Spinners give Bangladesh control
Shakib Al Hasan led from the front as Bangladesh tightened the noose on West Indies to leave them struggling at 192 for 8 by tea before rains forced an early close of play on the third day in Grenada. David Bernard resisted with an unbeaten 61 but he didn't find much support from his team-mates.
In the second session, Bernard, who has been one of the better West Indies players of spin in this series, waged a fighting battle along with Sammy. Bernard played with soft hands while defending and didn't waste any run-scoring opportunities. He had started with a sweetly timed four off Mahmudullah and a six over long-off against Shakib when rains came down to force an early lunch. Post the break, when Enamul Haque Jnr tempted him with flight, he hared down the track to unfurl straight drives for successive boundaries and he went right back to defend the arm-balls. The audacious shot of his stay was a slog-sweep against Enamul, bowling from round the stumps, to bring up his fifty.
Sammy, who was dropped on 9 by Junaid Siddiqui at first slip off Shakib, kept the scorecard moving with his wristy dabs and cuts. West Indies were beginning to move forward with purpose when Bangladesh broke through with a triple strike. Sammy pulled a slightly short delivery from Enamul straight to midwicket, Chadwick Walton, who has had a poor series with the bat, failed yet again, and Ryan Austin fell cheaply. Walton couldn't resist having a go at a flighted delivery from Shakib, edging a sharp catch to Mahmudullah at first slip, and Austin pulled a short delivery from Shahadat Hossain to mid-on to leave Bernard in danger of running out of partners.
Bangladesh had set up the game with a sustained spell of quality spin bowling in the morning. You could sense a wicket was never far away with the spinners creating lots of problems and close-in fielders hovering around the bat. Only two batsmen - Travis Dowlin and Bernard - looked like offering resistance but when Dowlin fell to an umpiring mistake, Bangladesh held the advantage. Dowlin was batting positively, cutting at every opportunity and looking increasingly solid in defense, when he was given out lbw after shouldering arms to a delivery from Enamul that pitched around off stump and turned away.
Shakib had got the early breakthroughs for Bangladesh, not through his conventional classy left-arm spin, but with the occasional delivery outside leg stump. Shakib teased Omar Phillips with ones that turned and went straight but now and then he drifted to the leg side. Phillips put a couple of them to the boundary but threw his wicket away off the next one down leg as he swung it to deep backward square leg. He had gifted his wicket in the first innings as well, swinging straight to deep midwicket. The next batsman to fall for the trap was Ryan Hinds, who gloved an attempted sweep down leg and the ball bounded off the keeper to leg slip.
Mahmudullah, who opened with Shakib, struck next, ending Floyd Reifer's misery with a full delivery on off stump. It was a marginal decision as it might have straightened to miss the off stump but the finger went up and West Indies had slid to 100 for 4. The hosts' hopes for a competitive total rested on Bernard.
Sriram Veera is a staff writer at Cricinfo