Gabriel hits back after Mominul hundred inspires Bangladesh

Fast bowler Shannon Gabriel … grabbed four wickets in the final session to stall Bangladesh’s progress.

CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh, CMC – Mominul Haque struck his eighth Test hundred to equal the most for Bangladesh but West Indies hit back strongly in the final session, to grab a share of the honours on the opening day of the first Test here yesterday.

Mominul Haque

Opting for first knock at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Bangladesh ended on 315 for eight, an innings built on left-hander Mominul’s 120 – his fourth century this year and third in successive innings at the venue.

Fellow opener Imrul Kayes hit a battling 44 while captain Shakib-al-Hasan chipped in with 34 and tail-ender Taijul Islam, an unbeaten 32.

Bangladesh were well poised on 216 for three at tea but speedster Shannon Gabriel, who went wicket-less for the opening two sessions, wrecked the middle and lower order to finish with four for 69.

Left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican supported with two for 62 as the tourists clawed their way back into the contest after the hosts dominated.

West Indies struck with just the third ball of the morning when left-hander Soumya Sarkar (0) got one from seamer Kemar Roach which straightened, and nicked a defensive prod behind with a single run on the board.

However, Mominul then settled down to anchor the innings, inspiring a succession of strong partnerships to give Bangladesh the advantage.

First, he posted 104 for the second wicket with Imrul, who lived a charmed life in an 87-ball knock which included five fours.

Imrul, also a left-hander, was dropped on three by Roston Chase at second slip off Roach in the fifth over and survived another chance on 16 when he swept Warrican and was caught by Gabriel at deep square, only for replays to show the bowler had overstepped.

He was denied a fifth Test half-century, however, caught at short leg by Sunil Ambris off Warrican in the final over before lunch.

On 105 for two at the interval, Bangladesh lost just one wicket in the second session, as Mominul impressively marched to triple figures.

All told, the 27-year-old faced 167 balls and counted 10 fours and a six – a loft over wide long on off leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo which took him to 98.

Importantly, Mominul added a further 48 for the third wicket with Mohammed Mithun (20) before putting 69 for the fourth wicket with Shakib as Bangladesh prospered.

He reached his half-century in the third over before lunch to be unbeaten on 55 at the break, and then survived a chance on 67 when wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich put down a sharp chance off Bishoo, in the eighth over after lunch.

However, he carried on unfazed, reaching his landmark when he cut off-spinner Chase to the backward point ropes, just over half-hour away from the tea interval.

The only wicket to fall in the session was that of Mithun, who skied Bishoo for Dowrich to take a simple catch.

Unbeaten on 116 at tea, Mominul’s departure in the second over following the resumption, triggered a slide which saw Bangladesh lose five wickets for 37 runs.

Against the run of play, he slashed at Gabriel with minimal foot movement and edged to Dowrich.

Gabriel then wasted little time in getting into the middle order. Three balls later in the same over, he claimed Mushfiqur Rahim, lbw for four on review and in his next over, brought one back to bowl the dangerous Mahmudullah for three.

Shakib inside-edged Gabriel onto his stumps two overs later and Warrican got the wicket of Mehidy Hasan Miraz for 22, beating the right-hander’s drive to rattle his stumps.

With Bangladesh suddenly tottering on 259 for eight, West Indies had their tails up but were then frustrated by an unbroken 56-run, ninth wicket stand between Taijul and 17-year-old debutant Nayeem Hasan (24 not out).

Taijul, who has struck three fours and a six in a 57-ball stay at the crease, was handed a life late in the day when he was given out lbw to Bishoo but reprieved via DRS.

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