Almost unobtrusively, Darren Bravo reached his fourth Test hundred, all of which have come in the subcontinent. His partnership with Samuels swelled to 326, West Indies’ sixth-highest ever, before Sohag Gazi ended it by trapping Bravo in front. The one between Samuels and Chanderpaul added 177.
Samuels switched gears each session from spectacular to sedate to smooth, with Chanderpaul outscoring him comfortably after lunch. Samuels had taken 82 off 81 deliveries in the morning; he took 86 to make 29 after lunch. He did accelerate to score 40 off 57 in the final session before falling to the third new ball off Rubel Hossain.
Samuels had an extremely edgy start to the day for a man resuming on 109, but he recovered to slam 14 boundaries till lunch as Bangladesh wilted after the initial burst from their quick bowlers. He was to hit just two edged fours in the second session. The second new ball was two overs old at the start, and Bangladesh could have had a wicket in each of the first four overs. Bravo edged Rubel Hossain’s second delivery of the day and it nearly carried to the lone slip. Nearly. The word was to define Bangladesh’s morning.
Samuels was dropped once and survived several times in the next three overs. He was beaten by both Rubel and Abul Hasan and edged both through the slips for fours. In the day’s fourth over, an edge off Abul even carried low to first slip, but Naeem Islam was late to react. By now, Samuels must have realised it was his day, and three balls later, he thumped Abul through covers for four.
Bravo did the same to the next two deliveries, off Rubel, and West Indies were now galloping. Bravo was to add 42 to his overnight 85, but he might as well have been invisible, such was Samuels’ assault. Yet again, Shakib Al Hasan, who had troubled him on day two, almost dismissed Samuels today. Samuels had been exploiting the slowness of the Khulna pitch, which gave him ample time to stand front-on against the spinners and swing length deliveries over square leg. After doing the same to Shakib in the 102nd over, he tried repeating the stroke next delivery. The ball took the inside edge, hit the pad and rolled onto leg stump, but to Mushfiqur Rahim’s utter disbelief, did not dislodge the bails. Samuels gleefully charged out and hit the last ball of that over for six down the ground.
Had Bravo not gone back to cut a quick and straight Gazi delivery and been hit on pad first, Bangladesh could have spent the break cursing their luck, which did not change in the afternoon. Rubel struck Samuels on the pad first ball on resumption, but a close shout was turned down. First ball of Rubel’s next over, Samuels slashed and the edge flew over slip. He had further issues against Rubel, whose short deliveries did not rise enough to be ducked under, and did not come quickly enough to be pulled with timing. —AFP