GROS ISLET: West Indies lost three wickets for one run just before lunch to stumble to 137 for four in reply to Bangladesh’s first innings total of 234 on the second day of the second and final Test in St Lucia on Saturday.
Seamer Khaled Ahmed claimed two wickets in the space of two overs and spinner Mehidy Hasan snared the all-important wicket of captain Kraigg Brathwaite to trigger the slide.
Bangladesh moved back into contention after the home side appeared to be cruising along effortlessly through much of the morning session.
Starting the day at 67 without loss, Brathwaite and opening partner John Campbell extended their stand to exactly 100 — their first century partnership in Tests since coming together for the first time three years ago.
Both looked to be in the mood for a lengthy occupation of the crease in pursuit of a West Indies lead and a potential match-winning position by the end of the day.
However seamer Shoriful Islam disrupted those plans when extracting extra bounce off the surface and Campbell’s attempted hook was gloved for wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan to take a comfortable catch.
Campbell’s departure for 45 brought Raymon Reifer to the crease with the left-hander, following his double-failure in the first Test in Antigua a week earlier, under pressure to justify his position, not just in the team, but at number three in the batting order.
He saw Brathwaite reach a 27th Test half-century in the skipper’s usual unobtrusive manner but it was then that Mehidy intervened to tilt the balance of the morning’s play.
Not for the first time in their duels over the last four years, Brathwaite, on 51, was deceived in flight and bowled comprehensively by the off-spinner, triggering jubilant celebrations among the Bangladeshis.
Khaled then added to those celebrations when Reifer, who never looked comfortable despite getting to 22, played on to a lifting delivery before new batter Nkrumah Bonner fell in similar manner in the bowler’s next over for a duck.
From 131 for one, the hosts had slipped to 132 for four, leaving vice-captain Jermaine Blackwood and all-rounder Kyle Mayers at the crease heading into the afternoon session.
On the first day, Alzarri Joseph and Jayden Seales led the West Indies bowling effort with three wickets each while debutant Anderson Phillip, who took the first wicket of the match with just his second ball in Test cricket, and the versatile Kyle Mayers claimed two apiece.
That reinforced not just their skipper’s decision at the toss but also the selectors’ choice in opting for an additional seamer in Phillip at the expense of first Test debutant and spinner Gudakesh Motie.
Given their reputation of vulnerability in these conditions against a concerted fast bowling attack, the visitors were indebted to a counter-attacking 53 from middle-order batter Liton Das and Tamim Iqbal’s 46.
Even if Kemar Roach, poised on 249 Test wickets, went wicket-less through the first innings with the supporting bowlers more than eager to fill the breach left by the luckless senior seamer.
After Tamim and opening partner Mahmudul Hasan Joy departed after displaying much more determination than many would have expected in an opening stand of 41, four wickets in the afternoon session kept Bangladesh on the back foot although Liton’s experience and occasional aggression ensured that his team were not completely bogged down.
He reached his half-century in the final session but lost Mehidy Hasan Miraz to an excellent diving catch by Devon Thomas at backward-point off Mayers, the substitute fielder setting the standard for a good day in the field for the West Indies.
It was not a good final session for the bowlers however as they lost their composure with Shoriful Islam, one of two changes to the Bangladesh line-up from the first Test, and Ebadot Hossain swinging powerfully and often at anything within reach.
Their combined efforts ensured that 43 runs were added for the last two wickets to give themselves and the other bowlers something to work with.
BANGLADESH (1st Innings):
Tamim Iqbal c Blackwood b Joseph 46
Mahmudul Hasan b Phillip 10
Najmul Hossain Shanto lbw aMayers 26
Anamul Haque lbw Phillip 23
Liton Das c Brathwaite b Joseph 53
Shakib al Hasan b Seales 8
Nurul Hasan c da Silva b Joseph 7
Mehidy Hasan c sub (D. Thomas) b Mayers 9
Ebadot Hossain not out 21
Shoriful Islam c Blackwood b Seales 26
Khaled Ahmed c Bonner b Seales 1
EXTRAS (LB-3, NB-1) 4
TOTAL (all out, 64.2 overs) 234
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-41 (Mahmudul), 2-68 (Tamim), 3-105 (Anamul), 4-105 (Najmul), 5-125 (Shakib), 6-138 (Nurul), 7-165 (Mehidy), 8-191 (Liton), 9-227 (Shoriful)
BOWLING: Roach 15-3-57-0, Seales 14.2-4-53-3, Joseph 15-1-50-3 (1nb), Phillip 9-1-30-2, Reifer 3-1-6-0, Mayers 8-0-35-2
WEST INDIES (1st Innings, overnight 67-0):
K. Brathwaite b Mehidy 51
J. Campbell c Nurul b Shoriful 45
R. Reifer b Khaled 22
N. Bonner b Khaled 0
J. Blackwood not out 2
K. Mayers not out 4
EXTRAS (LB-11, NB-2) 13
TOTAL (for four wickets, 42 overs) 137
STILL TO BAT: J. Da Silva, A. Joseph, K. Roach, J. Seales, A. Phillip
FALL OF WICKETS: 1-100 (Campbell), 2-131 (Brathwaite), 3-131 (Reifer), 4-132 (Bonner)
BOWLING: Shoriful 10-4-34-1, Khaled 12-1-41-2, Shakib 2-0-9-0, Ebadot 11-4-22-0, Mehidy 7-2-20-1
Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2022