Two very different styles of batting were on display on the second day of the first Test at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur yesterday. At one end patient and risk-free batting from Shivnarine Chanderpaul not only took him to a second double hundred but also helped the West Indies to tighten their grip on the home team, while at the other extreme flamboyant batting from Tamim Iqbal only put the Tigers in danger.
It is a surface where only mistakes by the batsmen can make bowlers happy and the two overnight batsmen Chanderpaul and Denesh Ramdin, who hit his third hundred, applied themselves so brilliantly that the West Indies did not lose a single wicket yesterday as captain Darren Sammy declared their innings on 527 for 4, just twenty minutes before the tea break.
The Bangladesh top order's response however was a study in contrast. It appeared that they did not learn anything from the Test batting clinic put on by the two West Indian batsmen -- who kept their cool throughout an unbeaten 296-run fifth wicket stand -- about the desired approach on this surface, especially when they were under the burden of a pile of runs.
Tamim's swashbuckling innings may have been easy on the eyes-- some beautiful cover drives, an eye-catching straight drive and his trade-mark dancing down the wicket shots -- during his 72-run knock but in the end his stroke-filled innings hardly meant anything for his team, who finished the day on 164 for three, only halfway to the follow-on mark.
Tamim's batting approach as well as Shahriar Nafees's might have entertained the small crowd for a while but it once again brought to the fore the old problem of a lack of application in Bangladesh's batting. Both unnecessarily manufactured outrageous strokes and paid the price in the end by playing poor shots, but thankfully for the home side Naeem Islam and Shakib Al Hasan restored some sanity to prevent further damage.
Bangladesh lost their first wicket when Junaed Siddiqui had no answer to a nasty short ball from Ravi Rampaul, unlike Tamim and Nafees who both gifted away their wickets. Nafees went for a shot against a Rampaul delivery which he should have left alone; the ball got some extra bounce and took the outside edge through to the keeper to put an end to Nafees's 27-ball 31, while Tamim tried to thwack a short ball outside off from Sammy into oblivion but it only carried as far as Sunil Narine at mid-on for a simple catch. Tamim struck ten fours and two sixes during his 71-ball 72.
Earlier, it was a laborious day for the Bangladesh bowlers, especially for debutant off-spinner Shohag Gazi who took the most of the workload along with Shakib. Shohag bowled 47 overs while Shakib supported him with 34 overs. Credit, however, must go to Chanderpaul and Ramdin, who showed great reserves of patience and persistence to carry the team to an impregnable position. Veteran left-hander Chanderpaul was troubled a few times in the morning but he was in control, leaving almost all the deliveries outside off stump on way to achieve a Test best of an unbeaten 203 that came after a seven-and-a-half-hour vigil which saw 22 boundaries, while Ramdin was at the crease for five and a half hours and smote 11 fours and a six during his unbeaten 126-run innings.
If the match is to be competitive at all, Bangladesh's remaining batsmen have to follow the approach of the two Caribbean batsmen, otherwise another big defeat is only just a matter of a time for the home team.