DHAKA – Naeem Islam’s maiden Test century inspired a gallant Bangladesh batting effort which frustrated West Indies on the third day of the opening Test yesterday.
The right-hander hit a composed 108 as the hosts, resuming on 164 for three, batted all day to reach 455 for six at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.
Experienced all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan struck an attractive 89, while captain Mushfiqur Rahim got 43, with Mahmudullah (42 not out) and Nasir Hossain (33 not out) adding to the Windies’ irritation with solid lower-order contributions.
Fast bowler Ravi Rampaul has been the leading bowler with three for 101, while captain and medium-pacer Darren Sammy has taken two for 83.
Heading into today’s penultimate day, the hosts trail by only 72 runs, leaving the contest still wide open.
Naeem, unbeaten on 27 overnight, produced an innings of high quality to reach the treasured landmark in only his sixth Test.
He faced 255 balls in just under six hours at the crease and struck 17 boundaries, the last of which was a flick to fine-leg off pacer Tino Best that took him to three figures in the third over before tea.
Naeem added a record 167 for the fourth wicket with Shakib whose innings lasted 143 balls, consumed 196 minutes and contained ten fours and a six.
Shakib, too, seemed set for a century before gifting his wicket seven overs after lunch, as he attempted to step up the tempo.
All the signs of an uphill struggle for the Caribbean side were there when both batsmen batted through the morning session while adding 88 runs.
Shakib, starting the day on 16, was lucky after he had added just ten when he was caught at the wicket off a Rampaul no-ball in the morning’s seventh over.
He overcame this to unfurl an attractive array of strokes on either side of the wicket, sweeping debutant left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul for four and following up with an elegant cover-driven boundary off the wayward Best.
Naeem, meanwhile, was watchful for the most part but came to life when he carted ineffective off-spinner Sunil Narine to the mid-wicket boundary in the bowler’s first over of the morning.
He then took consecutive off-side boundaries off the first two deliveries of Sammy’s opening over of the day, with the first four carrying him past 50.
On 253 for three at lunch, Bangladesh pushed on quickly afterward, with Shakib tearing into Narine, stroking him to the cover boundary in the first over after the resumption and then going aerial for a four and six off successive deliveries an over later.
He paid the price for his adventurousness, however, when he drove an innocuous delivery from Rampaul to substitute Assad Fudadin at short cover at 286 for four.
There was no more immediate success for West Indies as Naeem and Mushfiqur put on 76 for the fifth wicket to see Bangladesh to tea at 349 for four.
Mushfiqur faced 97 balls, batted 130 minutes and counted seven fours and a six – a clean hit over long-off off Permaul.
Naeem, who completed a well deserved century just before the interval, perished in the first hour afterward when he edged a cut at a loose delivery from Sammy.
West Indies’ tails were up when Mushfiqur fell moments later with just six runs added at 368 for six, caught and bowled by Permaul.
Not for the first time, however, Bangladesh battled back in a stubborn, unbroken 87-run seventh-wicket stand between Mahmudullah and Nasir Hossain as the Windies were left frustrated yet again by the lack of easy success.
Mahmudullah faced 79 balls and struck three fours and a six ,while Nasir boasted a similar boundary count off his 75 balls. (CMC)