Monday, April 22, 2024

Leon steals show


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GROS ISLET – Leon Johnson celebrated his debut with a half-century and in-form Kraigg Brathwaite cashed in again, but timid West Indies made heavy weather of an ordinary Bangladesh attack on the opening day of the second Test yesterday.

Inserted in their 500th Test, the hosts laboured to 246 for three at the close at the Beausejour Cricket Ground, with the left-handed Johnson top-scoring with 66 and his opening partner Brathwaite getting 63.

The pair put on 143 for the first wicket before both falling before tea but Darren Bravo, unbeaten on 44, and veteran Shiv Chanderpaul, not out on 34, have so far added 61 for the fourth wicket, to keep the Windies on top.

However, Bravo and Chanderpaul were guilty of meandering in the last session, content to prod and poke without showing any positive intent.

West Indies were greatly helped by ordinary fielding from the Bangladeshis who grassed three catches, including one off Chanderpaul.

Johnson and Brathwaite made a cautious start, showing little aggression as they slowly constructed the Windies innings, to reach 61 without loss at the lunch break.

West Indies’ 300th Test player, the 27-year-old Johnson faced 162 balls in 227 minutes at the crease and struck five fours and a six while Brathwaite batted just over 3 1/2 hours, faced 150 balls and counted five fours.

Johnson, a Guyanese, needed nearly half an hour to get his first Test run, standing tall and tucking seamer Al-Amin Hossain into the off-side off the 17th ball he faced.

West Indies were also without a boundary for the first hour and Johnson finally broke the shackles in the first over after the drinks break when he caressed a loose half-volley from seamer Shafiul Islam through cover.

He repeated the stroke with the same result an over later off the same bowler, as the pair closed in on the half-century stand.

Brathwaite, who made a career-best double hundred in the first Test last week, hardly played a shot in anger and his two fours came in the last 13 deliveries before lunch.

Both batsmen showed more urgency after the break. Johnston stepped down to left-arm spinner Taijul Islam to clear the ropes at long off and raise the 100-run partnership, before bringing up his half-century with a single to point off seamer Robiul Islam.

Two deliveries later, Brathwaite reached fifty with a streaky shot to third man and followed up by pulling Taijul to the midwicket boundary in the next over.

However, Brathwaite finally departed in the seventh over before tea, slapping an innocuous short delivery from seamer Islam to Taijul Islam at point.

Johnson, meanwhile, was let off on 57 when his edge flew between wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim and Nasir Hossain, with neither fielder seemingly interested in the chance. However, Johnson added just nine more before missing a forward prod at Taijul and being adjudged lbw, with the score on 145 for two.

Kirk Edwards survived a chance on five in the penultimate over before tea when he drove Shafiul to point where Taijul muffed the chance diving forward.

Unbeaten on the same score at the break with West Indies on 153 for two, Edwards added just 11 before picking out Shamsur Rahman at cover with off-spinner Mahmudullah, about 40 minutes after the resumption.

Bravo, on four at tea, started explosively with a pair of sixes down the ground off Taijul in the second over after the interval, and followed up with a sweetly-timed cut to the point boundary a couple of overs later.

With Chanderpaul’s arrival, however, West Indies went into a rut with both batsmen suddenly going into their shells. The innings then wandered 15 overs without a boundary, and the trend was only broken when Chanderpaul pulled a short ball from seamer Nasir Hossain to the mid-wicket boundary about half-hour from the close.

Dropped on four by Nasir at second slip off pacer Al-Amin Hossain, Chanderpaul has so far faced 84 balls and counted three fours while Bravo has spent 96 balls at the crease and hit four fours and two sixes. (CMC)


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