HARJAH, United Arab Emirates, CMC – Batting coach Toby Radford has dismissed suggestions a West Indies win on Thursday’s final day of the final Test is a formality, and has urged for calm heads as the Caribbean side seek to clinch their first win of an otherwise disappointing series.
Set a tricky 153 for victory, the Windies ended day four of the contest at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on 114 for five – still 39 runs short of their first victory in nine outings on the tour.
But Radford warned that despite the small size of the target, West Indies were not guaranteed of victory and it was important they remained composed if they were to complete the successful run chase.
“I don’t think any game is every easy to win. Pakistan are a very good side, they’ve played some great cricket all through this Test series and also in the other formats,” the Englishman told reporters here Wednesday.
“There’s no easy game to win. Yasir Shah is taking wickets in every innings. He’s a dangerous bowler, you have two high quality left-arm seamers – it’s a quality attack – and if you lose one or two wickets early on, it’s easy to get into a little bit of panic.
Opener Kraigg Brathwaite … holds the keys to a West Indies win on Thursday’s final day of the third Test.
“One [hundred and fifty] is a funny score to get, it’s not a big score but you still have to bat a period of time. You might have to bat for 70 overs to get 150 on a slowish wicket so I don’t think it is easy but it’s easy to get into a little bit of panic if you lose two or three [wickets] which is what I think happened this evening.”
The burden of responsibility will fall on opener and vice-captain Kraigg Brathwaite, who was unbeaten on 44, following up on his 142 not out in the first innings.
He was partnered by the enterprising wicketkeeper/batsman Shane Dowrich, on 36, with the pair so far having put on 47 for the sixth wicket to pull the Windies around from a precarious position of 67 for five.
Radford said though much rested on Brathwaite’s presence at the crease, he did not expect the right-hander to be ruffled by it.
“I wouldn’t say [he will be under] pressure. He’s very unflappable as a character. He’s quite a quiet guy and when he gets in his bubble batting, he just wants to bat and he will bat six hours, eight hours, 10 hours as you’ve seen,” Radford pointed out.
“I hope he will just carrying on doing what he’s doing. He’s been outstanding in this game. He held us together in the first innings and he’s held us together again today and he’s top class player and has a very good approach to batting for Test match cricket.”
And with Brathwaite still there, Radford assured there would be no plan to attack Pakistan’s bowlers early on Thursday in order to get the total quickly.
“We’ve got the whole of tomorrow to bat so there was no sort of message or plan to go quickly at it (total), it was just to bat normally,” Radford said.
“Kraigg Brathwaite plays that way, he’s been fantastic in both innings so far. [He has] great concentration and application and he just carries on playing the way he plays but the plan is for everyone to go in and play their natural game and to try and knock that score off.”
Though Brathwaite took the spotlight, Radford said Dowrich’s innings had been invaluable late in the day especially with the Windies under pressure.
“I think he played very well. It’s a nervy last day for both sides but he played well,” Radford stressed.
“He was positive, I thought. It’s very easy in situations like those to go extremely defensive but I thought every opportunity he had to score he took it, and slowly we started eating into that lead so it’s looking like a good last morning.”
West Indies have already lost the series after suffered defeats in the first two Tests.