A slightly more competitive outing from Bangladesh in the first two sessions of the second day still left the Tigers facing near certain defeat in the first Test against West Indies in Antigua yesterday. That reality spoke volumes of how poorly Bangladesh had played on the first day to be bowled out for their lowest ever score of 43 and then letting them reach stumps on 201 for two.
At tea on the second day, the hosts progressed to 375 for seven riding on a patient 121 from opener Kraigg Brathwaite and an unbeaten 50 from Shai Hope. Even though spinners Mehedi Hasan Miraz and skipper Shakib Al Hasan served a gentle reminder that Bangladesh can indeed compete in stretches, West Indies' lead had swelled to 332 -- a scarcely believable number given that the Test was just five sessions old.
Even with an improved second-day performance, there were enough signs that the two-Test series is likely to be an unhappy one for the tourists. On a pitch where West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach took five wickets for eight runs on the first day, Bangladesh's three pacers -- the perennially inexperienced Rubel Hossain, rookie Kamrul Islam and debutant Abu Jayed -- had combined figures of two for 178 from 58 overs.
Brathwaite, who resumed the day on 88, marched steadily and without any kind of trouble to his seventh Test hundred. More importantly, nightwatchman Devendra Bishoo -- resuming on one off 16 balls -- looked like a specialist batsman as he played out more than half of the first session, adding 18 runs off 63 balls before he was bowled by Kamrul to be the only wicket to fall before lunch, which West Indies reached on 271 for three.
The second session saw a spike in wickets as left-arm spinner Shakib had Brathwaite caught at extra cover to end his 291-ball innings, and that set off a mini collapse of three wickets for 16 runs. Roston Chase was trapped in front by Mehedi, Shane Dowrich was caught off his boot at silly point off Shakib to leave the West Indies on 288 for six. Captain Jason Holder hit a few lusty blows in Hope's company, but Mehedi came back to get him caught at short leg for 33.
Fittingly, it was then that Roach came on and -- brushing aside the hamstring pain that made his bowling all the more remarkable – rubbed salt into the Tigers' wounds with an unbeaten 32-ball 25 with four fours and a six.