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West Indies vs Bangladesh: Past battles

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West_Indies_Bangladesh_Test_CricketSince their first meeting in whites nearly 16 years ago, the West Indies (currently ranked ninth in the Test rankings) and Bangladesh (currently ranked eighth) have faced each other in 12 Test matches, with the Windies winning eight and losing two. As the Tigers begin their fourth Test series in the Caribbean, with the first of two Tests recently concluded at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, Antigua, here is a look back at the brief Test history between the two teams.

Lawson runs riot (2002-03)

The West Indies were looking to make amends after their 2-0 defeat in a three-Test series in India a month earlier, and a series against greenhorns Bangladesh, who were far from finding their feet in Test cricket, presented them with the perfect opportunity to get back to winning ways. Left-arm paceman Pedro Collins (5/26) bowled Hannan Sarkar off the first ball of the first Test at Dhaka’s Bangabandhu Stadium, which set the tone for a crushing West Indian victory.

Bangladesh were rolled over for 139, to which the West Indies replied with a daunting 536. Ramnaresh Sarwan (119) scored his first Test ton, while Marlon Samuels and wicketkeeper Ridley Jacobs, who was captaining the visitors in this series in place of the injured Carl Hooper, made 91 each. In the final session on the third day, Bangladesh had reached 80/3 in their second innings, when 20-year-old Jermaine Lawson, playing in his third Test, decided to wreak havoc.

The Jamaican fast bowler produced one of the most remarkable spells in Test cricket, grabbing six wickets in 15 balls without conceding a run. He ended with a scarcely believable return of 6/3, the most economical six-wicket haul in Test history, as the hosts were demolished for 87 and trounced by an innings and 310 runs. Bangladesh did better in the second Test at Chittagong, bowling the West Indies out for 296. But they could manage only 194 and 212, and lost by seven wickets.

Bangladesh’s maiden Caribbean sojourn (2004)

Coming into this series, Bangladesh’s Test record read 26 defeats and two draws - both of which were escapes thanks to rain. Taking that into account, their performance in their first Test in the Caribbean, at Gros Islet, was laudable. Centuries from captain Habibul Bashar (113) and Mohammad Rafique (111) carried Bangladesh to 416, then their highest Test total. The West Indian reply revolved around Chris Gayle’s 141, but the last five wickets fell for only 40 runs.

Bangladesh gained a rare lead of 64, but seemed to have squandered their position after sliding to 94/6 at stumps on the fourth day. However, Khaled Mashud struck 113* to enable Bangladesh’s first declaration at 271/9 and ensure the safety of a draw. The second Test at Kingston saw Sarwan plunder 261 as the West Indies romped home by an innings and 99 runs. Intriguingly, as was the case in Dhaka in 2002-03, Collins dismissed Sarkar off the first ball of both these Tests.

A historic first for the Tigers (2009)

Bangladesh recorded their first (and till date, only) overseas series triumph, albeit against a West Indian squad that was shorn of 13 first-choice players owing to a contract dispute with the West Indies Cricket Board. As a result, the West Indies fielded seven debutants in the first Test at Arnos Vale. Yet, they secured a handy lead of 69 after restricting Bangladesh to 238, only to lose their way in the second innings, as Tamim Iqbal (128) helped set the West Indies a target of 277.

The off-spin of debutant Mahmudullah (5/51) and left-arm spin of Shakib Al Hasan (3/39) proved too much for the hosts, who went down by 95 runs to give Bangladesh their second Test win in 60 attempts. Shakib replaced an injured Mashrafe Mortaza as captain for the second Test at St. George’s, and led from the front to complete the series win. Promising pacer Kemar Roach took 6/48 after the West Indies were bowled out for 237, handing his team a small five-run lead.

Once again, Bangladesh turned the tables in the second innings. The West Indies were all out for 209 early on the fourth day, with Shakib bagging 5/70, leaving the visitors with plenty of time to achieve a target of 215. Darren Sammy (5/55) reduced the score to 67/4, but Raqibul Hasan (65) and Shakib (96*) combined for a fifth-wicket stand worth 106. It was Shakib who hit the winning boundary off Roach to seal a series-clinching four-wicket victory with a day to spare.

A first overseas win in eight years (2011-12)

The West Indies won their first overseas Test series since 2003-04. Bangladesh had the better of a rain-affected draw in the first Test at Chittagong, but the West Indies bounced back with a 229-run win at Mirpur. Kirk Edwards’ 121 drove the first innings to 355, before pacer Fidel Edwards’ 5/63 earned a 124-run lead. Darren Bravo (195) cemented the position in the second innings, and a target of 508 proved way beyond reach for the hosts, thanks to leggie Devendra Bishoo’s 5/90.

Individual brilliance not enough for Bangladesh (2012-13)

A handful of noteworthy individual performances were not enough to prevent a 2-0 defeat for Bangladesh. The first Test at Mirpur saw off-spinner Sohag Gazi become the first debutant slow bowler to take the new ball since English leg-spinner Douglas Carr against Australia at the Oval back in 1909. Facing Gazi was Gayle, who duly dispatched the first delivery for six, becoming the first man to hit a six off the first ball of a Test. Gazi soon had Gayle as his first Test victim.

The West Indies proceeded to declare at 527/4, with Shivnarine Chanderpaul (203*), Denesh Ramdin (126*) and Kieran Powell (117) all cashing in. Bangladesh responded determinedly, as five batsmen, including top-scorer Naeem Islam (108) crossed 60. They finished with 556, a new record for their highest Test total, and then induced a West Indian collapse from 209/1 to 273 in the second innings. Powell (110) scored another century, while Gazi starred with a haul of 6/74.

Bangladesh thus needed 245 in two and a half sessions, but Barbadian speedster Tino Best (5/24) rattled their batting to give the Windies victory by 77 runs. The second Test, the first to be played at Khulna, featured an incredible 113 from debutant number ten Abul Hasan, which took Bangladesh to 387. A career-best 260 from Marlon Samuels powered the West Indies to 648/9, before Best (6/40) condemned the Tigers to 287, paving the way for a facile ten-wicket win.  

Windies stamp their authority (2014)

Facing Bangladesh at home for the first time since the embarrassing reversal in 2009, the West Indies thoroughly dominated the opposition. Kraigg Brathwaite stole the show in the first Test at Arnos Vale, scoring 212 in the West Indies’ first-innings total of 484/7. Bangladesh faltered against the left-arm spin of Sulieman Benn (5/39) and were forced to follow on 302 in arrears. They improved to 314 in the second innings, but it was too late to prevent a ten-wicket drubbing.

The second Test at Gros Islet was the West Indies’ 500th. The hosts marked the occasion with another big win, this time by 296 runs. The evergreen Chanderpaul, at the age of 40, top-scored in both innings and remained unbeaten, scoring 84* and 101* in his team’s totals of 380 and 269/4. In between, Bangladesh had no answer to the pace and bounce of Roach (5/42) and were bowled out for 161. Benn (5/72) took over in the second innings, as the Tigers crumbled for 192.

 

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Rustom Deboo is a cricket aficionado and freelance writer from Mumbai. He is an ardent devotee of T...

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