Bangladesh appeared set to rally towards a big total on an increasingly deteriorating pitch after posting 259/5 on the first day of the second cricket Test against West Indies on Friday at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.
Opener Shadman Islam made a patient 76 on his debut and skipper Shakib Al Hasan added an unbeaten 55 to keep Bangladesh aloft over the Caribbean side on a day, when everything went right with the hosts, from winning the crucial toss to not to taste any batting collapse which was a perennial problem.
With the pitch expecting to expose its crack as the day progresses, this total already looked daunting given West Indies’ vulnerability against quality spin.
On his maiden Test, Shadman shared two useful partnerships to keep Bangladesh on the right track after Bangladesh's team management decided to field a side without any frontline pacer for the first time in their history.
On a pitch that had little to offer for the fast bowlers, this move seems to be right as of now, as West Indies looked for its spinners to make the breakthrough after Bangladesh openers made a solid start.
The visitors indeed brought up spinners after the fourth over and it paid a rich dividend.
Off-spinner Roston Chase (1/61) had Soumya Sarkar caught by Shai Hope at slip for 19 to end a 42-run opening partnership.
Shadman and Mominul Haque looked untroubled before the latter got out against a loose delivery to give the wicket to fast bowler Kemar Roach (1/38) on the stroke of lunch.
Mominul, the centurion from the previous Test made 29 off 46, hitting two boundaries.
Shadman then got Mohammad Mithun (29) in the support as the duo combined for a 64-run partnership for the third wicket before leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo (2-69) struck twice, including Shamdan via leg-before.
Shadman brought up his fifty with a sweep past square-leg for boundary in the bowling against left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican off 147 balls.
By the time when Shadman got out he had already faced a national record of 199 deliveries on debut, eclipsing opener Javed Omar Belim’s record of facing 138 balls against Zimbabwe in 2001.
Fast bowler Shermon Lewis (1/35) moved the ball admirably on a dry pitch to get the better of Mushfiqur Rahim (14), raising a hope to claw back.
But Shakib held together the innings and established Bangladesh’s firm dominance, aided by Mahmudullah (31*), sharing a 69-run unbroken sixth-wicket stand.