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Mohammad Isam in Khulna
November 22, 2012
Marlon Samuels and Darren Bravo took full advantage of a batting paradise and got the most out of their starts, which was exactly what the West Indies openers and Bangladesh's top seven batsmen failed to do. Darren Sammy is now hoping to extend their unbeaten 198-run third-wicket stand deep into the third day to take control on a pitch that is unlikely to aid the bowlers.
"We need to get [a lead of] 250-plus," Sammy said. "The way we bat tomorrow will determine how the Test match goes. If we bat to our full potential, we will score over 500 or 600 runs. We want to give them a 200-plus lead and take ten wickets in their second innings.
"I think the wicket is getting a little slower and turning a little slower. It looks a little drier after the day's play. Three days are left in the Test match, so there's no hurry. It's Test cricket, you have got to exercise your patience," he said.
Patience was exactly what Samuels and Bravo applied when they came together to bat in the first session of play. They rode out the threat posed by Rubel Hossain and when Shakib Al Hasan and Sohag Gazi bowled, they only looked for runs off deliveries that were either really short or full. Samuels never went for the extraordinary in his 282-minutes stay. He batted out 107 balls to reach the half-century and took roughly the same - 110 - to score the next fifty runs. He took out his lucky yellow scarf, but probably there were only two occasions when he needed luck - on 15 and 19 - when he survived two big leg-before shouts by Shakib.
Samuels has now completed three Test hundreds this year - five overall. The impact of his measured approach, Sammy believes, is crucial to the team's position in the Test match.
"Marlon [Samuels] has been [an integral part of the team] for the last year and a half," Sammy said. "I think he has scored over 700 runs for this year, and in all formats he has been batting really well. We have asked guys to take responsibility, and I'm happy to see him do that.
"He didn't have a score in the last game. Before he came here, he was looking to score three international hundreds. The way he went about it, that's what we are used to from him. Bravo had a good knock in the second innings in Dhaka. He looks really good."
Bravo, too, was impressive and undertook a cautious approach from the beginning. By the time he ended the day unbeaten on 85 off 197 balls, it was his eighth fifty-plus score in the subcontinent out of his twelve such innings in his career.
The two stroke-players also saw off periods where the boundaries had dried up as Mushfiqur Rahim employed the in-and-out field. It worked for Bangladesh and it was just the staying power of the two batsmen that stopped them from creating more chances. They batted at a run rate of 2.95 in the first session, 2.80 in the second and just a tad over three in the final session of play.
"We as a team normally score quickly. The wicket looks easy to bat out there, the two guys have played really well. They would know the pace of the wicket, and the tempo in which they could score.
"The key is to bat once in this Test match. If the pair can give us a solid start, it would be good with the likes of Shivnarine Chanderpaul and the rest of the batsmen coming in next".
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in BangladeshFeeds: Mohammad Isam
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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