“I feel coaches around the world should preserve the video of the Bangladesh innings to demonstrate the young and upcoming cricketers that as a batsman what one shouldn’t do on a seaming track”
Just a few days back, on this same platform, this author wrote a piece, explaining the challenges lie ahead of Bangladesh batting against the rejuvenated Windies seam attack. In that article, it was argued that as Bangladesh have a settled and experienced top seven, their batting is actually capable of holding the fort.
Well, it took just 112 balls to change my opinion, drastically.
In Antigua, after losing the toss and batting first on a green track, which also had a little bit of moisture, the entire Bangladesh innings could not even last a session as they were bowled out in 18.4 overs, for the lowest total in Test matches – 43. And the destroyer in chief was Kemar Roach, who just required 29 deliveries with the new ball to remove the five top batsmen in the team.
Yes, there was pace, bounce and movement on offer. But by no means, it was a 43 all-out wicket. This batting disaster is a clear case of lack of application and skillset from the batters as well as some accurate seam bowling by Windies pacers, especially Roach. Also one needs to credit the Windies catching behind the stumps.
When Bangladesh openers – Tamim Iqbal and Liton Das – went into the crease, they knew they were up against a stiff challenge as the conditions were favouring the bowlers. For the Bangladesh top-order, surviving the new ball was the first and foremost requirement.
In the first 29 balls of the innings, the openers were steady. Both were extra cautious in their approach. However, after a steady 10-run opening stand – the highest of Bangladesh’s innings, Roach opened the floodgates, when got rid of Tamim, caught behind. The ball pitched in the good length, angling in from wide of the crease and then seams away just enough to find the outside edge. Tamim couldn’t stop himself from pocking at it. A classic left-hander’s dismissal on a seaming wicket, here it is harsh to entirely blame the batsman.
In his next over Roach removed, Mominul Haq, who tried to drive a ball away from his body and offered a simple catch to Shai Hope at gully. It was a result of the inexperience of the batsman. On a green wicket, the bowler invited a drive and he fell into the trap so easily. In the subcontinent, one may get away with these shots but not in this part of the world.
Next batsman to bite the dust was Mushfiqur Rahim, Bangladesh’s most experienced Test cricketer. He was trapped leg before by an incoming delivery. Early in his innings, Mushfiqur is a leg before candidate and Roach explored that possibility brilliantly. Even a review couldn’t help him get away.
It was that particular over, Roach also got rid of Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah, despite hurting his calf muscle.
Like Tamim and Mominul, the Bangladesh captain also had no answer to Roach’s immaculate line and length against the left-handers. A good length ball, seaming away enforced an edge off Shakib’s bat. With an angled bat, he was in no position to survive that delivery. It seemed like almost the batsman was giving catching practice to the slip cordon. One can certainly expect a better technique from someone who has played 51 Test matches as a premier batsman in the side.
Next ball, Mahmudullah got a jaffa! Good length ball, angling in from wide of the crease, then straightened away. The batsman was unlucky to nick it behind.
Unfortunately, Roach did not get a hat-trick and he had to go out of the ground to nurse calf. His figures read, 5-0-8-5.
However, his exit didn’t bring any respite for the clueless Bangladeshis as Miguel Cummins and Jason Holder took 9.4 overs more to remove the rest five scalps.
No Bangladesh batsmen could reach double figures apart from Liton, who was picked in the team as an opener ahead of Imrul Kayes, showed temperament and technique, which is required to play in such kinds of tracks. The right-hander was playing the ball as close to the body as possible and using the soft hands to negate the bounce. Yes, there were those occasional lapses in concentration, but overall he by far looked the most technically sound Bangladeshi batsman during their short innings.
Ultimately, batting at 25, Liton perished while going for runs as he was losing partners at the other end.
I feel coaches around the world should preserve the video of the Bangladesh innings to demonstrate the young and upcoming cricketers that as a batsman what one shouldn’t do on a seaming track.
Let’s hope in the next innings Bangladesh batsmen show more willingness to stay at the crease.