It was a display of attacking left-handed batting that stole the show at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium yesterday. West Indies opener Kieran Powell and veteran middle-order batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul entertained the crowd with their respective tons. The West Indian batsmen, who are separated in age by almost two-decades, brushed aside the spin-dominated Bangladesh bowling attack.
While Powell used a lot more bottom-hand in his shots, the experienced Chanderpaul drove elegantly through the covers. Apart from a close LBW shout against the veteran during an attempted sweep off Shohag Gazi, the batsmen provided absolutely no chances to the Bangladeshi attack. “Before coming to this series my aim was to score a hundred. Now I have got to see what else I can achieve,” said Powell in the post-day conference.
Powell shared a stroke-filled partnership worth 125 runs with Chanderpaul and in the process took the visitors to a commanding position from a tricky 106 for 3. The latter's ability to hit the ball into the gaps and Powell's timing shifted the momentum in West Indies' favour.
“Batting with an experienced player like Shiv (Chanderpaul) helped me a lot. He kept telling me to be patient and asked me to play my natural game,” said Powell.
An aggressive batsman by nature, Powell first faced Bangladesh in a one day international in 2009, when he got out for a duck. However, ever since then, the batsman, who made his Test debut last year, steadily rose through the ranks. He made a quick 72 against Bangladesh the last time he came here. He also scored his first Test century against New Zealand three months ago and followed it up with his second ton yesterday.
“The two centuries were made on different grounds and against different bowling attacks. I don't think they can be compared,” said a modest Powell. His enthusiastic air-punch following the boundary that led him to his second ton seemed to have spoken a lot more about his effort than his calm demeanour during the post-day conference.
A scoreboard error meant that Chanderpaul celebrated his century prematurely, going through the now-customary kissing of the pitch, removal of the helmet and raising of the bat when his individual score was on 99. The single that took him to his actual hundred was just another of the many nudges that characterised his innings.
The senior batsman played throughout the day and remained not out on 123. Powell, however, was bowled by Shohag soon after Tea. “I regret the way I got out. It was a misjudgement on my part. The ball came a little shorter than I expected,” explained Powell. “The pitch was a bit soft initially and there was moisture early on. It became easier to bat on later in the day. We were initially looking to score around 400 runs, but it looks like a 500 plus score is possible,” he added.
The opener was also of the opinion that the West Indian spinners would enjoy bowling on the wicket in the later sessions of the Test match.