Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
With a target of 188 to win, Pakistan seemed set to take an unassailable 2-0 series lead, but West Indies seamer Shannon Gabriel stopped that from happening as he took a five-wicket haul to lead his side to a stunning 106-run win in Barbados.
As a result of their incredible come-from-behind win, the West Indies levelled the three-Test series at 1-1.
The West Indies’ victory also marked the first time since 2015 that they have won a Test match after conceding a first-innings lead.
Starting off the day on 264/9, the West Indies only managed to add four runs to their overnight score before they were bowled out when Devendra Bishoo was dismissed by Yasir Shah for 20.
Having scored 268 in their second innings, the West Indies set Pakistan a target of 188 to win.
Yasir was the pick of the bowlers with seven wickets, while Mohammad Abbas snapped up two and Mohammad Amir chipped in with one.
Chasing 188 to win, Pakistan found themselves in trouble right from the get-go as Gabriel took out opener Azhar Ali for 10 in the seventh over.
In the very next over, Babar Azam was on his way back to the pavilion after being caught behind off the bowling of Alzarri Joseph for a duck.
Captain Jason Holder also joined the party as he trapped Younis Khan lbw for five runs before Gabriel returned and sent skipper Misbah-ul-Haq and Asad Shafiq packing.
Opening batsman Ahmed Shehzad had survived up till this point, but his resistance came to an end when he was given out lbw off the bowling of Joseph for 14.
To make matters worse, debutant Shadab Khan was caught behind off the bowling of Holder, which left Pakistan in all sorts of trouble at 36/7.
Wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed and Amir managed to stem the bleeding temporarily with a 42-run partnership before Gabriel took him and Yasir Shah out in quick succession.
Holder delivered the knockout blow for the West Indies as he dismissed Sarfraz for 23, which led to Pakistan being skittled out for 81, which is their second-lowest score in the second innings of a Test match against the West Indies. Their worst score of 77 came all the way back in November 1986 in Lahore.
Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Pakistan’s score of 81 is also their 10th-lowest total in Test cricket.
Gabriel was the most successful bowler with five wickets, while Holder took three and Joseph claimed two.
Misbah was less than impressed with Pakistan’s performance, and said: “You can easily say that it’s about batting on a day-five pitch. We all know from the first day that it was going to get worse, so that was the difference.
“First innings, we should have got a bigger lead. And finally, on the last day, West Indies bowled their heart out and we were left with no answers. I think we were actually, the thought was to just stay normal. And initially, they gave us a few balls to score off, but we were never trying to go negative or defensive. And we know that on the final day after the new ball wears out, scoring would be difficult.
“But we lost out key batsmen very early and it was difficult after that. I think because of the height – all the bowlers are tall – it was a tailor-made pitch for them to keep hitting the deck hard and make the ball jump around. Yasir Shah has been performing extraordinarily for us.
“Overall, satisfied with the bowling effort, but like I said, we needed a bigger first-innings lead. Both the teams are in the series and this is why you play Test cricket. It’s going to be a good Test match.”
Holder was ecstatic to have won the match, and said: “It was obviously a very good game for us, it was a team effort. We got first-innings runs and were able to back it up with the ball. Shai Hope played a very good innings. Once we gave them anything in excess of 170, it was always going to be a very good chance on a day-five pitch.
“Using cutters and cross-seam deliveries was going to give us help on this pitch. Hope’s innings was outstanding, he has two double-centuries here in first-class cricket. Unfortunately, he did not score a hundred, he deserved it. It was an important win, we needed to keep the series alive.
“I just asked the guys to focus on the important things. It was important for us to show consistency and we were able to do that here.”
Gabriel was named Man of the Match, and said: “It meant a lot to me and thanks to the Almighty for making this possible. I think it was a complete team effort. I think I was trying too hard and trying to bowl too fast, so I just made the decision to stay calm in the second innings. It did reverse a bit but I still had to put the ball in the right areas. It was an up-and-down fifth-day pitch, so we knew that all we had to do was put the ball in the right areas.”