Pakistan end day three with a lead of 124 after West Indies had nudged ahead by 36 in the first innings
Stumps Pakistan 217 and 160 for 5 (Babar 54*, Abid 34, Roach 2-15) lead West Indies 253 (Brathwaite 97, Afridi 4-59) by 124 runs
On either side of a two-and-a-half-hour rain delay, West Indies bowlers’ were characteristically patient and as consistent as they’ve been all Test, but will need one final effort to ensure their batters have a target within their reach.
West Indies then struck early themselves after the changeover, getting rid of the struggling Imran Butt for nought as he pushed his pad out at one that was crashing into middle stump. Thereafter, though, Abid Ali and Azhar Ali settled down, seeing off the pace bowlers without much trouble. Abid looked to take the attack to Warrican early on, too, dancing down the pitch to deposit the left-arm spinner’s fourth ball for the first six of the match; it was the shot that erased Pakistan’s deficit.
Over the next hour or so, they did just that under blackening skies, the runs trickling along gradually. With an increasing amount of sideways movement for the pacers, it was anything but easy, and the 56 runs they managed before the heavens opened may yet be the difference between success and failure.
Two-and-a-half-hours later, though, and under clear blue skies, Holder drew Rizwan into a forward defensive push with seam movement producing the edge; West Indies once more appeared to be sniffing at the lower order.
Faheem Ashraf, though has shown he isn’t a pushover with the bat, and while he possesses the flair he showcased on the first day, the steel was on full display this evening. Scoring just 12 runs in 79 deliveries, he happily played second fiddle to Azam, who brought up a high-quality half-century before the day was done.
West Indies may yet rue a dropped slip catch early into Ashraf’s innings – Jermaine Blackwood was the culprit – but Pakistan will be reassured by the relative solidity of the pair at the crease. As the light deteriorated and the umpires brought out the light metre after every over, the duo shut up shop completely, and did not look especially susceptible doing so.
West Indies took the last five Pakistan wickets for 31 runs on day one. The home side will need a similarly explosive performance tomorrow morning to give themselves the best chance of a manageable chase. The weather would be relatively clear, but the outcome of this tantalising Test remains anything but that.
Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000