December 16, 2002

West Indies take command of Chittagong Test

After the debacle in the first Test in Dhaka, not much was expected of the young and inexperienced Bangladesh team that squared up to the West Indies in the second Test at the MA Aziz Stadium in Chittagong. And true to form, they crumbled yet again against a West Indies bowling attack that comprises four speedsters, making just 194 in their first innings. When bad light brought an early end to play, the West Indies were 38-1 in reply.

Bangladesh skipper Khaled Mashud won the toss and decided to bat on a track with a lot of grass in it. The opening pair of Hannan Sarkar and Al Sahariar negotiated a wayward opening spell from Pedro Collins and Vasbert Drakes to take the score to 43. But then, in the space of 15 balls and five runs, Bangladesh lost three quick wickets.

Drakes, who had struggled to find the right rhythm in his first spell, finished it by drawing first blood, trapping Sahariar (25) in front of the wicket. Daren Powell, who replaced Collins, then claimed the wickets of Sarkar (15) and Habibul Bashar (3).

Sanwar Hossain and Mohammad Ashraful too were shaky to start with, beaten numerous times outside the off stump. But then, with the West Indies pace attack growing complacent, both the batsmen grew in confidence as Bangladesh went in for lunch at 88/3.

The post-lunch session was to bring no better tidings for the home side as the West Indies claimed four more wickets. After Hossain (36) and Ashraful (28) added 64 for the fourth wicket and took their team to 112-4, Collins and Jermaine Lawson struck, claiming two wickets each and reducing the hosts to 144-7 by the end of the session.

Soon after tea, Bangladesh lost Tapash Baisya (5) hit-wicket off the bowling of Powell. Skipper Khaled Mashud (32) stood up for a while and along with Manjural Islam (21) put together 36 useful runs for the ninth wicket. Sarwan caught Mashud in the covers off Drakes, and Islam was bowled by Collins as the Bangladesh innings came to an end in the 64th over of the day. Collins and Powell picked up three wickets each, Drakes and Lawson shared the remaining four wickets between them.

The West Indies innings didn't get off to a good start; they lost the wicket of Wavell Hinds (14) caught behind off the bowling of Tapash Baisya, trying to sway away from a short-pitched delivery and getting some glove on the ball.

Manjural Islam bowled a very good first spell (8-5-12-0), often beating the outside edge. Sarwan immediately got off his mark with a boundary to fine leg, but with the light fading, Chris Gayle (10*) and Sarwan (14*) ensured that West Indies did not have any further hiccups before close of play. Once again, they are dictating terms to the home side.