KINGSTOWN – The West Indies took advantage of a lightweight Bangladesh bowling attack on a flat track and posted a commanding 264-3, with obdurate opener Kraigg Brathwaite cracking his second Test ton in Arnos Vale, St Vincent, yesterday.
Brathwaite hit an unbeaten 123 as the West Indies took charge of the first day of the two-match series.
The 21-year-old Brathwaite shared an opening stand of 116 with Chris Gayle, who scored 64, and put on a further 128 with Darren Bravo, who contributed 62.
Two debutants shared the wickets for the tourists, with left-arm spinner Taijul Islam claiming two for 69 and off-spinning all-rounder Shuvagata Hom one for 76.
Brathwaite reached his century off 219 balls, having struck eight boundaries at that point. He reached the three-figure mark by slapping a Mahmudullah full-toss past cover for a boundary.
The two newcomers, left-arm spinner Taijul and offspinning all-rounder Shuvagata, who became the 72nd and 73rd Test players for the country, had a tough baptism in the five-day format.
The pair bowled the majority of the overs, picking up all three wickets. They were steady though not threatening but to their credit never wavered.
It was another inept performance from the lowly Bangladesh team, who picked just three specialist bowlers and after winning the toss, strangely opted to field on a pitch that was good for batting.
Brathwaite, fresh from a maiden Test ton off New Zealand, made the most of that generosity and was typically obdurate throughout the day in an innings that spanned five and a half hours.
He and Gayle dulled Bangladesh during the morning session.
They reached 103-0 at lunch, with Gayle surviving a close run out chance when 35 and a dropped return catch to Rubel Hossain on 52, but there was precious little encouragement for the visitors.
Bangladesh hit back in the second session, with Hom and Taijul claiming their maiden scalps.
The 27-year-old Hom made the initial breakthrough when he claimed an lbw verdict against a sweeping Gayle. Umpire Marais Erasmus initially ruled not out but Bangladesh successfully got the decision overturned after using the DRS review.
Gayle slammed ten fours and a six off 105 deliveries, and during his innings became the third West Indian after the legendary Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes to notch 7 000 runs as an opening batsman.
It was soon 133-2 when Kirk Edwards, after hitting a six and a four in ten, was snapped up at silly point off the leading edge by Mominul Haque off Taijul.
But Brathwaite and Bravo quickly doused the Bangladesh spirits with an assured third-wicket stand either side of tea.
Brathwaite brought up his second Test ton half-hour after tea with a cover drive for his eighth four.
His only blemish came when on 113 he edged Hom low to wicketkeeper and captain Mushfiqur Rahim, who spilled the offering.
Left-hander Bravo compiled a half-century of his own before, after lofting two successive boundaries off Taijul, he tried a similar shot and holed out to Mahmudullah at mid-on. The Trinidadian struck six fours and a six off 126 balls.
The experienced Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who has over 11 000 Test runs, spent nine deliveries on one not out before rain arrived to cut short the day. (AP/MK)