Career-best spell from McAllister puts Windies 'A' in the lead

SYLHET, Bangladesh (CMC) – Pace bowling prospect Jair McAllister defied half-centuries from Saif Hassan and Jaker Ali to end with career-best figures and enable West Indies "A" to take a healthy first innings lead against hosts Bangladesh "A" in the first "Test" on Thursday.

The 26-year-old Barbados Pride pacer bagged five for 60 from 15 overs, and the Bangladeshis were bowled out for 264 in their first innings about half-hour before the rescheduled close on the third day of the four-day, first-class match, conceding a lead of 163.

McAllister, playing in only his seventh first-class match in only his first season at that level, disregarded the docile nature of the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium pitch and worked over the home team's batting with aggression, good control, and movement to put his side in position to fight for a win on the final day.

The Caribbean side met resistance along the way from Saif, whose 95 at better than a run-a-ball, was the top score; Ali supported with 64 not out, Bangladesh "A" captain Afif Hossain made 45, and opener Zakir Khan got 30.

West Indies "A" enforced the follow on, and Zakir, not out on nought, and fellow opener Shadman Islam, not out on five, returned later, batted through two overs before stumps were drawn, and took the home team to five without loss in their second innings.

This all unfolded after the visitors briefly extended their first innings at the start of the day and declared on 427 for seven, after their captain Joshua Da Silva fell to off-spinner Nayeem Hasan for 77, leaving Kevin Sinclair not out on 53.

West Indies "A" got an early breakthrough when Bangladesh "A" started their reply, and Pride and Test left-arm pacer Raymon Reifer got Shadman caught at third slip for three in his fourth over, but enterprising batting from Saif and Zakir enabled the hosts to reach 53 for one at lunch.

Akeem Jordan, another Pride pacer, got Khan caught behind for 30 in the second over after the interval, and McAllister started to make his presence felt in the next over when he got Test batsman Mahmudul Hasan Joy caught at second slip for two, and the hosts stumbled to 68 for three.

For the next hour, West Indies "A" came under siege when Afif came to the crease and with Saif dictated terms to put on 101 for the fourth wicket in a hurry.

When Da Silva introduced Gudakesh Motie for the first time, Afif greeted the Test left-arm spinner with aggression, slamming three fours and one six from an expensive first over.

Da Silva persisted with Motie, and Afif and Saif each took a six off an expensive third over from the Guyana Harpy Eagles spinner that cost 13 in a period where the scoring rate was better than seven runs an over.

Reifer ended the fun when he got Afif caught at cover off the leading edge, and this precipitated a good spell for the Caribbean side, and they reduced Bangladesh "A" to 190 for six at tea.

Da Silva brought back McAllister for another burst before the break, and the pacer held a return catch to dismiss Saif five short of an eighth first-class hundred in an innings that lasted a little over two hours and included 14 fours and two sixes from only 71 balls.

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