The first Test at Chattogram was all about, which batted poorer……

More than being a test of skills, the five-day format is all about conquering the demons of the mind. If a player attunes himself and plays the patient game even in the most hostile conditions, more often than not, he will taste success. But switching the mind here is key – if he fails to, even the most ordinary bowler will seem lethal and tough tracks will seem unplayable.

That is exactly what panned out in the first Test match between Bangladesh and West Indies that was held at Chattogram. On a track that did turn from the first day, it required the batsmen from both sides to hold their end up, whilst taking their time to settle down. It was the kind of pitch where a cricketer just needed to while away his time, get accustomed to the slowness and tackle each delivery as it came. While the batsmen from both sides were relatively successful in the first innings – Bangladesh managed 324 while Windies made 246 – it was the second innings where all went haywire.

With a lead of 78, the Bangla batters were in a strong position to bat Windies out of the game, but a 4-wicket haul by Devendra Bishoo drastically threw the game open. With Roston Chase and Jomel Warrican chipping in as well, it was evident that spin and how a player tackled spin would go a long way in the outcome. With first innings hero Shannon Gabriel bowling just 3 overs in the third innings, it was up to the home side to manage the slower bowlers – an art, we assumed, they would have perfected.

Bangladesh lose the plot to Bishoo

That it would be an interesting battle was evident as early as the second over, when Imrul Kayes got ready to face Warrican in the second over instead of Gabriel. It only took five deliveries for him to make an impact, as he knocked over the Bangla opener with a tossed up ball that was a tad bit outside off. As it dipped late, Kayes went after it and played it on a wrong line. With a huge gap between bat and pad, a ball that should have been defended away instead saw the death knell of the batter and thereon, it was just the start of the collapse.

As he continued cramping up the batsmen up for room, Chase at the other end sent back Soumya Sarkar, who became the victim of a brilliant low catch by Kraigg Brathwaite, after the ball had spun sharply away. However, more than the track claiming this wicket, it was Sarkar’s attempt to go for a drive that cost him. Instead of defending, a harsh stroke was offered as Bangla were 2 down for 13.

That runs were there for the taking if a player kept a positive approach was once again evident as Mohammad Mithun got a four after he made room and aggressively drilled a flighted and overpitched delivery towards the boundary. However, in an attempt to play positive cricket, Mominul started going for everything that came his way – he barely survived as he played a drive off a sharply turning delivery – which was not the way one needed to bat on the wicket. Eventually, he was dismissed playing across the line to Chase.

Mushfiqur Rahim loses his stumps to a corker from Shannon Gabriel, Bangladesh v West Indies, 1st Test, Chattogram, 2018. Image Courtesy: ESPNcricino

Shakib Al Hasan was the next victim, as he went low for a slog-sweep and his reaction summed up Bangladesh’s efforts. He realized he had made a mistake, attempting a risky shot. He was aware that he would have been better playing it straight and his dismissal forced the side to bat nervously. Rahim reverse-swept deliveries, he played forward while he should have stayed back, got caught in the crease, cut Bishoo even when the shot was not there and was bowled while attempting a shot that was just not present.

In between Rahim’s baffling batting, Mithun had been sent back after he was caught in a terrible position against a delivery that skidded from length. Instead of coming forward, he stayed in his crease, which once again showed how poor the Bangla batters were.

Mahmudullah was sent back by Bishoo after he attempted an unnecessary shot as well – a ball that bounced and spun away was paddled by the batter, and with the lower order not able to stand in there, Bangladesh were skittled out for 125.

West Indies commit hara-kiri

Though Windies started off cautiously, they were soon down to mindless batting as well – with Powell running down the track and looking to smash a quick and outside off yorker by Shakib. Hope too was caught in two minds after coming on the front foot to a ball that pitched on off but one that straightened off the deck as he was caught by the keeper. Skipper Brathwaite and Chase both misjudged the length in the same over bowled by Taijul Islam – the former falling as he couldn’t get down a tossed up ball in time, while the latter stayed back in his crease when he should have looked to play it off his front foot.

4 dismissals, all caused by the batsmen’s confusion, as Windies succumbed to 11 for 4.

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Shimron Hetmyer – who smashed 27 in 19 deliveries – was out attempting a wide shot and Dowrich, dismissed LBW to a ball that turned around his backfoot defence, should ideally have played it forward. Once Roach was sent back playing for a spin that was non-existent, it was all curtains.


Hence, even with the track deteriorating, it was not as unplayable as the scorecard suggests. Yes, the match lasted just over seven sessions, but it was more to do with dazed batting and confused shots from both sides, and if Windies and Bangla need to better their game, they have to learn the art of playing a delivery according to its merit.

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