Bangladesh crash to their lowest total after Roach’s five

Kemar Roach celebrates a wicket (AFP)


Fast bowler Kemar Roach‘s blistering five-wicket haul dismissed Bangladesh for 43 – their lowest total in Test cricket – and helped West Indies tighten their grip on the Antigua Test. The hosts went to stumps at 201 for 2, with a lead of 158.

After being put into bat on a well-grassed pitch, Bangladesh could not even last the first session. Their 43 all out was the lowest total in Test cricket in 44 years and the second-shortest first innings.

In response, West Indies’ openers showed good application and added 113 for the first wicket. Kraigg Brathwaite was at his dogged best, making an unbeaten 88 off 204 balls, while Devon Smith provided able support with a fifty of his own – 58 off 123 balls. After he became Abu Jayed’s maiden Test wicket, Kieran Powell lifted the scoring rate with 48 off 65 balls.

But the day belonged to Roach. Backed up by Shannon Gabriel who was fresh from a 20-wicket series against Sri Lanka, the new-ball pair put Tamim Iqbal and Liton Das under early pressure with a clever mix of full and short deliveries, beating their inside and outside edges repeatedly with the new ball.

Tamim fell when he was squared up by a Roach delivery that held its line and found the outside edge. Mominul Haque then dangled his bat at a delivery that was moving away from him, only to be caught at gully.

Roach, who by now was struggling with a knee injury, wasn’t done yet. He removed Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah in a space of four deliveries in his fifth over. Nurul Hasan somehow managed to avert the hat-trick. His 5 for 8 in five overs broke Bangladesh’s spine and possibly ruined their West Indies tour as early as the first hour of the first Test. The following 40 minutes saw Miguel Cummins and captain Jason Holder taking the remaining five wickets.

If Bangladesh’s hare-brained approach was the highlight of the day’s first session, the post-lunch session belonged to Kraigg Brathwaite and Devon Smith, who patiently built the West Indies’ lead.

They first moved to 90 for no loss in 32 overs at the tea and soon brought up their fifties. Bangladesh were also guilty of squandering a chance. Nurul Hasan, playing his first Test since January 2017 and given the designated wicketkeeper’s job ahead of Mushfiqur Rahim and Liton Das, dropped a regulation catch off Smith’s edge when he was on 34.

Nurul made up in the third session when he held Smith’s catch to give debutant Abu Jayed his maiden Test wicket. It came the ball after Brathwaite had reached his fifty, for which he took 121 balls.

Powell’s arrival then raised the tempo. His first four was a powerful cut off Mehidy Hasan before he hit fours off Jayed and Rubel. He was also adept against Mehidy Hasan’s offbreaks.

But there were some lapses in concentration as well. In the final hour, Brathwaite and Powell were involved a mix-up that could have had the latter in trouble. Mushfiqur also dropped Brathwaite at mid-on, on 78. Mahmudullah, eventually, broke the 81-run second wicket stand when Liton took a fine catch at slip to dismiss Powell. Devendra Bishoo, the nightwatchman, and Brathwaite then saw West Indies through to stumps.

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