Sarwan punishes weak attack

Bangladesh 284. West Indies 389-4
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The Independent Online

Ramnaresh Sarwan advanced to his highest Test score as the West Indies moved towards a strong first innings lead on the third day of the second and final Test against Bangladesh here yesterday.

Ramnaresh Sarwan advanced to his highest Test score as the West Indies moved towards a strong first innings lead on the third day of the second and final Test against Bangladesh here yesterday.

The stylish right-hander, who raised his fifth Test hundred on the second day, went from 106 to 157 at lunch when the West Indies were 389 for 4, a lead of 92. Shivnarine Chanderpaul was 40 at the interval, batting with growing assurance after a slow start.

Against opponents keen to erase their lacklustre performance in the drawn first Test, the prospects for Bangladesh were of a lot more hard labour for their limited bowling attack on an unresponsive pitch in hot, sunny weather.

Sarwan helped set up the formidable West Indies position on the previous afternoon in a third-wicket partnership of 179 with Brian Lara, whose 119 was his 26th Test hundred, taking him level with Garry Sobers as the most by a West Indian.

Disenchanted with the choices of his fellow selectors, the docile pitches and the performances of his team, Lara announced before the match he would quit the captaincy if the West Indies did not beat Test cricket's newest team - Bangladesh have yet to record a Test win after 29 attempts.

It was an extraordinary stipulation, even for a mercurial individual. But it seemed sufficient incentive for him and for Sarwan to capitalise on the favourable circumstances and for Sarwan to take advantage of an unaccepted slip chance off the lively Tapash Baisya on the second day when he was on 21.

After losing the nightwatchman Tino Best to a wicketkeeper's catch off Baisya with the second new ball in the day's third over, Sarwan batted with flair and confidence, gaining most of his runs with his favoured square-cut and drives on both sides of the wicket.

He quickly went past 119, his previous best, and by lunch he had stroked 18 fours and added 92 with the left-handed Chanderpaul, who was on 40.

As usual, the Bangladeshis were keen in the field but their bowling, comprising the mediam-pace of Baisya, debutant Tariq Aziz and Mushfiqur Rehman, lacked penetration. In the circumstances, Sarwan and Chanderpaul scored at nearly four runs an over.

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