Half-centuries from Azhar Ali and Umar Akmal helped Pakistan recover from a shaky start in the second Test against the West Indies on Friday, before poor weather prompted an early close.
Azhar hit the top score of 67 and Akmal made 56, as Pakistan, electing to bat, reached 180 for six in their first innings before rain then bad light stopped play 16.4 overs early on the opening day at Warner Park.
Azhar added 93 for the fifth wicket with Akmal, following a stand of exactly 50 with Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq that resurrected the visitors from 24 for three in the first hour.
However, Azhar and Akmal both succeeded in gifting their wickets when it appeared they were well set.
Akmal was caught at third-man off West Indies captain Darren Sammy, chasing a wide delivery, while Azhar was run out when Mohammad Salman failed to respond to his call for a single to extra-cover off Sammy and they both ended up at the same end.
Ravi Rampaul was the pick of the West Indies bowlers with three for 40 from 18.2 overs.
Gaining early assistance from the hard, true Warner Park pitch, Pakistan were set back early when Taufeeq Umar was caught behind for 11, too late in lifting his gloves out of the way of a rising delivery in Rampaul’s fourth over.
Pakistan were under further pressure when Mohammad Hafeez edged a forward defensive shot and was caught at third-slip for eight in the West Indies fast-medium bowler’s fifth over.
Asad Shafiq then cut a short, wide delivery and was caught at gully for a duck in Rampaul’s seventh over to leave Pakistan wobbling.
After lunch, runs started to flow for Pakistan, but the dismissal of Misbah set them back as they reached 106 for four, before rain forced an early tea. Misbah had got things going after lunch when he carved Kemar Roach to the third-man boundary for his second four, while Azhar drove leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo fluently through extra-cover for his second four in the next over.
In the following over, Misbah took a pair of boundaries off Roach, steering a delivery to third-man, and cutting a short, wide delivery through backward point.
However, Misbah was caught low down at mid-on for 25 off Bishoo, essaying an ill-advised on-drive, leaving Pakistan 74 for four. Akmal came to the crease and immediately got into the thick of things with a flick through backward square-leg for his first boundary, then drove Rampaul sweetly through cover off the back-foot for his second four.
However, he and Azhar were interrupted when rain stopped play about 40 minutes before the scheduled tea break, and continued to wreak havoc after the break.
Pakistan made one change to their team replacing Umar Gul with left-arm fast bowler Tanvir Ahmed.
The West Indies suffered a setback with veteran Shivnarine Chanderpaul sidelined with a sore shoulder to be replaced by Marlon Samuels as one of two changes. The other saw Kraigg Brathwaite making his debut at the expense of left-hander Devon Smith to become the fifth youngest West Indies Test player ever.
Pakistan trail 1-0 in the two-Test series, following a 40-run defeat inside four days in the first Test, which ended last Sunday at the Guyana National Stadium, crushing the visitors’ dreams of a maiden Test series victory in the Caribbean.