Mirpur Test comes alive after late wickets
West Indies 527 for 4 dec and 244 for 6 (Powell 110, Bravo 76, Rubel 2-35) lead Bangladesh 556 (Naeem 108, Nasir 96, Shakib 89, Rampaul 3-118) by 215 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
As it often happens on the subcontinent, the first Test between Bangladesh and West Indies burst open with possibilities out of nowhere in the last hour on day four. From the safety of 209 for 1, West Indies lost 5 for 35 in the space of 13.1 overs. They still lead by 215 going into the final day, but with the ill Shivnarine Chanderpaul uncertain to bat tomorrow, there is hardly any batting left. Though it still looks unlikely, this may well be Bangladesh's best chance to achieve what would be their first Test win against top opposition.
They have already made a huge statement for a side playing its first Test in a year by posting their highest total, 556. It beat the 488 they had made against Zimbabwe in Chittagong in January 2005. They also took the first-innings lead for only the ninth time in 74 Tests as Nasir Hossain cut loose in the first session.
After the euphoria of the morning, it seemed the final session would be a letdown for the vocal Mirpur holiday crowd when Kieran Powell and Darren Bravo motored towards a double-hundred partnership. However, Bravo's dismissal was to start a cascade of wickets.
Having batted with stylish authority for his 76, Bravo slashed a Rubel Hossain delivery to the wicketkeeper. The pitch, which had done next to nothing till now, suddenly made its presence felt. In the next over, Marlon Samuels watched in disbelief as a Sohag Gazi offbreak reared from good length, took the inside edge and flew to forward short leg.
Despite Chanderpaul not coming out at his designated No. 5 position, Powell - who became only the second West Indies opener after Gordon Greenidge to make a hundred in each innings - and Denesh Ramdin seemed to have quietened things again. It was to be the interval amid the twin storms.
Shakib Al Hasan, who had been carted around, struck in successive overs with arm balls - Powell edged one behind, Ramdin was trapped in front off the other. With no sign of Chanderpaul, debutant Veerasammy Permaul walked in. He drove Shakib for consecutive fours but the other debutant in the game, Gazi, bowled him off the last ball of the day with one that did not turn as much as the batsman expected. Darren Sammy survived two close lbw shouts from Shakib to round off the evening's chaos, which hardly anyone could have foreseen given the way Powell and Bravo were going.
After Chris Gayle fell cheaply to Rubel, Powell and Bravo grew in confidence to toy with the attack. Both used their feet well to spin, and slithered down every now and then to hit boundaries as the pitch refused to degenerate into a day-four subcontinent turner.
Bravo drew more comparisons with his famous uncle as he dispatched Shahadat Hossain for fours through the covers. Powell drove and steered Rubel for three fours in the 50th over to become only the ninth West Indies batsman to make two hundreds in a Test. Powell should not have made more than 17, but Bangladesh squandered two opportunities when they put him down off successive deliveries in the 16th over off Shahadat.
Shahadat had played his part with the bat in the morning, when he hung around for 29 deliveries to help Nasir carry Bangladesh past 550. The hosts made an emphatic start to the day when Mahmudullah punched the first delivery from Sunil Narine to the deep cover rope. Mahmudullah became the fourth Bangladesh batsman to go past fifty this innings, but also became the third to fail to convert it into a hundred when Narine got one to kick in for a catch to forward short leg.
Narine's first wicket had taken 158 deliveries, but he had the second four balls later when he bowled Gazi. Narine's belated relief was also to be short-lived as Nasir took charge after Mahmudullah's departure.
Nasir started the day on 33 off 75 deliveries; he went on to take 63 off the next 61. What stood out in his knock was the calm manner in which he attacked the spinners, who were lofted and slog-swept for boundaries. But he was to join Tamim Iqbal and Shakib, both of who had fallen short of centuries earlier. Tino Best bowled a sucker ball, full, slow and wide outside off, and Nasir edged it to wide slip on 96.
Nasir's was the third wicket to fall today, and seven more were to follow to make it ten for the day. That was as many as had gone down in the first three days put together. The pitch might not have turned alarmingly, but this game certainly has.
Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo