Shadman, Shakib give Bangladesh early control

Shadman Islam starred on the opening day of the second Test, scoring a half-century on debut, as Bangladesh ended the day strongly, on 259 for 5. Although the 23-year-old left-hander missed out on a century, he was instrumental in stitching partnerships with the top and middle order to help Bangladesh keep a firm grip on proceedings in Dhaka on Friday (November 30).

Partnerships were a key element in how Bangladesh approached their innings, an aspect that Windies lacked glaringly in the first Test. First led by Shadman, Bangladesh comfortably negated Windies’ spinners for most parts of the day. It was, in fact, the pacers that were posing questions in the second session extracting some extra bounce, especially Shermon Lewis, to the left-hander. He played safely, along the ground, without too many shots in the air and minus any risks. Seeing off the initial jitters of Test cricket, he settled into the anchor role and kept the runs trickling in, even as Bangladesh scored at a slow rate.

Then it was skipper Shakib Al Hasan, who took over, once the debutant’s innings was brought to an end by Devendra Bishoo for 76. Shakib and Mushfiqur Rahim got going together, but could manage to add only 29 between them before Lewis was rewarded for some persistent bowling, who posed regular questions through the day. But not before Mushfiqur reached the 4000-run mark in Tests. Lewis got some in-swing on a full and straight delivery, to shatter Mushfiqur’s stumps, who missed the line completely.

Shakib joined hands with Mahmudullah for the fifth wicket, to share a half-century stand in a session where the spinners didn’t get as much turn as was anticipated. They patiently tackled the spinners, but kept the runs tickling in with the session run-rate being the highest for the day. The skipper eventually got to his 24th Test fifty, watchful until the end, taking his side to a strong position when stumps were drawn. While Shakib was unbeaten on 55, Mahmudullah remained not out on 31, with an unbeaten stand of 69. Shakib, however, would’ve been back in the pavilion had Windies decided to review a loud call for leg before off Chase in the 75th over. The batsman missed the defence on his backfoot, with the ball crashing into the pads. It looked like it would go down leg, but replays showed the ball crashing into leg-stump.

Kraigg Brathwaite’s inexperience in captaincy was apparent with the Windies skipper failing to create pressure on Bangladesh after the third session where they stormed back into the contest. He went onto the defensive, and waited for the batsmen to make mistakes rather than create chances. Windies didn’t even take the new ball, when made available.

Bishoo’s double strike before tea spurred a Windies comeback after Bangladesh’s pair of Shadman and Mohammad Mithun had frustrated the visitors with a 64-run stand. Shadman displayed extreme maturity and a great temperament for a player on Test debut and adeptly kept out the probing deliveries, while putting away the poor ones, with most of his runs coming in the cover region. Eventually, he played inside the line to one that spun sharply in, missing the line completely to be trapped leg before by Bishoo to fall for a patient 76 that came off 199 balls.

An over prior to that, Bishoo accounted for Mithun for the third time in the series. It was the wrong’un that cleaned up the batsman, who misread the length, and fell for 29. Windies would’ve had three wickets before the break, but a return shot from Shakib fell just short of Kemar Roach, who put in a dive but only managed to grab the ball on the half volley.

Earlier, Shadman and Soumya Sarkar got Bangladesh off to a slow start after opting to bat. Chase got some turn and bounce, while the seamers bowled good lines to keep the Bangladesh batsmen in check. However, a lapse in concentration cost Sarkar, who, after scores of 0 and 11 in the first Test, got only 19. Sarkar couldn’t resist the temptation of driving a wide delivery from Chase that was tossed up outside off and ended up misreading the length to get a thick outside edge that was pouched by Shai Hope in the slips.

While the conditions were tough for the seamers, Roach got Mominul Haque to chip one towards mid off, off a leading edge, but it fell safe. Roach, however – in what is his 50th Test – had his man, just two balls away from the lunch break. Mominul was done in by pace and gifted his wicket away, lobbing one straight to mid on for an easy catch after mistiming a pull, ending a 45-run stand for the second wicket.

Going into the Test with a 1-0 lead in the two-Test series, Bangladesh skipper, Shakib opted to bat on what was a good surface to bat on the first day. That Windies opted to bowl their spinners predominantly was validation of why Bangladesh opted to go in with an all-spin attack for the Test, without a specialist seamer, for the first time ever, on a dry surface that had a bit of green and cracks on it that are expected to progressively widen. Mustafizur Rahman, who had bowled just four overs in the first Test, and Imrul Kayes, who has a knee injury, were replaced by Liton Das and Shadman Islam, with the former to keep wickets instead of Mushfiqur Rahim, who has a finger injury concern.

Brief scores: Bangladesh 259/5 (Shadman Islam 76, Mominul Haque 29, Mohammad Mithun 29, Shakib Al Hasan 55*, Mahmudullah 31*; Devendra Bishoo 2-69) vs Windies.

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