It looked as if it would be one-way traffic: West Indies swept both Tests, and the two T20s that escaped the weather, but Bangladesh bounced back to win all three 50-over internationals. It was their second successive ODI series victory in the Caribbean, after a 2-1 win in July 2018. The leitmotifs of the tour were poor pitches and batting – but good bowling. West Indies hardly put a foot wrong in the Tests, with Kraigg Brathwaite captaining shrewdly, and his fellow Barbadian Kyle Mayers continuing to improve. Mayers, who had inspired a famous win in Chittagong with a double-century on Test debut in February 2021, showed his liking for Bangladeshi bowling with his second Test hundred. He also took six cheap wickets, mostly at important moments.
The Tests gave West Indies momentum as the T20 series started. They were on top in the first match in Dominica when rain spoiled things, but nothing could stop them in the second. The teams flew to Guyana for the third, which was another straightforward victory, with five sixes each for Mayers and white-ball skipper Nicholas Pooran, who hit a scintillating 74 not out.
Bangladesh looked outclassed before the 50-over matches, especially when Shakib Al Hasan decided to take time off to be with his family, apparently after confirming the matches did not count for ICC Super League points. The visitors were already without the experienced wicketkeeper/batsman Mushfiqur Rahim, who missed the whole trip to make hajj in Saudi Arabia, and injured seamers Mohammad Saifuddin and Yasir Ali. However, helped by poor pitches and luck at the toss, Bangladesh’s 50-over captain Tamim Iqbal rallied his side and turned their fortunes around: they won 3–0. Tamim himself scored 117 runs, while off-spinner Mehedi Hasan took seven wickets in the first two games, and slow left-armer Taijul Islam five in the last.
Put in each time on the slow, turning tracks in which Providence seems to specialise, West Indies could not pass 178. It meant the delighted Bangladeshis jetted off with some silverware, while West Indies’ poor ODI run continued – hardly ideal preparation before the arrival of a strong Indian line-up.
Bangladesh touring party: Shakib Al Hasan (T/20 – captain), Afif Hossain (50/20), Anamul Haque (T/50/20), Ebadat Hossain (T/50), Khaled Ahmed (T), Liton Das (T/50/20), Mahmudul Hasan (T), Mahmudullah (50/20), Mehedi Hasan (20), Mehedi Hasan snr (T/50), Mominul Haque (T), Mosaddek Hossain (T/50/20), Munim Shahriar (20), Mustafizur Rahman (T/50/20), Nasum Ahmed (50/20), Nazmul Hossain (T/50), Nurul Hasan (T/50/20), Rejaur Rahman (T), Shahidul Islam (20), Shoriful Islam (T/50/20), Taijul Islam (T/50), Tamim Iqbal (T/50), Taskin Ahmed (50/20), Yasir Ali (T). Coach: RC Domingo.
Tamim Iqbal captained in the ODIs, Mahmudullah in the T20s. Yasir Ali was originally named in all the squads, but injured his back before the First Test, and played no further part in the tour; he was replaced in the Test party by Anamul Haque. Mohammad Saifuddin was chosen for both white-ball squads, but failed to recover from a back injury; he was replaced by Ebadat Hossain (50) and Taskin Ahmed (20). Shakib Al Hasan withdrew from the ODI squad.
First Test at North Sound, Antigua, June 16-19, 2022: West Indies won by seven wickets
West Indies 12pts. Toss: West Indies. Debut: G Motie.
This match was all but decided on the first morning, when Bangladesh slumped to 45-6 on a pitch offering pace and bounce. Brathwaite backed up his decision to bowl with an adhesive innings, and West Indies needed only six overs on the fourth day to complete a comfortable win.
The early inroads were made by Roach, a month short of his 34th birthday but still sharp enough to cause problems, despite a hamstring strain having cut short a stint with Surrey. He found Mahmudul Hasan’s edge with his second ball, and castled Nazmul Hossain with his seventh; Roach finished the game with seven wickets, and the match award. Mominul Haque also found the slip cordon, and collected the third duck of the innings. Then, in the space of seven balls, Tamim Iqbal was strangled down leg by Joseph, and the seemingly unthreatening Mayers began with a double-wicket maiden.
Shakib Al Hasan, the captain, stood on the burning deck to make 51 – he hit seven boundaries, more than the rest of the side put together – but no one else could hang around: the scorecard looked as if someone had been let loose with a hole punch, as the innings subsided for 103 half an hour after lunch. Amid repeated West Indian high fives, there were six ducks as Bangladesh equalled the Test record for the second match running.
The West Indian openers avoided early problems, calmly putting on 44 in 25 overs, before Campbell inside-edged Mustafizur Rahman into his stumps. By the close, the home side were only eight behind, and they cemented their advantage on a cagey second day, despite disciplined bowling. Brathwaite showed remarkable concentration to survive for 400 minutes in all, finally missing a straight one from seamer Khaled Ahmed on 94. Blackwood reined in his attacking instincts to make 63 in 213 minutes and, although off-spinner Mehedi Hasan took three quick wickets, a late flourish from Guyanese debutant Gudakesh Motie extended the lead to 162.
Bangladesh started better in their second innings, before two wickets late on the second day. Next morning, they collapsed once more, again losing two to Mayers, which left them in danger of an innings defeat at 109-6. The seventh-wicket pair prevented that with a counter-attacking stand of 123 – Shakib faced 99 balls for his 63, while Nurul Hasan hit 11 fours – but Roach extracted both with the second new ball, to take for 53.
West Indies needed only 84, but had some anxious moments: Brathwaite and Reifer fell in Khaled’s first over, and Bonner soon followed to make it 9-3. Campbell and Blackwood stopped the rot, reaching the close without further damage. Only 35 more were needed by then, and they came quickly, Campbell ending the match with a six off Nazmul Hossain, shortly after reaching his first Test fifty for 18 months. “That first session killed the match for us,” admitted Shakib.
Player of the Match: KAJ Roach.
First Test at Gros Islet, St Lucia, June 24-27, 2022: West Indies won by 10 wickets
West Indies 12pts. Toss: West Indies. Debut: A Phillip.
West Indies completed a 2–0 win after Bangladesh’s batsmen again struggled to subdue the seamers. Their own bowlers had more trouble with Mayers, who revived memories of his stunning debut double-century against Bangladesh 16 months earlier by hitting a second Test hundred. His 146 accounted for much of West Indies’ first-innings lead, which proved nearly enough when Bangladesh misfired again.
The hosts had sniffed blood when Brathwaite sent the visitors in on the fastest pitch in the Caribbean, but the first wicket did not arrive until the 12th over, when Mahmudul Hasan was bowled by the second ball from debutant Anderson Phillip, a rangy fast bowler from Trinidad. Tamim Iqbal, Nazmul Hossain and Liton Das played responsibly for nearly two hours, while Anamul Haque – in his first Test for nearly eight years after replacing Mominul Haque – made a breezy 23. But with Shakib Al Hasan falling cheaply to the lively Seales, no one could manage the big innings required, and it was left to tail-enders Ebadat Hossain and Shoriful Islam to raise the total to 234. The wickets were shared around, with Mayers again extracting two. Ebadat, who had made only 12 runs in his 26 Test innings, remained triumphantly unbeaten with 21.
The West Indian openers’ response was a partnership of 100 in 26 overs. Brathwaite stepped up a gear from the first Test, while Campbell fell just short of another half-century early on the second day. A slide to 132-4 was arrested by vice-captain Blackwood and Mayers, who did the lion’s share of the scoring in a stand of 116, looking to clobber anything off line or short of a length. Blackwood was eventually trapped by Mehedi Hasan, but Mayers roared on, reaching three figures during a stand of 96 with Da Silva. By the time Mayers miscued to mid-on, West Indies were firmly in charge.
The irrepressible Roach then struck twice in his first four overs; his first victim, Tamim, made him the sixth West Indian to reach 250 Test wickets. He soon removed Anamul as well – umpire Joel Wilson gave the lbw decision while running off the ground to dodge a shower – and from there it was a matter of time. Nazmul stuck at it for more than two hours, and wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan added an enterprising unbeaten 60 from 50 balls, with two sixes off the pacemen. The innings was quickly wrapped up: Seales took two in an over, and last man Khaled Ahmed was run out.
Brathwaite and Campbell needed only 17 balls to knock off the tiny target. Unsurprisingly, Mayers received the plaudits: “He is special – a match-winner,” said Brathwaite. West Indies’ coach, Phil Simmons, also praised the contribution made by Roach: “He is helping the other fast bowlers to mature quicker. He has taken his role as the senior pro very seriously – his influence has been massive.”
Player of the Match: KR Mayers.
Player of the Series: KR Mayers.
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