Pakistan overcame a major obstacle in Brian Lara to cruise to a comfortable nine-wicket win on the fourth day of the Lahore Test. The sportive crowd couldn’t have asked for a better day’s play with the Prince of Trinidad coming up with a hundred, a true masterpiece under pressure and they got to see their side comeback after that to bowl out Windies. The tourists could put up just 291 leaving Pak just 13 to win despite a 122 from Lara and an 81 from Chanderpaul.
Like any other day, the first hour of the first session would be a crucial one with the ball expected to move around. There was an early wicket for grabs with the night watchman hanging in there along with the Skipper. But it took about 30 minutes for the wicket of Fidel Edwards to fall who succumbed with a weak defense against an away going delivery from Shahid Nazir. There were no more inroads that the bowlers could make as Brian Lara and Shivnarine Chanderpaul brought in all their experience to counter the good balls and thrash the loose ones to the fence. Lara and Chanderpaul moved onto 88 and 43 respectively at Lunch as they took Windies 91 short of their deficit of 279. Lara had a miraculous escape just few minutes before Lunch one must say when he wasn’t given out lbw after getting struck right in front of the stumps by a flatter and quicker delivery from Shoaib Malik.
The sun was blazing in the afternoon and with that batting was a cakewalk for the two big guns of West Indies. There was a good spell of reverse swing bowling from Umar Gul that the two batsmen survived to get to their respective milestones. First it was Lara getting to his 33rd Test Match hundred followed by Chanderpaul who worked his way to bring up his 39th fifty. However there were enough indications that Shiv Chanderpaul was slowly running out of puff as he was feeling dehydrated. The Physio did make a few rounds to keep him going but the concentration seems to have vanished. It was a chancy move from the Skipper in charge, Younis Khan who brought in part timer Mohammad Hafeez who struck with his fourth delivery with the big wicket of Brian Lara’s. The offie had bowled a straighter delivery that beat Lara’s intentions of playing a sweep to rap him up on the pads. Simon Taufel gave that out which looked to be a good decision. Lara made 122 in 219 balls with 19 fours.
A couple of chances were messed up by the fielding side starting with Kamran Akmal fumbling an easy stumping chance with Chanderpaul jumping down the track and missing a Danish Kaneria’s delivery. The second one was a dropped catch by Imran Farhat at short leg which was offered by Bravo off Hafeez. Bravo couldn’t capitalize on that chance as he soon got out lbw to Umar Gul. Chanderpaul then lost his new partner, Denesh Ramdin who had got a doubtful bat pad decision which gave Kaneria his first wicket of the innings. Defeat was now inevitable with West Indies at 252 for 7 at Tea.
The writing was on the wall once Shiv Chanderpaul miscued a pull shot off Shahid Nazir with the second new ball in operation. Chanderpaul was dismissed after scoring 81 which had come in 178 balls with 8 fours. Not much of resistance was on offer from the tail enders with the innings folding up in 94 overs. The target of 13 was achieved by the homeside in 31 balls but with the loss of Mohammad Hafeez who was caught in the crease by an incoming delivery from Corey Collymore. For his 9 wickets in the match, Umar Gul edged out Mohammad Yousuf who made 192 for the Man of the Match award. The second of the three Test-Series starts from the 19th at Inzamam’s hometown, Multan.