Mirpur – West Indies took control of the second Test riding on the back of landmark performances from the two men named Edwards - Kirk and Fidel. One reached his second Test century to lay the stage for a competitive score, the other blew away the Bangladesh top and middle order with his eleventh five-for.
Just as significant to West Indies' primacy, was the almost inexplicable approach of the Bangladesh batsmen. They chose attack over caution during a fiery spell of pace bowling and despite a fighting innings from Shakib Al Hasan - who backed up his eighth five-wicket haul with a half-century under pressure - left their team staring at the possibility of conceding a sizeable lead.
Having witnessed the lack of assistance to seamers on a placid track during their innings, West Indies began with their fast bowlers bowling round the wicket into a top order packed with left-hand batsmen. The strategy was to induce them into playing on the off side with three slips and a gully in place, and occasionally roughing them up with short deliveries angling in, the short-leg fielder awaiting the chances. What set Fidel Edwards apart was his extra pace. He consistently bowled over 140kph and varied his lengths. While guilty of doling out some short stuff that was punished, he was accurate with yorkers and generated extra nip with the new ball.
Bangladesh's action-plan was evident as early as the second over, when Tamim Iqbal dispatched Kemar Roach for three boundaries. Restraint was in short supply and West Indies would have sensed a chance when Tamim was beaten chasing a wide one in Fidel Edwards' second over. When Tamim got one that angled in and spat off the pitch, he fended it to be brilliantly caught by Darren Bravo who reacted quickly at short leg to snap it with one hand. The aggression didn't die down, however, and both Imrul Kayes and Shahriar Nafees were dropped in the gully region. Even that didn't check them.
The approach was in contrast to the way the West Indies openers, Kraigg Brathwaite and Kieran Powell, batted on the opening day, building an innings and seeing off the early threat. The instinct to score produced risky shots and Shahriar's belated attempt to turn the face against Fidel Edwards brought about his demise. Fidel Edwards was proactive in setting the field, getting Bravo to stand exactly where he wanted at short leg and soon enough, the catches followed.
While Roach was taken for runs at the other end, Fidel Edwards changed his angle to over the wicket against the right-handers. He prised out Raqibul Hasan who played back to a good-length ball that nipped in, and dismissed Mushfiqur Rahim, who prodded at his first delivery that went away, only slightly. His fifth wicket was that of Kayes, who couldn't resist clipping him uppishly, straight to square leg.
The procession to the pavilion at the other end didn't stop Shakib from chancing his arm; he survived an edge between slip and gully but once Fidel Edwards was given a break, a seemingly harmless spell from Darren Sammy and a spread-out field enabled him to play with freedom. With a deep point in place for a good part of his stay, singles and twos were in easy supply and though he was tempted by the width provided, he ensured he played along the ground. Roach was steered and driven through the in-field and Sammy, with the keeper standing up, was struck for three fours in an over - two chopped past point followed by a lovely straight drive. He was at ease while negotiating some turn and variations in flight from Devendra Bishoo so it was a bit of a surprise when he played too early against one that was slower through the air, missed and was bowled.
Shakib's contribution was part of a recovery stand with Naeem Islam, who batted maturely, ignoring the deliveries outside off, defending well and keeping the bowlers at bay after surviving a close stumping and a missed run-out. He accumulated 45, cashed in on some long hops from Bishoo and held fort along with Nasir Hossain, who was fortunate to be dropped by Sammy, in a stand that involved some sprightly batting. It promised another recovery, only to be quashed by a mix-up that led to Naeem's fall during an attempted third run minutes before the close.
The hosts' slide with the bat followed a spirited comeback with the ball after West Indies had controlled the bulk of the contest. Shakib picked up his eighth Test five-wicket haul after an acrobatic return catch from Nasir ended a threatening stand between Marlon Samuels and Kirk Edwards. A dropped catch from Mushfiqur and some powerful drives down the ground took Kirk Edwards to his century but Shakib saw off Carlton Baugh and Darren Sammy before lunch. He trapped Kirk Edwards in front after the break to retreat to the dressing room with a big smile on his face; the expression turned to self-admonition after he was dismissed and would, presumably, have toned down a hint at the close. – Agencies