West Indies 75 for 2 (Brathwaite 49*, Rahman 2-18) trail Bangladesh 430 (Miraz 103, Shakib 68, Shadman 59, Warrican 4-133) by 355 runs
Mehidy Hasan Miraz’s maiden Test hundred followed by a new-ball burst from Mustafizur Rahman put Bangladesh in a dominant position against West Indies in the first Test in Chattogram. After being reduced to 134 for 4 on the opening day, Bangladesh’s lower-middle order rallied on Thursday to post 430 in the first innings.
Rahman then showed the way with the ball as he dismissed John Campbell and debutant Shayne Moseley cheaply to leave West Indies 24 for 2. After that, Kraigg Brathwaite and another debutant Nkrumah Bonner began the rebuild, taking the side to 75 for 2 at stumps.
Earlier, Miraz became the sixth Bangladesh batsman to score a hundred from No. 8 or lower. However, it wasn’t a chanceless innings. He was dropped off Jomel Warrican when on 24 and had another slice of luck at 71, when he skipped down the ground to Rahkeem Cornwall only to get an inside edge, but the ball kept low and sneaked between wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva’s legs. Then on 85, Cornwall himself put him down – off Bonner – as he failed to hold on to a low chance at first slip.
For the most part of his innings, though, Miraz showed excellent use of the feet against spinners, by either going deep in the crease to cut through point or skipping down the pitch to hit inside out. At the start of the day, Shakib Al Hasan and he added 67 for the seventh wicket before Shakib fell for 68. If West Indies thought they were into the tail, those hopes were dashed soon as Miraz stitched together 44 with Taijul Islam for the eighth wicket and a further 57 with Nayeem Hasan for the ninth.
Miraz was on 92 when Hasan fell to Bonner but Mustafizur Rahman hung around to see him reach the three-figure mark. In all, Miraz hit 13 fours before being caught at long-on off Cornwall at the stroke of tea.
The West Indies openers, Kraigg Brathwaite and Campbell, had their work cut out even if the pitch had shown few signs of assistance for bowlers. Just like Bangladesh, West Indies too started with a four off the first ball of the innings as Brathwaite flicked Rahman to the square-leg boundary.
The similarities ended there as Rahman showed exemplary control with the ball, moving it both ways and mixing searing yorkers with an odd bouncer. With just 11 on the board, Rahman trapped Campbell lbw with the one that went on with the angle. On the next ball, he almost had Moseley in similar manner but the decision was overturned on review.
Moseley hardly looked comfortable during his brief innings as Rahman kept peppering his pads. Eventually, he was lbw to the seamer when a yorker hit him almost full on the shoe and this time, the review didn’t help. At that point, Rahman had figures of 6-2-8-2.
Brathwaite was firm at the other end and didn’t hesitate coming down the wicket against Shakib to hit him over mid-on. Even though the Bangladesh spinners kept the batsmen on their toes, Brathwaite, donning his sunglasses, ensured West Indies didn’t get bogged down and added 51 in an unbroken third-wicket stand with Bonner.
In the morning, Bangladesh lost Liton Das in the third over of the day. His positive intent had helped Bangladesh wrest back some control on the first day and he looked set to continue in the same manner today as well. However, he could add only four to his overnight score of 34, bowled while trying to cut an arm ball from Warrican, who bowled unchanged throughout the session.
At 248 for 6, it looked like West Indies could bowl Bangladesh out for under 300, but Miraz showed his skills with the bat and kept finding boundaries with ease while Shakib continued batting calmly at the other end. Gabriel’s struggles to get his length right also helped Bangladesh’s cause. With the new ball just ten overs old at the start of the day, that was an opportunity missed for the visitors.
Warrican created another opportunity when Miraz, attempting a big shot, got an inside edge onto his pad and the ball lobbed towards silly mid-off. And despite taking evasive action initially, Moseley had two chances at it but failed to hold on.
West Indies finally got the breakthrough when Shakib had a lapse in concentration against Cornwall. After getting beaten on the previous ball, Shakib tried to cut the offspinner again. This time, though, Cornwall tossed the ball higher and the resulting slice was pouched by Kraigg Brathwaite at point.
At that stage, the match was hanging in the balance. By the end of the day, Bangladesh were certainly the happier side.
Hemant Brar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo