North Sound – Bangladesh’s spinners pegged the West Indies back with four wickets in the session although the hosts remained in command at 375 for seven in their first innings at tea on the second day of the first Test in Antigua on Thursday.
Having routed the visitors for 43, their lowest-ever total in a Test innings, on the opening morning, the Caribbean side hold a daunting lead of 332 runs going into the day’s final session with Shai Hope unbeaten on 50 and bowling hero Kemar Roach contributing 25 in an unbroken eighth-wicket stand of 37 by the interval.
After pedestrian progress in the day’s first session when Kraigg Brathwaite completed his seventh Test century and nightwatchman Devendra Bishoo was the only wicket to fall, the pace picked up considerably immediately upon the resumption with the fall of Brathwaite’s wicket.
After more than seven hours at the crease, the opener mistimed a drive off Shakib al Hasan for Mehidy Hasan to take a good catch at short extra-cover in the first over after lunch, sending Brathwaite back to the pavilion without adding to his score of 121 at the break.
His demise triggered a mini-collapse with three wickets falling for 16 runs as Mehidy Hasan trapped Roston Chase leg-before and Shakib had wicketkeeper-batsman Shane Dowrich taken at silly-point by Liton Das.
West Indies captain Jason Holder then hit out boldly in dominating a 50-run seventh-wicket stand with Hope. His 33 off 46 balls included two fours and two sixes until Mehidy snared him for a second wicket via another bat-pad catch by Liton.
Hope, who reached his half-century just before the end of the session, has found another able partner in Roach. His aggressive intent, together with Holder’s, contributed to 105 runs being added in the two hours’ play, compared to 71 in the morning period.
Under no pressure to accelerate the game at the start of the day after Roach had led the pacers’ demolition of the tourists with the outstanding figures of five for eight on day one, Brathwaite progressed at a snail’s pace, adding just 33 runs in two hours’ play.
Bishoo was eventually bowled by Kamrul Islam for 19 after yet again making an important contribution in support of the senior batsman.
Their third-wicket partnership was worth 52 runs and Brathwaite reached the century landmark along the way via a rare expression of aggression in slashing a short, wide delivery from Kamrul to the backward point boundary.
None of the Bangladeshi seamers have so far been able to come even close to replicating Roach’s effectiveness, which made the input of Shakib and Mehidy all the more essential to give the Bangladeshis a measure of respect with their bowling effort.