DHAKA – West Indies opener Kieran Powell wrote his name into the history books today when he struck his second century of the match as the first Test against Bangladesh headed towards a tight conclusion in Mirpur.
Powell, who plundered 117 in the first innings, reached 110 to help the Windies reach 244 for 6 at the close of day four, a lead of 215. Powell joined the late legendary George Headley, Everton Weekes, Clyde Walcott (all twice), and Sir Garfield Sobers, Rohan Kanhai, Lawrence Rowe, Gordon Greenidge and Brian Lara, as West Indies batsmen who have scored hundreds in each innings of a Test.
The Bangladesh bowlers did hit back late in the day to unsettle West Indies’ strong position of 209 for one wicket by capturing five wickets cheaply, but it looked unlikely to be enough for the hosts to force a result.
Mahmudullah and Nasir Hossain resumed play with the score at 455 for 6 and the duo carried on the good form that they displayed late in the third day.
Both batsmen strolled through to their half-centuries, Mahmudullah getting there off 91 balls and Hossain doing it in 99 balls. Mahmudullah departed shortly after for 62, giving an easy catch to Powell at forward short leg off the bowling of Sunil Narine.
The mystery spinner struck soon after as he ran through Sohag Gazi’s defence to dismiss the tail-ender for just four. Nasir and Shahdat Hossain managed to take the side beyond the 500 run mark, but Nasir fell four short of his century, caught behind off Tino Best, and Shahdat perished to Narine for 13 as Bangladesh were bowled out just before lunch for 556.
Gayle goes for 19
West Indies came out to bat, trailing by 29 and batted for a short period before lunch without losing a wicket. Post lunch though, the Bangladeshi bowlers managed to peg one back. Chris Gayle, who didn’t score big in the first innings, was undone by a peach of a delivery from Rubel Hossain. The left-hander was forced to play at a ball that jagged away after pitching on the off-stump and got a thin edge that went straight to the keeper. Gayle departed for 19.
Powell then followed his century in the first innings with another century in the second and put on a fantastic stand with Darren Bravo to put West Indies in command. The duo put on a 189-run partnership as they dominated the opposition’s bowling attack. Bravo got to his half century off 80 balls shortly after tea.
The West Indies looked quite comfortable and in control for most parts of the fourth day. However, it was the final hour or so that changed the complexion of the game. Bravo was the first man to depart for 76, as he played a poor shot away from his body to give keeper Musfiqur Rahim an easy catch off Rubel Hossain. Marlon Samuels lasted just four balls as the pitch began to show signs of awkward bounce. Samuels perished for just one as he fended a spiteful delivery from the spinner Gazi, straight to Shahriar Nafees at forward short leg.
Powell was then sent packing as Shakib Al Hasan struck to dismiss him for 110, caught at the wicket. Al Hasan got rid of Denesh Ramdin plumb leg before wicket playing back and Gazi took the wicket of Veerasammy Permaul to leave West Indies in a spot of bother having lost five wickets for 35 runs. Captain Darren Sammy was not out on 15 at the close.
Despite the fall of quick wickets Powell said at the close that with his side 215 ahead and with four wickets in hand, it was a score from which they could push for a win.
“I think we are still in a good position. I think once we get to 300 tomorrow we should be in a good position to look for a win or even trying to save the game.
“All we need to do tomorrow is to bat through the first session. Once we do that we should be in a safe position and then push forward from there. I think we have enough time considering the [state of the] wicket.”
Powell was not initially aware of the illustrious company his twin tons had allowed him to join, but he was elated at his achievement.
“Last night I was speaking to my massage therapist and he told me that this is the perfect opportunity to do something like this. I am not too sure how often it happened but I am happy that it happened to me,” he said.