Kingston (Jamaica) (AFP) – The West Indies struggled against the Bangladesh spinners on a helpful surface on the opening day of the second and final Test in Jamaica, reaching lunch on Thursday on 79 for two.
The home team demolished the tourists with pace in a one-sided first test but on the first morning at Sabina Park, Bangladesh made full use of their slow bowling options on a pitch that was surprisingly helpful given the grassy, fast bowler-friendly tracks for Tests in this Caribbean international season.
Kraigg Brathwaite survived through the first two hours after the home side were put in to bat but lost opening partner Devon Smith and Kieran Powell to Mehidy Hasan.
Brathwaite resumes in the afternoon on 33 in partnership with Shai Hope and they will be expecting even more of an examination from the trio of opposing spinners with Mehidy supported by his captain, Shakib al Hasan, and by Taijul Islam.
Taijul’s inclusion in the Bangladesh team at the expense of seamer Rubel Hossain – the lone change from the innings and 219-run thrashing endured inside three days in the first match in Antigua – has proved to be inspired in conditions so far tailor-made for his style of bowling.
In contrast, West Indies’ decision to omit specialist spinner Devendra Bishoo appeared to suggest that another seaming, bouncing pitch was on offer to be exploited by an attack spearheaded by Shannon Gabriel and incorporating captain Jason Holder, medium-pacer Miguel Cummins and debutant Keemo Paul, whose potential as a seam bowler and useful lower-order batsman gave him the nod ahead of lanky pacer Alzarri Joseph.
Kemar Roach, the most experienced of the West Indies fast bowlers and “Man of the Match” with his devastating effort on the first morning in Antigua when he triggered the rout of Bangladesh with figures of five for eight, has been rested for this match, giving Paul his opportunity.
With Bishoo dropped, the home selectors opted to boost the batting by recalling 21-year-old middle-order batsman Shimron Hetmyer for his first Test of the domestic season.
So quickly did Shakib recognise the spin-friendly nature of the pitch that he had himself and mystery spinner Mehidy operating in tandem after a lone over of medium-pace from Abu Jayed.
It wasn’t long before Mehidy accounted for Smith via a bat-pad catch, Mominul Haque running back to short square-leg to completed the dismissal.
Powell came to the crease and played with greater purpose and aggression, contributing 29 to a 50-run second-wicket stand before he was pinned in the crease and trapped leg-before by Mehidy.
In 35 overs, Abu Jayed and fellow seamer Kamrul Islam were only given one over each.
West Indies are searching for their first home series win since 2014, when Bangladesh were also their opponents and were well beaten in Tests in St Vincent and St Lucia.