BRIDGETOWN - Azhar Ali crawled to within six runs of a hundred as Pakistan reached 226 for three at lunch on the third day of the second Test at Kensington Oval in Barbados on Tuesday.

Misbah ul Haq was also at his most obdurate as a tedious morning's play saw the tourists progress by 54 runs off 26 overs from their overnight position without losing a wicket.

Ali added 11 runs to his total and will resume in the afternoon session on 94 alongside his captain who reached the interval unbeaten on 40 as Pakistan laboured hard in reply to the West Indies first innings total of 312.

Both batsmen found run-scoring extremely difficult on a pitch showing greater signs of wear and offering increasingly variable bounce. Ali's occupation of the crease has so far spanned 429 minutes in which he faced 257 deliveries, stroking eight boundaries.

Misbah was also typically watchful, facing 121 balls in 160 minutes in the middle and striking five fours. West Indies captain Jason Holder summoned the second new ball after the 81st over, and while Shannon Gabriel appeared to have sorted out the no-ball problem which plagued his efforts on the second day, neither he nor the other faster bowlers were able to separate the fourth-wicket pair.

They had come together late on the second day after Pakistan lost three wickets for six runs following an opening stand of 155 between Ali and Ahmed Shehzad, whose contribution of 70 was notable for him being twice reprieved when dismissed of no-balls apart from also being dropped at the start of his innings.

Ali and Misbah had put on 65 for the fourth wicket at the interval, their exaggerated caution reflecting an effort to ensure that Pakistan earn a potentially decisive first innings lead. The tourists are seeking a first-ever Test win at the venue which would also clinch an historic first Test series win in the Caribbean ahead of the final Test in Dominica in a week's time.

 Scoreboard

WEST INDIES 1ST INNINGS:

(OVERNIGHT: 286-6):

K Brathwaite c Sarfraz b AAamir 9

K Powell lbw Aamir 38

S Hetmyer c Ali b Abbas 1

S Hope c Sarfarz b Yasir 5

R Chase c Younus b Aamir 131

V Singh c Younus b Abbas 3

S Dowrich c Younus b Shadab 29

J Holder c Sarfarz b Abbas 58

D Bishoo c Yasir b Abbas 14

A Joseph b Yasir 8

S Gabriel not out 0

EXTRAS: (b4, lb10, w2) 16

TOTAL: (all out, 98.5 overs) 312

FOW: 1-12, 2-13, 3-37, 4-102, 5-107, 6-154, 7-286, 8-286, 9-312, 10-312

BOWLING: M Aamir 26-5-65-3, M Abbas 23-6-56-4 (2w), Yasir Shah 25.5-2-83-2, Shadab Khan 23-3-90-1, Azhar Ali 1-0-4-0

PAKISTAN 1ST INNINGS:

Azhar Ali not out 94

Ahmed Shehzad c Hope b Bishoo 70

Babar Azam c and b Gabriel 0

Younus Khan c Gabriel b Bishoo 0

Misbahul Haq not out 40

EXTRAS: (b6, lb6, nb10) 22

TOTAL: (3 wkts, 95 overs) 226

FOW: 1-155, 2-156, 3-161

BOWLING: S Gabriel 26-5-69-1 (9nb), A Joseph 17-5-36-0, R Chase 12-1-42-0 (1nb), J Holder 15-9-10-0, D Bishoo 25-9-57-2

TOSS: West Indies

UMPIRES: Richard Kettleborough (ENG), Bruce Oxenford (AUS)

MATCH REFEREE: Chris Broad (ENG)