KINGSTOWN - Opening batsmen Chris Gayle and Kraigg Brathwaite enjoyed a virtually trouble-free session to take the West Indies to 103 without loss at lunch on the opening day of the first Test against Bangladesh on Friday. At the interval, Gayle had reached 61 with Brathwaite on 40 after 29 less-than-challenging overs from the tourists on what appears to be a placid pitch.

Mushfiqur Rahim's decision to put the home side in after winning the toss was based on the anticipation of assistance for the faster bowlers on a surface that would have had some additional moisture due to persistent rainfall on the island of St Vincent in the days leading up to the Test. However, Al-Amin Hossain and Rubel Hossain failed to have any impact while off-spinner Mahmudullah proved unusually expensive when he was brought on within the first half an hour in an attempt to stem the free-scoring openers.

Bangladesh's debutant pair of spinners Shuvagata Hom and Taijul Islam were also given opportunities to make an impact, but without success, the only respite for the fielding side being a ten-minute break in play as a light shower swept across the ground. Gayle, who has become just the third West Indian - after Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes - to amass 7,000 Test runs as an opening batsman, started watchfully before stepping up a few gears, striking ten fours and one six, which took him to the half-century mark in the minutes before lunch.

In stark contrast, Brathwaite displayed his trademark obduracy throughout the session, only occasionally venturing on to the attack with shots that brought him four boundaries. West Indies pulled a bit of a surprise in their selection decisions by choosing to omit all-rounder Jason Holder, despite the gangling fast-medium bowler and useful lower-order player scoring a half-century on his debut against New Zealand in his native Barbados in June. Shane Shillingford was also left out of the final XI, with duties as frontline spinner resting on the shoulders of Sulieman Benn once again.



C Gayle    61

K Brathwaite    40

To bat: K Edwards, D Bravo, S Chanderpaul, J Blackwood, D Ramdin (cap), J Taylor, K Roach, S Benn, S Gabriel

EXTRAS: (b1, nb1)    2

TOTAL: (29 overs, 0 wickets)    103

BOWLING: Al-Amin Hossain 9-5-22-0, Rubel Hossain 8-0-29-0, Mahmudullah 2-0-15-0, Shuvagata Hom 2-0-11-0, Taijul Islam 8-2-25-0.

BANGLADESH - Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Shamsur Rahman, Mominul Haque, Mushfiqur Rahim (cap), Mahmudullah, Nasir Hossain, Shuvagata Hom, Rubel Hossain, Taijul Islam, Al-Amin Hossain

UMPIRES: Marais Erasmus (RSA), Richard Illingworth (ENG)

TV UMPIRE: Steve Davis (AUS)

MATCH REFEREE: Roshan Mahanama (SRI)