Bangladesh not only completed a series win in the ODIs against West Indies, this was also the first time they have won both the Test and the ODI series against a major (non-Zimbabwe) touring side…..
It should have taken place a long time ago. With its cutting-edge facilities and excellent infrastructure, not to mention the scenic surroundings and a stadium complete with a green hill, Sylhet should have hosted its first ever One Day International way earlier.
However, the acknowledgement came late. The venue was awarded its first ever Test match in November this year. Bangladesh lost to Zimbabwe in what proved to be a humiliating affair for the home side. But the stadium got top rating from match-referee Ranjan Madugalle. Besides, with a gallery which showcased the history of Bangladesh cricket through tasteful art-work, the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium carved a rare niche among the venues of the subcontinent.
Thus, the first One Day International that was played on Friday was a logical end to the journey of the venue in its quest for a permanent place in the annals of the game.
The West Indians will be playing a T20I as well, on the 17th of December. However, seven T20Is have already been played in the stadium earlier.
This time the end came with a lot to cheer for the home side. The fans who had thronged to the ground enjoyed the sight of their heroes winning the game and the series. The fare on offer, although lacking in the competitive element, would not have disappointed too many Bangladeshi supporters, even the ones who had turned up to watch good cricket.
Not only did they win and do so in emphatic style, but there was also much to enjoy during the day’s cricket. Mehidy Hasan Miraz dipped his off-breaks to tie the West Indian batsmen into knots of discomfort, ending with spectacular figures of 10-1-29-4. And all through, the one ray of Caribbean promise, Shai Hope, battled the conditions and the bowling to remain undefeated on 108 fighting runs. The way he launched Shakib Al Hasan over the sightscreen to bring up his hundred was special indeed.
Liton Das then provided a spark of excitement with some flourishing drives, although his efforts were short-lived. After that Soumya Sarkar, with five towering sixes, provided the exact spectacle that people had turned up to watch. The first one was a skier which could have been caught, but the next four cleared the boundary by some distance.
Tamim Iqbal gave an excellent demonstration of experience-tinged sensible batting. And at the end, Mushfiqur Rahim enjoyed himself out in the middle, especially with that uppercut six that must have gladdened many a heart.
Thus, Bangladesh not only completed a series win in the ODIs against West Indies, this was also the first time they have won both the Test and the ODI series against a major (non-Zimbabwe) touring side.
It was indeed a happy chance that the long-overdue achievement coincides with the long-overdue first ODI at Sylhet. The venue thus far had much to cheer for from the point of view of facilities, but little in terms of the home team’s record at the ground. But now a major milestone has been reached there as well.
A day to rejoice all around.