Crucial dropped catch weighs heavily against Windies
by AFP

Ground:Sabina Park, Kingston
Scorecard:West Indies v Pakistan
Player:BC Lara, WW Hinds, Shabbir Ahmed, Danish Kaneria, Inzamam-ul-Haq
Event:Pakistan in West Indies 2004/05

DateLine: 5th June 2005


A crucial dropped catch by West Indies wicketkeeper Courtney Browne let Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and, indeed, the visitors off the hook in their second and final Test here.


Inzamam benefited from Browne's greasy gloves and sped to a half-century to lead his side, who trailed by 30 runs on first innings, to 223 for four when stumps were drawn on the third day on Sunday.


Fast bowler Corey Collymore, who has collected three wickets for 36 runs from 11 overs for his maiden 10-wicket haul in Tests, had put the skids on the Pakistanis with the removal of Shoaib Malik for 64 and Asim Kamal for a duck in the space of three balls.


There was a sense of anticipation when Inzamam, who strangely batted at five, arrived to a cacophony of noise from the half-filled Sabina Park. But those loud cheers soon turned to uproarious boos.


Collymore galloped in to bowl with the crowd in the George Headley Stand behind him, and around the ground on the edges of their seat. He delivered a perfectly pitched delivery that moved away from just outside off-stump, and Inzamam groped sheepishly, only to find the edge.


Browne, who has an unenviable reputation of letting off key batsmen in his 21 Tests, flew to his right, and succeeded in getting both his gloves to the ball, only to spill it, much to the consternation of the bowler, the crowd, and several others around the Caribbean that have been calling for his head for the exact same reason.


Inzamam, like most top batsmen, decided it was too good a chance to waste, and immediately dug in. A couple of meaty pulls off Daren Powell and a few searing cuts off Chris Gayle telegraphed a strong message to West Indies and Browne, in particular.


Inzamam spent close to 1-1/2 hours adding a vital 75 for the fourth wicket with his deputy Younis Khan, who scored 46, before he offered Chris Gayle a tame return catch about 20 minutes before the close.


Collymore had pegged Pakistan back to 119 for three, after their openers gave the second innings a flying start.


Hameed and Malik set upon some loose bowling from the West Indies new ball pair of Daren Powell and Tino Best, as well as support bowler Reon King, in an opening stand of 66, before Collymore made the breakthrough in his second over.


Malik played two memorable straight drives off Best, and Hameed essayed a couple searing square cuts, but both were fortunate to have lasted as long as they did.


Wavell Hinds dropped the straightforward chance that Hameed offered to him at third slip on 16 off Tino Best, and next over, Malik drove a delivery from Daren Powell just wide of a sprawling King at mid-off.


But Collymore, gaining bounce and movement from the hard, true Sabina Park pitch, had Hameed caught at third slip for 26 edging a ball that lifted and left him.


A stand of 53 for the third wicket between Younis and Malik either side of tea that was taken with the Pakistanis on 86 for one, helped the visitors recover from the setback.


Collymore however, beat Malik with several deliveries that moved away from him and eventually had him caught behind - ironically by Browne - and two balls later, trapped Kamal lbw plumb in front to leave the Pakistanis 119 for three.


Earlier, West Indies extended their innings to about half-hour after lunch, and were dismissed for 404, replying to Pakistan's first innings total of 374.


Shabbir Ahmed, whose bowling action was reported to the International Cricket Council last week, and Shahid Afridi shared the last six West Indies wickets equally either side of the home team reaching 374 for seven at lunch.


Shabbir was the pick of Pakistan's bowlers with four wickets for 64 runs from 22 overs, and Afridi supported with three for 51 from 13.1 overs.


Before lunch, Shabbir had snared all three wickets that had fallen to upset West Indies' plans for a sizeable total and, indeed, lead.


Armed with the second new ball, Shabbir removed batting kingpin Brian Lara for a majestic 153 and Browne for a first-ball duck off successive deliveries in his first over with the cherry, and later added Powell.


Up to his intervention, West Indies had almost literally had things their way, after they continued from their bedtime position of 275 for four.


Lara, whose stated intention was to bat for the remainder of the day, continued to explore the full range of his strokes.


His duel with Danish Kaneria was a joy to behold, and in between some circumspect batting, he would dance down the pitch to clout the leg-spin bowler for runs.


Umpire Darrell Hair however, spoiled Lara's fun, when he issued a second warning to Kaneria for trodding on the protected area of the pitch, and the leg-spin bowler was removed from the attack for the remainder of the West Indies' innings.


This prompted the arrival of the second new ball, and Lara greeted it with a lofted drive off Abdul Razzaq to the widish long-on boundary for four.


Next ball, Shabbir dropped Lara, on 148, at mid-off when the left-handed batsman miscued a backfoot drive to an awkwardly bouncing delivery from Razzaq, but Lara crashed the next delivery off the backfoot to the cover boundary for four to reach his 150.


As if to compensate for the muffed chance, Shabbir struck twice in the second over with the new ball.


Lara, the former West Indies captain, gloved a steepling bouncer to give wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal the third of his five dismissals, and next ball, Browne's edged another catch to the keeper.


Lara struck 20 fours and two sixes from 233 balls in close to five hours of batting and added 51 for the fifth wicket with fellow left-hander Wavell Hinds, who shared 30 for the sixth wicket with Powell to get West Indies within reach of the lead.


But Powell was caught behind for 14 after spending nearly 45 minutes at the crease before Best drove Shabbir to long off for a couple to bring West Indies level just prior to lunch.


After the interval, Afridi bowled Tino Best for 18 with the fifth ball after the interval, trapped King lbw on the backfoot for a duck in his second over after lunch, and wrapped up the innings when Wavell Hinds was caught at slip for 63 when he top-edged a cut after striking 11 fours from 109 balls in a shade under 2-1/2 hours.


West Indies, who were beaten 2-0 at home by South Africa in their most recent Test series and lost eight consecutive One-day Internationals to the Proteas and Pakistan, lead the two-Test series 1-0, after winning the first Test at Bridgetown by 276 runs.

(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)