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Brathwaite, Johnson hit half-centuries

Kraigg Brathwaite and Leon Johnson during day 1 of the 2nd Test West Indies v Bangladesh at Beausejour Cricket Ground, Gros Islet, St. Lucia

Leon Johnson and  Kraigg Brathwaite during day 1 of the 2nd Test West Indies v Bangladesh at Beausejour Cricket Ground, Gros Islet, St. Lucia. (Photo courtesy WICB)

GROS ISLET, St Lucia – Bangladesh’s three-man pace attack was collectively wayward in the first session of the second Test, and hardly did justice to their captain’s decision to field first.

The West Indies openers, a new pair with debutant Leon Johnson partnering Kraigg Brathwaite, were solid without showing too much flair as they moved to 61 for no loss.

Brathwaite began where he left off in the first Test. He used his disciplined strokeplay to thwart anything on the stumps and he played very little his outside off stump. He was unbeaten on 20 off 81 balls with two boundaries, one cover driven and the other placed through midwicket off a slow full-toss from Taijul Islam, Bangladesh’s only specialist spinner.

Debutant Johnson hardly looked out of place despite being predominantly a middle-order batsman in first-class cricket.

Leon Johnson drives Shafiul Islam. (Photo courtesy WICB)

Leon Johnson drives Shafiul Islam.

He took 17 balls to get off the mark and was largely unaffected by the bowling. He struck both his boundaries through the covers and moved to 27 off 78 balls.

The visitors reshaped their playing XI to make room for an extra bowler. They included pace bowlers Robiul Islam and Shafiul Islam, leaving out a seamer in Rubel Hossain and the batting allrounder Shuvagata Hom.

Conditions at the Beausejour Stadium were much better for bowling than they had been in St. Vincent for the first Test, and Mushfiqur Rahim’s decision to field first looked a more natural option here, with the ball moving around excessively at times, with good pace and carry.

The bowling figures of Shafiul, Robiul and Al-Amin Hossain till lunch might suggest economy without too much penetration, but that wasn’t the entire story. That they weren’t giving away too many runs was more because of the West Indies openers’ apprehension rather than their own incisiveness.

Al-Amin was beating Brathwaite’s bat a little more regularly and bowled with more pace than the other two, but he bowled the majority of his deliveries to the left-hander Johnson on or outside leg stump. Shafiul, playing his first Test since August 2011, took the new ball with Al-Amin. He bowled fewer balls on the Johnson’s pads but it was clear he would take a bit of time to adjust to the demands of Test-match bowling.

Robiul, treated as a Test specialist, was hardly in rhythm, bowling no-balls while beating the bat but bowling the slowest among the trio, and he hardly made the batsmen play. He mostly bowled at Brathwaite, sliding down the leg side and at times bowling too wide of the off stump. (cricinfo)

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