Gabriel fireworks leave Bangladesh reeling

Mushfiqur Rahim looks back in disappointment to see his stumps rattled as fast bowler Shannon Gabriel celebrates, on Thursday’s second day of the opening Test. (Photo courtesy CWI Media)

NORTH SOUND, Antigua, CMC – Opener Kraigg Brathwaite stroked his first hundred in nearly a year while Shai Hope passed fifty for the first time in 13 innings, but it was speedster Shannon Gabriel’s devastating four-wicket burst which rocked Bangladesh and put West Indies on course for a comprehensive win in the opening Test.

Playing on Thursday’s second day of the contest at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground, West Indies piled up 406 all out in their first innings, with Brathwaite top-scoring with 121 – his seventh Test hundred but first since his 134 at Leeds last August.

Hope, without a half-century since scoring one last October on the tour of Zimbabwe, chipped in with 67 while captain Jason Holder (33) and tail-ender Kemar Roach (33) produced breezy knocks down the order to add to Bangladesh’s pain. Armed with a huge lead of 363, West Indies quickly demolished the tourists’ top order, leaving the innings in shambles at 62 for six and in need of a miracle to avoid falling 1-0 behind in the two-Test series.

Bangladesh trail by 301 runs heading into Friday’s third day with only four wickets intact.

Gabriel, fresh off a 20-wicket haul against Sri Lanka, was again at the heart of the Windies juggernaut, snatching four for 36 while Holder chipped in with two for 15.

Requiring a massive effort following their record-low 43 all out in the first innings, Bangladesh again found themselves hurt by the Windies quicks as wickets tumbled spectacularly.

Starting their innings on the stroke of the final hour, Bangladesh safely navigated the opening overs with Tamim Iqbal passing 4 000 Test runs when he cut Gabriel to the ropes at backward point.

However, off the very next ball, Gabriel had the left-hander caught at gully by Hope for 13, sparring at one that bounced and took the shoulder of the bat.

Two balls later, a fired-up Gabriel struck again when he bowled new batsman Mominul Haque without scoring, by one that kept low.

Holder then picked up his first, finding Liton Das’s outside edge for Brathwaite at first slip to take a simple catch and leave the Bangladesh innings in strife at 16 for three. Captain Shakib Al Hasan (12) and former skipper Mushfiqur Rahim (8) put on 20 for the fourth wicket – the best stand of the innings so far – with both escaping with a couple of streaky boundaries past the cordon.

But Gabriel bowled Mushfiqur playing down the wrong line and in his next over, claimed the prized wicket of Shakib, brilliantly caught low down at third slip by Holder.

Holder accounted for Mehidy Hasan for two in the fourth over before the extended close, nicking one behind which seamed.

West Indies had earlier batted themselves into an impregnable position after resuming the day on 201 for two.

Starting the day on 88, Brathwaite raised triple figures inside the first hour when he cut pacer Kamrul Islam to third man for four, and was unbeaten on 121 at lunch with the Windies on 271 for three.

Nightwatchman Devendra Bishoo was the only casualty of the session, falling for 19 in the second over following the drinks break.

Resuming on one, the left-hander struck two fours in a 79-ball knock while adding 52 for the third wicket with Brathwaite, before missing a defensive prod and losing his off stump to Kamrul.

However, Brathwaite failed to add to his lunch time score, dismissed off the fourth ball following the resumption when he was taken low at cover off left-arm spinner Shakib (2-71), with West Indies adding a single run to their interval total.

All told, Brathwaite faced 291 deliveries in 6-1/2 hours at the crease and counted 11 fours.

The Windies then lost two further wickets cheaply to slide to 288 for six as overall, three wickets perished for 16 runs in quick time.

Roston Chase missed an arm ball from off-spinner Mehidy Hasan (3-101) and was lbw for two and wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich was taken at silly point off Shakib for four.

Holder raised the tempo, belting two fours and sixes, as he added 50 for the seventh wicket with Hope, whose knock required 127 balls, just over 3-1/4 hours and included three fours and a six.

Mehidy eventually had Holder caught at short leg to leave the Windies on 375 for seven at tea but Hope and Roach combined in a 56-run eighth wicket stand afterwards, to further frustrate Bangladesh.

Roach hammered six fours and a six in a cavalier 50-ball knock before Mehidy hit him in front and debutant pacer Abu Jayed finished off the innings by knocking over Hope and Gabriel to end with three for 84.

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