Spinners hand Bangladesh advantage over Windies
KINGSTOWN: Bangladesh''s spinners gave them control of the second and final Test against West Indies on Friday, despite a resilient 95 from Travis Dowlin before the home team were dismissed for 237 in their first innings.
The Tigers then confidently negotiated 10 overs in about an hour to reach 35 for one in reply with Tamim Iqbal not out on 14 and Enamul Haque Jr not out on five at the close on the opening day of the Test at the Queen''s Park Stadium Complex.
Bangladesh suffered an early setback, when opener Imrul Kayes was caught behind off Darren Sammy for 14.
But earlier, the Tigers'' frontline spin bowling triumvirate of Mahamudullah, Enamul, and stand-in captain Shakib Al Hasan extracted appreciable bounce and turn from the pitch, and tormented the West Indies'' batsmen, after the visitors chose to field.
Mahmudullah captured three wickets for 44 runs from 13 overs with his off-spin, Shakib took three for 59 from 21.1 overs, and fellow left-arm spinner Enamul, who replaced injured captain and fast bowler Mashrafe Mortaza, supported with three for 62 from 24 overs.
Before lunch, Mahmudullah grabbed two wickets in his first and only over to leave West Indies wobbling on 107 for three.
Mahmudullah, playing in only his second Test, pulled things back for Bangladesh, after West Indies practically dominated the first hour with an opening stand of 60 from Dale Richards and Omar Phillips.
Mahmudullah removed Richards for 69 and Ryan Hinds for two - both caught and bowled - in the space of three balls in the penultimate over before the interval to leave West Indies wobbling.
After play started half-hour later than scheduled because of damp spots on the pitch from rain water which seeped through the covers, Shakib made the breakthrough, when Phillips was caught at deep mid-wicket for 23, two balls after long-on fielder Shahadat Hossain had muffed his skier off the same bowler.
In between the Bangladesh spinners tying up the heads of the West Indies batsmen, Richards played some enterprising strokes, and reached his 50 from 64 balls, when he late cut Shakib for the 10th of his 11 fours.
But Mahmudullah change the course of the innings, when he dismissed Richards, after the batsman flat-batted his second ball for the last of his two sixes, and two balls later, Hinds, who replaced left-arm spinner Nikita Miller in the West Indies line-up.
After lunch, a near hour-long stoppage for rain failed to slow Bangladesh down, as West Indies slumped to 178 for seven.
Mahmudullah trapped West Indies captain Floyd Reifer lbw for one in the third over after the interval before rain stalled Bangladesh half-hour later.
The weather however, did little to put a damper on Bangladesh''s enthusiasm and the spinners'' hold on the West Indies'' batsmen when play resumed. Shakib had Dave Bernard Jr caught at backward point for 17 after putting on a valuable 43 with Dowlin for the fifth wicket.
This triggered a slide which saw Bangladesh collect three wickets for three runs in the space of 11 balls before Dowlin inched to his 50, when he drove his 94th delivery from Shakib through extra cover for two.
After tea, Bangladesh were frustrated, when Ryan Austin joined Dowlin and added 59 for the eighth wicket before Shahadat dismissed him hit wicket.
Bangladesh then claimed the last three West Indies wickets for 18 in 34 balls, with Shakib ending the innings, when he had Dowlin caught at extra cover trying to force his way to a landmark hundred with an inside-out shot.
The 32-year-old Dowlin batted for close to 3-3/4 hours to smote seven fours and one six from 162 balls.
Bangladesh lead the two-Test series 1-0, after they won the opening Test which ended last Monday in St. Vincent by 95 runs.
The Tigers need only to draw the match to clinch their first-ever Test series victory overseas.