Shimron Hetmyer playing a powerful backfoot drive watched by wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan. He is unbeaten on 84. (Picture compliments of CWI Media/Randy Brooks)
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KINGSTON – Kraigg Brathwaite struck his eighth Test hundred and second in as many matches but it was 21-year-old stroke-maker Shimron Hetmyer who left tongues wagging with a shot-filled half-century on Thursday, as West Indies took an early grip on the second and final Test against Bangladesh.
Sent in on the opening day at Sabina Park, the Windies recovered from a dodgy start to reach 295 for four, with Brathwaite top-scoring with 110.
Hetmyer, however, lit up the afternoon in the Jamaican capital with an up tempo unbeaten 84 while Shai Hope and Kieran Powell both chipped in with 29.
Off-spinner Mehidy Hasan proved Bangladesh’s best bowler with three for 90, including the wicket of Brathwaite in the final session.
Looking to seal the series following their crushing innings and 219-run victory in the opening Test in Antigua last week, West Indies made a disappointing start when they lost Devon Smith cheaply for two inside the first half-hour with just nine runs on the board.
The veteran left-hander was caught by Mominul Haque running back from short leg after miscuing a flick at a full length one from Mehidy Hasan.
His dismissal brought together Brathwaite and Powell and they added 50 for the second wicket, to see West Indies safely through the remainder of the first hour.
Powell, who has gone 23 Tests without a hundred, again looked in good touch with four boundaries in a 49-ball knock before perishing about 35 minutes before lunch, struck in front to give 20-year-old off-spinner Mehidy Hasan his second wicket of the session.
On 79 for two at the break, West Indies flourished afterwards as Brathwaite and Hope put on 79 for the third wicket, leaving Bangladesh without success for the first hour following the resumption.
Hope, still searching for decent form, counted two fours in a 79-ball innings that lasted just over two hours before becoming the only casualty of the session, caught by wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan running around to silly point, off left-arm spinner Taijul Islam.
On 33 at lunch, Brathwaite moved to 81 at the tea interval, before raising his century three overs before the final drinks break, when he guided off-spinner Mahmudullah backward of point for a single.
The right-hander faced 279 balls in 321 minutes and struck nine fours, to follow up his 121 at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground eight days ago.
West Indies had reached 164 for three at the final interval without any real fireworks but all that changed in the final session as the left-handed Hetmyer put his foot down to dominate a 109-run, fourth-wicket partnership with Brathwaite.
He has so far blasted nine fours and a six in 98-ball innings lasting nearly two and a half hours.
On 13 at tea, Hetmyer played with typical flair and aggression afterwards, in his first Test innings in seven months, after being ignored for the first two Tests against Sri Lanka recently, before falling ill for the third and final match.
He took two boundaries on either side of the wicket off Taijul in the first over after the resumption, before coming down to the same bowler in his next over and hammering him to the cover boundary.
He moved to 46 when he charged Taijul again and smashed him to the mid-wicket boundary and raised his second Test half-century in his sixth Test with a streaky boundary to third man off seamer Abu Jayed, in the first over after the final drinks break.
Brathwaite fell a couple of overs later, uncharacteristically caught at mid-wicket attempting a big shot but Hetmyer carried on unfazed, playing with gay abandon until the close.
Nothing more epitomized his dominant approach than his clean, straight six off Mehidy Hasan, in the third over before stumps, as shadows lengthened. (CMC)