Bangladesh v West Indies, 1st Test, Mirpur, 1st day November 13, 2012

Powell firming up opening spot

Two hundreds in a day are more likely to grab headlines, but it was the partnership of the centurions that lifted West Indies from trouble and placed them in a commanding position at the end of the first day's play in Mirpur.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Kieran Powell added 125 runs for the fourth wicket, which wasn't even the highest partnership on the day, but it was their solidity that stood between Bangladesh and dominance. Powell was dismissed for 117 after a four-hour stay in the crease, hitting 18 boundaries and a six. Chanderpaul remained unbeaten on 123 off 195 balls with the help of 17 fours, having reached his 26th Test century.

Before lunch however, the situation was different. Bangladesh were celebrating after West Indies lost their third wicket. It gave the home side momentum going into the second session. But the pair batted until the tea break, unperturbed, with West Indies scoring 121 more without the loss of any wickets. They, however, didn't slow the scoring rate, batting at a slightly higher pace than the first session, which included Chris Gayle's 17-ball 24.

What makes the partnership more important were the efforts Bangladesh made between lunch and tea. The home side had to wait in the face of Gayle's early onslaught, but once they got rid of him and took two more wickets, they went for the kill. Captain Mushfiqur Rahim rotated his bowlers quite regularly, and the bowlers changed angles a number of times. The fielders worked hard too, but neither Chanderpaul nor Powell yielded as the latter went on to score his second Test hundred.

Later Powell said he found it comforting to bat with the Chanderpaul, who is in the 18th year of an illustrious international career.

"I think batting with any senior player is easy. Shiv has lots of experience, something like 145 Test matches," Powell said after the day's play. "He takes all the pressure off you and lets you play the normal game. He keeps talking to you."

The age difference between the pair is around 16 years, a non-issue for Chanderpaul, who has been known to take young batsmen under his wing. "He's just telling me to be patient, stay positive, look to rotate the strike and put away the bad balls, and play straight," Powell said.

It is only natural for Powell to have batted, among the senior batsmen, more frequently with Gayle. It was only the third time for him to bat with Chanderpaul and it was obvious who suited him more, especially when playing a long innings.

"Both are different players. Chris [Gayle] is more of a power player. Shiv is more about manoeuvring the ball. You have to give him the strike and keep it flowing (when you bat with Chris) but with Shiv you have to maneuver and build a steady partnership."

Powell has had to fight for his spot with the likes of Kirk Edwards, Adrian Barath and Kraigg Brathwaite. With Gayle returning to the team after his clash with the WICB, it was one out of four who would get a place, but Powell got in after his century and big opening partnership against New Zealand in July. This innings, too, would put him right ahead in the race.

"I can't really say if I'm going ahead, you would have to ask the selectors," he said. "I'm just trying to strengthen my case each and every day. The more centuries you have, the better it is. I want to control what I can."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Bangladesh

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mike on November 14, 2012, 8:54 GMT

    While it is a great personal milestone for Kieran. A century away from home is never easy, however before we talk about him being a candidate for a long term opening position for the West Indies, would it not be more prudent to wait and see how he performs against 'Quality' opposition??? I mean test century's against Bangladesh are one thing, Test century's against the likes of Australia, England and South Africa are a whole nother prospect all together. I do not believe test cricket has gained alot by awarding Bangladesh test status. While I believe they add alot to One-day cricket and also 20/20, I believe the longer format of the game is beyond them

  • Derek on November 14, 2012, 8:09 GMT

    @Con Tringas those who view this game from an armchair will alway see the batsman failing. Bowler also deserve some credit. Ask your self this is a batsman alway got out by the bowler or through his own mistakes? This is not a boxing match so judgement on individual performances are best reserved until the FAT LADY sings.

  • Manesh on November 14, 2012, 6:23 GMT

    I think WI can declare at 550-600 and can achieve an innings win. All the best WI.

  • charlie on November 14, 2012, 3:53 GMT

    The way I see it , for Deonarine to be slotted in ,would be at the expense of Permal ,or Bravo who is needed to bat at three in the absence of Kirk Edwards . Every other position is obvious ,that's why the pressure is on Mr Bravo to make some runs at the #3 spot or face the music . Talent alone will not keep you on the team . My question once again is ; why can't Samuels bat #3 with all his experience ?

  • Dummy4 on November 14, 2012, 2:31 GMT

    once again it was very dissapointing at the failure of darren bravo, has the ability but has to start showing something there are plenty of other batsman waiting in the wings for a oppertunity.

  • Dummy4 on November 13, 2012, 22:24 GMT

    @suniljoseph I do believe and agree with you on the basis of Sammy creating a team of future stars but the team composition is a bit questionable.Reason being, Deonarine should have somehow slotted in and i would have gone in with best istead of Edwards for the purpose of giving a positive vibe and lots of energy in the field

  • SUNIL on November 13, 2012, 19:00 GMT

    Powell it technically a much better player than both Barath and Edwards. And scores at a brisk pace than Brathwaite. So he should be the man and he has shown it. Shiv has a couple of years left in him. So he along with Gayle, Samuels and Bravo can take the burden of batting in some years to follow. Once again hats off to Sammy by slowly establishing a very good team. Moreover, the decision to bat with five specialist batsmen was also very crucial. This will compel both Ramdin and Sammy to show their batting skills. In short a great eleven selected.

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