Brathwaite falls short of ton but West Indies in front against Pakistan

By Sports Desk August 13, 2021

Captain Kraigg Brathwaite led the way before he was run out just shy of a century as West Indies edged ahead of Pakistan in the first Test in Jamaica.

West Indies had bowled out their opponents for 217 on the opening day of the two-match series, only to then slip to 2-2 late in Thursday's proceedings when Mohammad Abbas struck twice.

It seemed they could struggle to get even close to parity when they slipped to 100-5 during day two, but Brathwaite stood firm to make sure his side claimed a first-innings lead.

The opening batsman hit 12 fours as he patiently worked his way to 97 but, with a hundred in sight, was caught short by Hasan Ali's direct hit from fine leg to depart.

Jason Holder contributed 58 as he added 96 for the sixth wicket with the man who replaced him as skipper, the former's fluent 108-ball knock including 10 boundaries.

Abbas dismissed Kemar Roach lbw in the closing overs, giving him figures of 3-42 in the match, while Shaheen Shah Afridi ended with 2-59.

However, Joshua Da Silva was unbeaten on 20 alongside Jomel Warrican, who will resume on one not out, as West Indies closed at 251-8, already holding what could be a crucial 34-run advantage in a potentially low-scoring contest.

Coming up short

Brathwaite appeared to be working his way towards a 10th Test century and a second of the calendar year, having made 126 against Sri Lanka back in March. While unable to make it to the milestone in the end, his defiant innings made sure West Indies hold the upper hand at Sabina Park.

Afridi strikes twice but hosts recover

Pakistan will feel they let West Indies off the hook, particularly after Afridi dismissed Jermaine Blackwood – whose ambitious attempt to hit over the top on 22 only found Abbas at mid-on – and Kyle Mayers with successive deliveries in the second session. They will hope to wrap up the tail quickly on day three.

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    "I am not a magician," said Carlo Ancelotti. "Just a coach who has to give players the confidence they need to express their qualities."

    The Real Madrid boss was talking about arguably the standout player from Los Blancos' strong start to the season – and, brilliant as he continues to be, it's not Karim Benzema.

    When Ancelotti spoke before Madrid's 2-1 win at Valencia, Vinicius Junior was on a run of four goals in as many games in LaLiga. That tally reached five in five after he fired in a late equaliser at Mestalla – as many goals as he had scored in 59 previous league matches.

    For attacking players, nothing builds belief like the support of a coach and regularly sticking the ball in the net. Vinicius has both of those things going for him right now, and it's yielding the best form of his Madrid career.

    NEW-MAR

    Signed amid much fanfare from Flamengo three years ago, it has taken Vinicius time to fully find his feet in the Spanish capital. Patience is notoriously thin on the ground where Madrid are concerned, but fans have been more willing than usual to play the long game with the Brazil international, who has already played 88 times in Spain's top flight, a tally bettered by just six compatriots in the club's history.

    Given Marca ran a headline this week asking whether Vinicius' form in 2021-22 meant Madrid had found "the new Neymar" – a player they once wanted to bring back to Spain, no less – it would appear the wait has been worth it.

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    Friday's results

    St Louis Cardinals 8-5 Chicago Cubs
    Texas Rangers 8-5 Baltimore Orioles
    Philadelphia Phillies 8-6 Pittsburgh Pirates 
    Cincinnati Reds 8-7 Washington Nationals
    Tampa Bay Rays 8-0 Miami Marlins
    New York Yankees 8-3 Boston Red Sox
    San Diego Padres 6-5 Atlanta Braves 4-0
    Kansas City Royals 3-1 Detroit Tigers
    Chicago White Sox 1-0 Cleveland Indians
    St Louis Cardinals 12-4 Chicago Cubs
    Milwaukee Brewers 5-1 New York Mets
    San Francisco Giants 7-2 Colorado Rockies
    Minnesota Twins 3-1 Toronto Blue Jays
    Seattle Mariners 6-5 Los Angeles Angels
    Oakland Athletics 14-2 Houston Astros
    Los Angeles Dodgers 4-2 Arizona Diamondbacks
    Atlanta Braves 4-0 San Diego Padres

     

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    The visit of Sampdoria will be Allegri's 400th game in charge in Serie A – the Juve boss has claimed 243 wins in the competition, at least 59 more than any other coach since his debut in Italy's top flight in 2008-09.

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