Gros-Islet (Saint Lucia): A record opening partnership in Tests against Bangladesh and untidy cricket by the tourists contributed to the West Indies reaching 246 for three at stumps on the first day of the second and final Test at the Beausejour Stadium on Saturday.
Debutant Leon Johnson (66), playing in place of the unavailable veteran opening batsman Chris Gayle, and Kraigg Brathwaite (63) put on 143 for the first wicket after Mushfiqur Rahim won the toss and chose to field first.
Their stand eclipsed the previous record established by Gayle and fellow-Jamaican Wavell Hinds in Dhaka in 2002. Yet as well as the makeshift opening pair performed, Bangladesh's opening bowlers aided the opponents with an indisciplined effort through the morning session, ironically when the pitch was at its most helpful to the seamers.
Despite a much-improved performance in the second session, when Johnson and Brathwaite were removed within the space of a couple of runs, the visitors' efforts to make further inroads into the batting line-up were thwarted by their own errors in the field. Kirk Edwards was put down at backward-point off Shafiul Islam at the start of his innings and although he eventually departed in the final session, the missed opportunity presented by Shivnarine Chanderpaul could prove far more costly.
Dropped at second slip off Al-Amin Hossain when only on four, the 40-year-old left-hander will resume on the second morning on 34 alongside Darren Bravo (44). They have so far put on 61 for the fourth wicket, but at a snail's pace, occupying 144 deliveries despite conditions that seemed ideal for batting and notwithstanding their well-established reputations as the two most accomplished batsmen in the West Indies line-up.
It was Shafiul who finally made the breakthrough after a frustrating first half of the day as Brathwaite essayed a shot that was completely out of character, chasing a very wide delivery and succeeding only in slicing a catch to Taijul in the same position of backward point.
Taijul then struck almost immediately with Johnson being judged leg-before as he prodded half-forward. The 27-year-old left-hander deliberated too long before requesting a television review of the decision and was left to regret his tardiness with replays suggesting that the delivery would have spun past leg stump.
Johnson had displayed a much more positive intent in the afternoon period following a nervy first morning of Test cricket. Brathwaite, fresh from a patient double-century in the first Test in St Vincent a week earlier, also stepped up the pace. After crawling to 61 in the first two hours of the day, the pair accelerated without taking too many risks immediately after lunch with the inexperience and general ineffectiveness of the Bangladeshi bowling exposed once again.
Johnson hoisted the first six of the innings, a straight hit off Taijul Islam on the way to a maiden Test half-century while an edge though the slip region to the third-man boundary off Shafiul took Brathwaite to fifty.