CASTRIES – Bangladesh ended the third day of the second Test at the Beausejour Stadium in St Lucia facing yet another heavy defeat.
After taking an hour and a half to dismiss Bangladesh for a paltry 161 in the morning session, West Indies batted out the rest of the third day to be 204 for 4 at the close which represented a massive lead of 427.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul, yet to be dismissed by the Bangladeshis in the series, batted sturdily to complete his 66th half-century. Jermaine Blackwood, at the other end, looked quite assured as well during a 108-run unbroken stand.
The pair came together when West Indies had suddenly lost their third and fourth wicket in the space of two overs. Darren Bravo dragged the ball from his bat to his pads and onto his stumps and Kraigg Brathwaite fell for 45, as Mahmudullah lured the outside edge to slip.
However, West Indies had already been well placed courtesy a rapid 76-run opening stand. Even the dogged Brathwaite wasn’t shy of even lofting the ball across the line on a few occasions. He slogged Taijul Islam for a six and a four over midwicket.
But it was Leon Johnson who forced the run-rate with a lively 41 off 59 balls, including eight fours. He cut Al-Amin Hossain to the boundary off the first ball after lunch and used the pull, sweep and some fine dabs to ensure West Indies hardly bogged down. He could have reached a fifty quite easily but yorked himself against Taijul Islam in the 20th over.
Taijul could have dented West Indies further in the same over, but Kirk Edwards won a review after umpire Steve Davis adjudged him leg-before. Replays showed the batsman had inside-edged the ball onto his front pad. But Edwards, for a second time in the game, couldn’t take advantage of his reprieve. He guided a Shafiul Islam delivery to gully in the 23rd over. In the first innings, he survived a dropped catch on 5 but got out for 16. Here he moved from 0 to 2 before being dismissed.
A ten-minute rain break posed as a reminder of the possible poor weather over the next two days and Bangladesh’s tail did their best to bring that into contention.
The last three wickets added 57, a marked improvement from their wretched batting on the second day. Mahmudullah batted sensibly to score his second successive Test fifty, his eighth overall. He struck two boundaries – cut through point and hammered down to long-on – and a six over midwicket during his 100-ball stay.
But two balls after reaching his fifty, Sulieman Benn got one to bounce slightly more than Mahmudullah anticipated and could only outside edge his cut to the keeper. It marked the third time Denesh Ramdin has taken five catches in an innings.
Mahmudullah had added 45 runs for the eighth wicket with Shafiul who made only ten runs, but survived for 85 minutes to save his team from more embarrassment, especially when he had walked in to 89 for 7.
But 104 for 7 wasn’t a great place to start on the third morning, and it means that with two days remaining in the game, Bangladesh remain at the mercy of the West Indies.