TEST: Brathwaite (110), Hetmyer (84*) put West Indies in command

SUMMARY: West Indies 295-4 (Brathwaite 110, Hetmyer 84*, Mehidy 3-90) v Bangladesh


Kraigg Brathwaite‘s second consecutive century helped West Indies establish early dominance over Bangladesh on the opening day’s play in Kingston. West Indies went to stumps comfortably-placed at 295-4, having accumulated runs at 4.85 per over in the post-tea session: a significant jump from 2.25 and 2.83 in the first two sessions respectively.

Brathwaite added 109 for the fourth wicket with Shimron Hetmyer, which came on the back of a 79-run third-wicket stand with Shai Hope, and 50 runs for the second wicket with Kieran Powell.

Hetmyer, who had added 48 for the unbroken fifth-wicket stand with Roston Chase, remained unbeaten on 84 off 98 balls – his second Test fifty.

But the day truly belonged to Brathwaite, who once again stood out for his tenacity. He was equally cautious against left-arm spin, orthodox offspin and pace, without showing any weakness or liking for a particular bowler.

Brathwaite nullified Bangladesh’s first long spell of spin through the second session, doggedly defending anything outside his stumps, even as the ball zipped around.

He collected the bulk of his runs on the on-side, with the singles and twos behind the square region a common occurrence. Six of his nine fours also came on the on-side as Bangladesh did well to restrict him from driving freely. But given his boundless patience, Brathwaite still looked at ease. He also ran hard between the wickets, picking up three threes.

Having benefited from Bangladesh’s failure to take a review when he was rapped on the pad on 98, Brathwaite went on to pass Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Darren Bravo as he faced 250-plus deliveries in an innings for the sixth time in his career.

He fell late in the day, trying to hit Mehidy for a second successive boundary through midwicket, only to find Taijul swiftly moving at short midwicket to complete the catch. By then, however, he had neutralised Bangladesh’s early thrust as they unleashed their spinners in the morning.

Despite the pace and bounce on offer, Shakib went in with three spinners – as opposed to West Indies, who dropped their only specialist spinner – and used them immediately to good effect.

Opening the bowling himself, Shakib and Mehidy created plenty of chances in the first hour, taking advantage of the big turn available outside the line of the stumps. They kept the close-in fielders busy with half-chances, and Devon Smith’s inside-edge, off Mehidy’s slightly leg-sidish delivery, resulted in a simple catch to Mominul Haque at short leg.

No. 3 Kieran Powell tried to break the shackles, but when Mehidy noticed his inclination to hang back to full deliveries, the offspinner’s patience paid off when he was trapped leg-before to a similar delivery for 29. But Brathwaite’s single-mindedness in defence slowly offset Bangladesh’s early advantage.

He reached his fifty in the second session, taking 149 balls to get there. He added 79 runs for the third wicket with Shai Hope, who struck two fours in his 29 off 79 balls. Hope then inside-edged Taijul Islam on to his pads, the ball lobbing up towards silly point for wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan to complete a diving catch.

In Brathwaite’s presence, West Indies picked up pace in the final session. He took Taijul Islam for three fours before blasting Kamrul Islam Rabbi past point. Three overs after Brathwaite reached his century, Hetmyer sliced one past the slips for four to raise his fifty.

More boundaries followed during the Hetmyer-Chase stand. Chase tucked Mehidy past fine-leg and through the covers for his first two fours, while Hetmyer struck the day’s first six, in the 90th over, over long-off.

The shift in gears summed up West Indies’ progress from being severely tested against spin at the start of the day, to batting quite freely by the end of it. (ESPNCricinfo)

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