Powell firming up opening spot

Kieran Powell made his second Test century Associated Press

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."