Bangladesh have a lot of positives to take
The two Test matches between West Indies and Bangladesh were neglected by major percentage of audiences because of the other high-profile Test matches going on around the world. But both these Test matches were a treat to watch. Although the Caribbean side swept the series, it was not one-sided at all. Bangladesh gave their best but the consistency of the West Indian team was just too much for them. Both the teams have positives to take back from the Test series.
Let us start with the first Test match and the winning team. The West Indies, after winning the World T20, wanted to showcase their ability in the longer format of the game and started on a high in the first Test. Chris Gayle came back to the Test format by hitting a record-creating six off the first ball of the first Test and his partner Kieran Powell, who is playing his 12th Test match, started on a good note and became the first West Indian player to score two centuries in the same Test match after Brian Lara did so 11 years ago, and is the 8th West Indian to achieve this. His first innings’ century was a mixture of aggression and composure while the innings in the second showed his character as a batsman as the wicket was tough and the ball turned.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul who has been the best batsman of the West Indian team for the past few years proved himself again with a calm and composed double century, and played a crucial role in the West Indies building a good score in the first innings with the partnership between Powell and Ramdin. Ramdin, who has proved himself a good wicketkeeper, wanted to prove himself as a good batsman, and he did it in this series with a fast and aggressive 100 in the first innings.
Sammy must have taken a tough decision to play Tino Best ahead of Edwards as Best was averaging 40+ and the gamble paid off, Best taking a 5-wicket haul: the first of his Test career, and played the main role in winning the first Test.
If we talk about the positives of Bangladesh, debutant Gazi who was hit for a six off the first ball of the first Test came back strongly by taking three wickets in the first innings and six in the second, which gave them chance to win the Test match. Coming to the batting, Bangladesh opener, Tamil Iqbal started the innings very aggressively and gave a great start to the innings which made them think of a first innings lead. Naeem Islam playing his first Test match showed a lot of composure in building the innings and played an important role in the partnership with Tamim and Shakib. Shakib who is the No.1 allrounder in the ICC rankings played his role well by batting aggressively and played his part in the bowling too.
The partnership between the young Nasir Hussain and vice-captain Muhmadullah made them cross the mammoth total posted by West Indies. In short, almost every Bangladesh batsman played his part in crossing the total but none were able to convert it into a century, except for Nasir Hussain who came the closest – he got out on 96.
With first Test being a thriller, both the teams were confident entering the second Test. Bangladeshi skipper Rahim, after winning the toss elected to bat. West Indies started very well as Bangladesh were half-the-side-down before the score reached the 100-run mark and West Indies were hoping to wind up the innings, but Abul Hasan playing his first Test batting at No.10 and became the second cricketer to score a century on debut at No.10 in 135 years of cricket with the help of his vice-captain Mahmadullah Riyad. By the effort of this youngster, Bangladesh put up a decent total on the board.
West Indies started the innings badly as they lost the wickets of Gayle and Powell early, but Samuels and Bravo didn’t give the Bangladeshi bowlers any chances and made sure that West Indies got the first innings total. In the process, both the batsmen happened to score their centuries while Samuels played a big knock of 260, partnering Chanderpaul after the wicket of Bravo fell, and this pair made sure the lead crossed the 200-run mark. After Chanderpaul scored 150, West Indies declared the innings at 648/8. The pick of the bowlers for the Bangladesh team had to be Shakib, who took 4 wickets and became the 2nd Bangladesh bowler to pick 100 Test wickets.
Bangladesh again started very badly in the second innings as they were 5 down with just 82 on the board, but the partnership between Shakib and Nasir Hussain made sure the loss was not by an innings. Nasir Hussain had tried his best, but failed again to score his maiden hundred as he got out to a brilliant ball by Best. The pick of the bowlers was Tino Best who had taken his second five-wicket haul in the last two Test matches. The West Indies came on to bat chasing 30 runs and they finished the game in 4.4 overs.
The Bangladesh team have had a lot of positives in this Test series even though they lost. All the debutants have played very well for them: two of them scored centuries, while the others have taken 12 wickets in the series. The concern for them however, will be in their pace-bowling department, who bowled too short and on the pads throughout the series.