Faheem, Hasan leave first Test outcome on knife-edge

Kingston (Jamaica) (AFP) –


Double-strikes by Faheem Ashraf and Hasan Ali edged Pakistan ahead at tea in the continuing see-saw contest with the West Indies as the home side slipped to 114 for seven in pursuit of a victory target of 168 on the fourth day of the first Test at Sabina Park on Sunday.

Set back on course by Jermaine Blackwood and Roston Chase following Shaheen Shah Afridi's three-wicket burst before lunch, Faheem revived flagging Pakistan spirits in the afternoon session by breaking the 68-run fourth-wicket partnership when he removed Chase for 22.

He then consigned Kyle Mayers to the indignity of a 'pair' before the previously erratic Hasan found his range to claim the vital wicket of Blackwood for 55.

All three wickets fell to catches by Imran Butt at second slip, the third to get rid of Blackwood emphasising his confidence and sure hands in diving in front of first slip and opening partner Abid Ali to snare the chance.

When Hasan bowled Jason Holder in the final over to the tea break the reaction of the Pakistanis on the field and their support staff in the pavilion suggested that most of the hard work had been done.

However, Joshua da Silva will expect some resolve from Kemar Roach when he joins him in the middle at the start of the final passage of this intriguing, low-scoring duel.

Earlier, Jayden Seales took the last three wickets of the tourists' second innings to become, at 19 years, 336 days, the youngest to take a five-wicket innings haul in Test cricket for the West Indies with figures of five for 55 and a match analysis of eight for 125.

Pakistan's dismissal for 203 from the overnight 160 for five was cause for considerable disappointment but Shaheen lifted the mood when he claimed the wickets of Kieran Powell, captain Kraigg Brathwaite and Nkrumah Bonner in quick succession to put the home side on the back foot for at 16 for three at the start of the victory chase.

Pakistan's overnight pair of skipper Babar Azam and Faheem Ashraf were quickly separated by the ever-threatening Kemar Roach who had Faheem caught behind.

That was the trigger for the last five wickets to tumble for 35 runs.

Mayers effected the most important breakthrough when the medium-pacer got a ball to lift sharply at Babar and Holder took the simple catch at slip to remove Pakistan’s premier batsman for 55.

From there on it was the Seales show as he dispatched Yasir Shah and Shaheen in quick succession.

Hasan Ali hit out boldly and agriculturally for 28 with two fours and two sixes but it was another attempted heave which ended the innings via a well-judged catch by Roach at fine-leg.