Shaheen edges Pakistan closer to West Indies Test win

Kingston (Jamaica) (AFP) –


Shaheen Shah Afridi struck a vital blow for Pakistan just as rain drove the players off the field and forced an early tea interval with the West Indies, set an unlikely victory target of 329, labouring at 159 for seven on the last day of the second and final Test at Sabina Park on Tuesday.

Frustrated by a seventh-wicket partnership between Kyle Mayers and Jason Holder, Shaheen struck with just his third delivery of the afternoon when he had Mayers caught behind by wicketkeeper Mohammed Rizwan for 32 as the left-hander, who had dominated a stand of 46 with the former captain, drove at a full-length delivery.

The downfall arrived even before a dejected Mayers had left the field and while it is not expected to be a lengthy stoppage, made shorter by tea being taken, it will be a cause of great anxiety for the visitors given the challenges over the weekend when heavy rain left sodden areas around the bowlers' run-ups at one end of the pitch.

Holder, who has played watchfully in getting to 13 off 45 deliveries in more than an hour in the middle, is expected to be joined at the crease by wicketkeeper-batsman Joshua da Silva when play resumes.

Mayers' dismissal was a relief to the tourists as just a couple overs earlier he was dropped at short-leg by Abid Ali off left-arm spinner Nauman Ali.

Abid was also badly at fault when he missed Kraigg Brathwaite at slip off Faheem Ashraf in the morning session.

On 25 at the time, the West Indies captain carried on to 39 but fell shortly after lunch when a top-edged cut off Nauman found a grateful Fawad Alam at backward-point.

Shaheen, the home side's tormentor through this brief campaign with 16 victims now to his name, triggered the clatter of wickets at the start of the day when nightwatchman Alzarri Joseph top-edged an attempted pull after half-hour's play for Rizwan to take a comfortable catch.

Nkrumah Bonner was soon trapped leg-before by Hasan Ali and following Abid's inexplicable miss, his opening partner Imran Butt reinforced his reputation as the safest pair of hands in the Pakistan team, holding on to Roston Chase’s edged drive off Hasan diving to his right at second slip.

Jermaine Blackwood looked capable of reaching the lunch interval with Brathwaite but Nauman Ali accounted for him for 25 via another wicketkeeper's catch, the fourth wicket of the morning after the West Indies resumed at 49 for one.