Gabriel 4-fer leaves Bangladesh on brink of defeat

Thursday was surely better than Wednesday for Bangladesh, but they have been left in a worse position in the Test at the end of Day 2, reeling at 62 for 6 after having conceded a 363-run lead. What made the day better for Bangladesh were the eight wickets that they begged, especially the two bursts of three quick wickets after the Lunch and Tea breaks respectively. Otherwise, for a second day running, it was a one-sided contest.

Given where Bangladesh were placed at the end of the Lunch session – 271 for 3, including a nightwatchman, they would have been happy having contained the hosts to 406. However, Shannon Gabriel’s burst, coupled with Jason Holder’s two wickets undid everything good Bangladesh had done before that and a lot more, erasing all hopes of making a comeback or even stretching the game beyond three days.

Brief Scores: Bangladesh 43 (Liton Das 25; Kemar Roach 5-8, Miguel Cummins 3-11) & 62/6 (Shannon Gabriel 4-36, Jason Holder 2-15) trail Windies 406 (Kraigg Brathwaite 121, Devon Smith 58; Abu Jayed 3-84, Mehidy Hasan 3-101) by 301 runs

Resuming the day on 201 for 2, Kraigg Brathwaite continued his vigil and registered his eighth Test century. He was well supported by Devendra Bishoo, who scored only 19 runs, but did a fine job to see through the first hour of play without any damage.

Soon after Bishoo was dismissed, Brathwaite got a life, when he was put down by Liton Das at leg slip. That drop was neither the first nor the last by Bangladesh in the innings. The benevolence was extended to Shai Hope and Jason Holder later in the innings.

With the ball getting old, the pacers weren’t proving too effective. The spin duo of Shakib Al Hasan and Mehidy Hasan caused a brief flutter after Lunch as they picked three wickets in quick succession to reduced the hosts from 274 for 3 to 288 for 6. However Hope, combined with Holder and Kemar Roach, to revive their innings consecutive half-century stands.

Mehidy bagged his 50th Test wicket when he had Holder caught at silly mid on, a brief while before Tea. Windies couldn’t carry on for long after the Tea interval and folded up for 406. Debutant Abu Jayed and Mehidy finished with three wickets apiece.

Even if there was any possibility of Bangladesh to make a comeback, it was nipped in the bud by Shannon Gabriel. Even as there was movement and bounce, the wicket had eased out for batting. But neither did Bangladesh’s application improved nor did Windies’ bowling deteriorate. Roach, who batted despite some hamstring struggle, did not come on to bowl. However, Jason Holder’s steep bounce and Gabriel’s swing and pace were enough to rip through Bangladesh’s top order.

Tamim Iqbal became the first Bangladesh player to register 4,000 Test runs but soon after got out looking to poke at an angling away delivery to gully. It was the start of Bangladesh’s collapse, and to make it a double-wicket over, he even had Mominul Haque castled with a delivery that kept low after pitching.

Thereafter, it was simply a procession of wickets, and they were soon reduced to 50 for 6 with all the batsmen except Mahmudullah back in the dressing room. Mahmudullah too could have been there when he was caught in the final over of the day, only to find out that Miguel Cummins had overstepped.

The end of day score, 62 for 6, doesn’t read too well, and neither does the 301-run deficit that they are still to cover. You don’t want to be a Bangladeshi in Antigua today. You don’t want to be Steve Rhodes either.

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