Bangladesh fall 17 short as West Indies seal 2-0 series win
SUMMARY: West Indies 409 (Da Silva 92, Bonner 90, Jayed 4-98) and 117 (Bonner 38, Islam 4-36) beat Bangladesh 296 (Das 71, Cornwall 5-74) and 213 (Iqbal 50, Miraz 31, Cornwall 4-105) by 17 runs
A total of 17 wickets fell across two innings, Tamim Iqbal made a stroke-filled 44-ball half-century, and West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite turned out to be one of the unlikely bowling heroes on a day dominated by spinners, as West Indies held on for a 17-run win to seal the series 2-0.
However, that West Indies were able to wrest control of a middling 231-run chase for Bangladesh was largely down to the superb exploiting of the turn and bounce on a deteriorating Dhaka pitch by Rahkeem Cornwall, who led the charge as West Indies claimed the Test in an extended final session, wrapping up their first overseas series win since 2017.
The win was sealed almost 35 minutes past the scheduled close of play, with Jomel Warrican spinning one sharply from a length outside off as Mehidy Hasan Miraz, who had started a late attack when he was running out of partners, shaped to defend. The edge was travelling low to the right of Cornwall – who else – and the big man dived to his right to pluck out a catch, sparking off big celebrations in the away camp.
Iqbal had raised visions of a Bangladesh win with his half-century, hitting eight of the nine boundaries struck in an opening stand that raised 59 off the first 12 overs of the chase. He drove fluently against seam, and chipped down the wicket against Cornwall, and swept Warrican with ease.
Sensing the need for a change, Brathwaite brought himself on, and removed Sarkar off his first ball, tempting him into a poke outside off, that took wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva’s pads and fell to Cornwall at slip.
Four overs later, the captain tempted Iqbal into a lofted shot towards cover, and on the stroke of tea, Cornwall got one to jump off a length to Najmul Hossain Shanto, taking his glove and then his body before dropping to short leg.
After the tea break, the captain Mominul Haque and Mushfiqur Rahim briefly appeared to have taken charge of the chase, putting together 23 runs and eschewing risks while facing up to the spin of both Cornwall and Brathwaite.
An inspired bowling change came in the shape of Warrican, who got the second ball of his spell to draw Rahim forward, spin across, taking a feather edge through to Da Silva. Bangladesh were left at 115 for 5 when Mohammad Mithun, who had spanked a six by chipping down the wicket, was picked up at leg gully off Cornwall to a ball that turned and bounced across him.
Joined by Liton Das, Haque was able to bring the target down to double figures, but appeared anxious to increase the scoring rate, going down the wicket and lofting the ball into vacant spaces on the on side on a couple of occasions.
Eventually, he fell to a catch at leg gully as well, Warrican claiming two of three wickets for the day. When Das was smartly caught by Da Silva for 22, and Taijul Islam misjudged a quicker one fired in straight at him, both to Cornwall, the end seemed near at 163 for 8.
Miraz and Nayeem Hasan, though, put in a dogged effort, with Miraz beginning to show signs of aggression as the 200-mark neared. Brathwaite brought himself on for another spell, and after firing two down the pads for eight runs as leg-byes, he bowled one fuller and straighter, and Hasan played it with the pads and was given out leg before.
With last man Abu Jayed for company, Miraz opened up, striking a six over mid-wicket and then a reverse-sweep for four off successive Cornwall deliveries to bring the target down below 20. Unfortunately for him and Bangladesh, he couldn’t get the team over the line.
The day began with West Indies still over 150 ahead and the first over from Jayed to Bonner suggested a long toil ahead for Bangladesh, with the seamer erring in both line and length, allowing Bonner to whip him towards deep mid-wicket and deep backward square-leg, besides driving towards deep cover.
Jayed, who was quick to correct his line and length after the wayward opening over, delivered the first wicket of the day when he pinned nightwatchman Warrican in front of the stumps. That brought Kyle Mayers to the crease, and he punched a short ball first up through the gap between mid-on and mid-wicket for an emphatic four.
Mayers later played around his pads against Jayed, operating around the wicket, and departed for 6. Jermaine Blackwood showed early intent, casually lofting the third ball he faced from Jayed over long-on for six.
However, on 9, he fell to Islam, wheeling away economically from one end. Islam tempted him to stretch forward, spun the ball across his edge, and Das whipped the bails off with the batsman’s back foot still on the line.
Da Silva walked in and set about disturbing the length of the spinners by pulling out a sweep against Islam for four to get moving. He appeared at ease through the rest of his stay, with a slog sweep against Nayeem Hasan, and a cover drive against Jayed taking the West Indies lead beyond 200.
However, he fell to the ninth ball after lunch, with Islam getting one to spin across his front foot defensive prod, and took the edge through to slip. Alzarri Joseph struck a massive six over mid-wicket, but fell for 9, when a leading edge off Islam took a deflection off silly mid-off and was gratefully accepted at cover by Najmul Hossain Shanto.
Hasan then struck twice in what turned out to be the final over of the West Indies innings, getting Bonner to lose his patience in attempting an awkward reverse-swipe, and going through his legs to rattle the stumps.
Cornwall was last man out, holing out to Rahim at deep mid-wicket, completing a remarkable collapse of four wickets in just 21 balls. The 117 posted by West Indies was their second-lowest ever against Bangladesh, but there has been something different about this West Indies team in the Test series, despite them missing a number of more experienced players.
There have been crucial batting contributions from almost all of their players, and captain Brathwaite’s bowling changes and field placements have also been spot on. On the day that mattered, though, it was Cornwall and Warrican who came to the party and made the most of the conditions to seal a famous series win. (ESPNCricinfo)