a lot more from this 23-year old Bajan in the near future.

#2 Holder bounces out Pakistan

Jason Holder
Holder purged Pakistan’s top-order with his extra bounce

One of the most common sights during the late 70s and early 80s was a West Indies pacer subjecting hapless opposition batsmen to a barrage of short-pitched stuff. As their fast bowling stocks began to wither away since the late 90s, their unbridled dominance over world cricket also continued to diminish.

On a pitch which did not have anything for the seamers apart from a semblance of reverse, skipper Jason Holder turned back the clock with a nostalgia-inducing spell.

Under-fire for his seemingly inadequate leadership skills, the 24-year old responded by leading from the front and literally pushing the Pakistani batsmen on the back foot. Possessing awkward height, which allows him to generate extra bounce, the right-armer ripped apart the top-order with a game-changing effort before cleaning up the tail and earning a maiden five-wicket haul.

#1 An oasis which could not have come sooner

West Indies Team
West Indies have a reasonable core of players to shape into a resolute side

Prior to this match, West Indies had played 39 Tests away from home during the last ten years against all teams excluding Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. However, they could only manage a solitary victory (against South Africa at Port Elizabeth, 2007) from all those matches. Their last 20 Tests both home and away against the other top eight teams had brought them only one win (against England at Barbados, 2015).

For such a team to defeat the much higher ranked Pakistan on a typically sluggish surface at UAE could prove to be a major fillip in their pathway towards parity. With Bangladesh registering their maiden victory against England in the recently completed drawn series and possible Test statuses to Afghanistan as well as Ireland, West Indies clawing their way back should augur well for the strength of Test cricket.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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