GROS-ISLET, Saint Lucia (AFP) — Shivnarine Chanderpaul's phenomenal run of form against Bangladesh continued with the veteran West Indies batsman unbeaten on 63 in guiding his team to 208 for four, an overall lead of 427, at stumps on the third day of the second and final Test at the Beausejour Stadium yesterday.
After captain Denesh Ramdin declined to enforce the follow-on despite a first- innings lead of 219 when the tourists were dismissed for 161 in the morning session, the home side slipped to 100 for four before an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 108 between Chanderpaul and Jermaine Blackwood (43 not out) killed off any prospect Bangladesh had of precipitating a complete batting collapse.
Chanderpaul, now in his 21st year as an international cricketer, has yet to be dismissed in this series and has totalled 645 runs — with just one dismissal — in his last seven Test innings against Bangladesh, including the current effort, dating back to the 2012 series on the Indian sub-continent.
This was his 66th half-century in Tests, and having been left unbeaten on 85 and 84 in his two previous innings in the series, the 40-year-old left-hander would appear to have considerable time on his side to get the 37 runs required for a 30th Test century going into the fourth day of the scheduled five-day match.
Fast bowler Kemar Roach failed to add to his five-wicket tally from the previous afternoon and it was left to spinner Sulieman Benn, who claimed the last two wickets, to ensure that the West Indies had a huge advantage at the start of their second innings.
Only Mahmudullah offered any significant resistance, the all-rounder being ninth out for 53, his second consecutive half-century and fourth score of over 50 in Tests against the West Indies. He was supported by Shafiul Islam in a 45-run eighth-wicket partnership that held up the home side's progress for an hour until the tail-ender edged a delivery from fast bowler Shannon Gabriel to Ramdin, one of five catches in the innings for the wicketkeeper.
Building on that substantial platform, Kraigg Brathwaite and Leon Johnson put on 76 for the first wicket before the debutant was bowled driving at left-arm spinner Taijul Islam for 41. Having put on 143 in the first innings, they had come within 24 runs of being the first West Indies opening pair ever to compile century stands in both innings of a Test.
Kirk Edwards and Darren Bravo fell cheaply and when Mahmudullah claimed his second wicket by having Brathwaite caught at slip for 45, West Indies were in need of some stability.
Chanderpaul and Blackwood provided it to put the West Indies in complete command by the end of the day.