A 155 run opening stand between Azhar Ali and Ahmed Shahzad took Pakistan to 172/3 and put them in the driving seat on day 2 at Bridgetown after they had shot out West Indies for 312. Ahmed Shahzad and Azhar Ali had coped some heavy criticism for their failures in the first Test but made amends with a solid partnership here.
Earlier, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Abbas once again impressed by dismissing the set batsmen within the first two overs of day 2, with the score still on 286. Neither Jason Holder nor Roston Chase added to their overnight individual scores as Abbas picked up four to finish the West Indian innings at 312.
Shahzad then survived a dropped catch, an LBW off a no-ball and a stumped off a no-ball to reach his half-century while his partner, Azhar Ali, was more fluent. Though Bishoo eventually had Shahzad edging to slips.
Gabriel then picked out Babar Azam for a duck while Younis Khan also departed for a duck after slashing a long hop from Bishoo to short mid-wicket. However, with Azhar Ali and Misbah-ul-Haq at the wicket, Pakistan still hold all aces.
Brief Scores: West Indies 312/10 (Chase 131, Holder 58, Abbas 4/56), Pakistan 172/3 (Azhar Ali 81*, Shahzad 70, Bishoo 2/53)
Here are the talking points from day 2 at Bridgetown.
#5 Chase and Holder let down West Indies
After taking the hosts from 154/6 to 286/6 with a superb 132 run stand, West Indies needed Chase and Holder to take them past the 350 or 400 run mark. The bulk of the hard work had been done on day 1 and it was time to capitalise on that as day 2 arrived.
However, a confused Holder half-heartedly left a ball from Abbas that caught the edge to the keeper. Chase didn't last long as well and edged Mohammad Amir to the slips off a tentative prod when he should have ideally left the ball. The quick dismissals put West Indies on the back foot and shot down their total to 312.
#4 Mohammad Abbas, one for the future
After creating quite an impression on debut with his seam movement and generous swing, Mohammad Abbas once again grabbed the limelight with a quality show at Bridgetown in the first innings. Having accounted for Hetmyer yet again, Abbas returned to grab the wicket of Vishaul Singh.
On day 2, he was right on the money with a relatively new ball, getting rid of Jason Holder with a superb ball that left the batsman confused. Abbas had broken the crucial partnership and returned to grab the wicket of Bishoo to complete a four-wicket haul.
#3 Ahmed Shahzad has a charmed life
Having made a comeback into the Test side, Shahzad needed some runs in this series to retain the faith of the selectors. That seemed destined to happen as the batsman was dropped in just the third over of the Pakistan innings.
He then went on to survive an LBW decision off Shannon Gabriel as the umpire found that the bowler had overstepped. Shahzad was meanwhile adding runs to the wounds of the Windies and went on to have another life when Chase overstepped only to see the batsman would have been stumped had he bowled a legitimate delivery.
Shahzad was eventually dismissed on 70 by Bishoo.
#2 Azhar Ali back to beast mode
West Indies know how dangerous it is to let Azhar Ali bat for long periods. The Pakistan opener had smashed a triple hundred against West Indies in the last series between these two sides. Having got rid of him early in both innings of the first Test, West Indies needed to repeat the feat.
But Ali was in that kind of mood on day 2 at Bridgetown that anything and everything thrown at him bore no fruit. He was watchful yet elegant when he landed his front foot forward to drive the ball through the covers.
Despite being pretty disciplined with their bowling, West Indies could not break through Ali and this would worry them going into a crucial day 3.
#1 Game in the balance but much will hinge on day 3
The game is probably just in the balance courtesy three late wickets picked by West Indies to put Pakistan on the back foot. The momentum might be with the Windies right now, but Pakistan have two batsmen who have time and again fought back with admirable success.
Misbah-ul-Haq and Azhar Ali are among the top three batsmen in the Pakistan side and possess a natural instinct to succeed in such precarious situations. However, credit must go to the Windies for their fight back late in the day. They have been disciplined and if they can grab an early wicket on day 3, the equation could alter.