Kraigg Brathwaite`s second Test hundred was the foundation-stone of a formidable West Indies batting effort as the home side closed a rain-affected first day of the first Test against Bangladesh on Friday at 264 for three.
On a day when the tourists relied heavily on debutant spinners Taijul Islam and Shuvagata Hom on a placid pitch at the Arnos Vale Stadium in St Vincent, Brathwaite`s unbeaten 123 off 269 deliveries (eight fours) reflected the 21-year-old`s unflappability in almost any circumstances.
The rookie opener put on 116 for the first wicket with Chris Gayle (64) to make Mushfiqur Rahim regret his decision to put the West Indies in to bat on winning the toss at the start of the day.
Inevitably, the phlegmatic Barbadian faded into anonymity compared to his big-hitting opening partner, who counted ten fours and one six in his innings before he fell just after the lunch interval.
Darren Bravo joined in the steady accumulation of runs following the comparatively swift dismissal of Kirk Edwards, contributing 62 to a 128-run third-wicket partnership before a careless off-drive off Taijul offered a simple catch to Mahmudullah at mid-off.
Shivnarine Chanderpul, who took 183 off the Bangladeshis playing for a St Kitts Invitational XI in a three-day match in Basseterre the previous weekend, will resume on the second morning with Brathwaite after the heaviest, most sustained rainfall of the day brought an early end to play.
Through his five-and-a-half-hour occupation of the crease so far, the stodgy right-hander once more displayed vast reserves of patience and concentration in keeping with the celebrated qualities and reputation of the 40-year-old with whom he will resume the innings on the second morning, weather permitting.
He did enjoy a moment of luck though after reaching three figures, Mushfiqur failing to hold on to an outside edge behind the stumps off the bowling of Shuvagata.
It was the off-spinning all-rounder who finally got the first breakthrough for the visitors, the request for a television referral overturning an on-field “not out” verdict to an LBW appeal when Gayle missed an attempted sweep at the bowler just after lunch. In the only period of success for Bangladesh, Taijul was celebrating his first Test wicket shortly after, Edwards taken smartly by Mominul Haque at silly-point.
However there was little else to cheer Bangladesh, except for the determination of the newcomers as Taijul and Mominul delivered 52 of the 87 overs bowled the day. As well as they performed, Mushfiqur would have been hoping for greater effectiveness from his more experienced campaigners, but that never materialised.
After starting with five consecutive maiden overs, Al-Amin Hossain lacked penetration, as did new ball partner Rubel Hossain, while Mahmudullah, on the ground where he claimed eight wickets on a sensational match-winning Test debut five years earlier, was the most disappointing of all in conceding 31 runs off five mediocre overs of off-spin.