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Ahmed Shehzad slices the ball through point [ESPNcricinfo] 02 May, 2017
Ahmed Shehzad enjoyed three lives. He was dropped on three, lbw to a no-ball on 21 and stumped off another no-ball on 32 © AFP

It was a session that Pakistan undoubtedly won, but, at the same time as Ben Stokes was busy smashing 103 off 63 balls, the cricket probably wasn"t the most exciting on offer. The tourists assumed a position of strength in Bridgetown, exhibiting a soporific crawl instead of a confident stride. Azhar Ali and Ahmed Shehzad scored only 70 in 25 overs across the afternoon but by also remaining unbeaten at tea they retained control of the game.

When the scoring rate is that low, the opposition often feels in with a chance, and West Indies" entire gameplan revolved around that hope. But the times when they did create enough pressure to result in a wicket, they mucked things up. Shehzad was on 3 when he lobbed a catch to mid-on, but Vishaul Singh was unable to hold on. Then he was pinned lbw on 21, but upon the batsman"s review, it was found that Shannon Gabriel had overstepped. Finally, in the third over before tea, on 32 off 117 balls, he was stumped off a Roston Chase no-ball.

The pitch continued to show signs of wear and tear, and the resulting variable bounce meant the batsmen could never completely get their eye in. There were balls that the openers found themselves having to dig out from ankle length, while the footmarks outside the off stump gave wings to the offbreaks pitching into them. The abrasiveness of the surface impacted the ball too, scuffing it up so badly that it had to be changed twice. Azhar still managed to combat these issues to make his 26th half-century.

The day began with a couple of wickets that were mirror images of each other. Jason Holder attempted leave when a shot should have been played, and Chase attempted shot when the ball was better off being left. But the effect of their dismissals was the same; it wrenched all the momentum the home side had built up over a painstaking 132-run partnership, putting them back to the place they are so dreadfully familiar with: square one.

A breezy partnership between Alzarri Joseph and Devendra Bishoo ensured the West Indies made it past 300 but the optimism with which they had begun the day had long since evaporated. Mohammad Abbas - the most successful bowler today - got rid of Bishoo soon after. Yasir Shah cleaned up Joseph next over, and West Indies found themselves shot out for 312.

Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000


    
 
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