Pakistan were always expected to get the better of West Indies at Abu Dhabi. But, considering the fact that the visitors put up a spirited show in the opening Test, there were hopes that the second Test could also be a closely contested one. However, that did not turn out to be the case. On the contrary, Pakistan dominated proceedings right from start to end. Their batsmen put up the requisite runs on the board while the bowlers never allowed the Windies batters to settle. It was the kind of dominant performance expected of Pakistan at what has become their home venue of late.
Yasir Shah, on expected lines, was the key to Pakistan’s victory. The leggie bamboozled the West Indies batsmen and, as a result, they were always on the backfoot. His four wickets in the first innings were instrumental in keeping West Indies down to under 230. It was difficult for the Windies to come back from that point. Yasir was again the hero as he claimed six second wickets innings to bowl Pakistan to a memorable series win. The visitors showed some fight in the second essay, but it faded in comparison to Shah’s heroics.
Pakistan’s batting in the Test was also highly impressive. Their stalwarts stood up again. They were in big trouble after losing their openers cheaply on the first day. But, Younis Khan marked his return with yet another hard-fought hundred, and he was ably supported by Misbah-uq-Haq, who narrowly missed out on one. The dynamic duo just seem to keep getting better with age. There were good support acts, from Asad Shafiq, who got fifties in both innings, and Sarfraz Ahmed, Sami Aslam and Azhar Ali, who chipped in with a half-century each in the game.
West Indies lost the match primarily because they couldn’t get their batting in order. Not a single batsman scored a fifty in West Indies’ first innings, with the highest being 43 by Darren Bravo, a staggering stat for a Test match. In the second innings, Jermaine Blackwood fought hard for his 95. But, the match was all but out of Windies’ grasp by then. Marlon Samuels yet again let the team down, falling after getting starts in both innings. Runs were expected from Kraigg Brathwaite and Bravo. They did spend some time at the crease, but the desired results weren’t produced.
West Indies’ bowling was a mixed bag of sorts. Shannon Gabriel worked hard for his five-for in the first innings. He has been the most impressive West Indian pacer of late. Skipper Jason Holder also chipped in with three scalps. But, there was precious little from the rest. Devendra Bishoo, in particular, had a disappointing match, managing only a solitary scalp following the highs of the previous match, where he ran through the Pakistani batting line-up. Bishoo’s lack of potency went a long way in West Indies failing to make an impact in the Test.
--By A Cricket Analyst