Bangladesh aim to bounce back after an embarrassing loss

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23 Jun 2022 | 10:51 AM
authorAakash Sivasubramaniam

Bangladesh aim to bounce back after an embarrassing loss

Five heavy defeats since Mount Maunganui win, are Bangladesh falling apart?

At the start of the year, Test cricket in Bangladesh was at an all-time high. In Mount Maunganui, at the World Champions’ backyard, the Tigers pulled off a win for the ages. Ebadot Hossain’s spell united the entire nation as they erupted even before sun had laid its eyes on their country. Such was Bangladesh’s start to the year. 

But since that result, Bangladesh have never seen a sun-rise, in fact, they have lost five out of their last six Tests, all of them being heavy defeats. How heavy? In the first Test between West Indies and Bangladesh, the Tigers’ batting in the first innings lasted five hours, fifteen minutes. Just more than the entirety of a T20 encounter, elsewhere in the world. 

The fact remains, Bangladesh are nowhere close to where they were at the start of the year. And, on the other hand, there is a dominant force that just blows opposition away at home, the West Indies. They did it to England, in fact, they forced the Three Lions to change their entire structure. 

At home, the Windies are as deadly as they come. So, it isn’t a surprise to see them dominate. But in a ground, where they have just won one game, can the force still be reckoned as dominant? 

Bangladesh and their evident weakness against pace

Since the beginning of the 2021-23 WTC cycle, Bangladesh have the worst balls per wicket against pace (42.3). They have lost 106 wickets to pacers in 17 innings, 65% of their dismissals. Only England and India have lost more wickets to pacers, but those two have batted more than 20 innings.

As Shakib Al Hasan himself admitted, Bangladesh don’t have technically-sound players. In fact, for most part of the country’s Test career, they have been more than adept against spin but have always lacked the cutting-edge against pace. Their coach, Russell Domingo was brutal in his assessment and wanted the seniors to step up.

Confidence is a big thing but the question remains, how can they gain that confidence? Nurul Hasan’s display in the second innings would give the Tigers a definite blueprint. He’s only six Tests old but the way he tackled the likes of Kemar Roach, Alzarri Joseph and Jayden Seales before his dismissal must give the management plenty of hopes. 

So, it is all about how the batters stay at the crease. And, if they stay at the crease, how long do they? 

Can West Indies break the Daren Sammy Stadium curse?

At the Daren Sammy National Cricket Stadium in Gros Islet, West Indies have just won one encounter. Now to give some context, India and England have won as many games at the venue as the hosts. South Africa having played just the two games have won more than West Indies. 

It is definitely a dilemma for the Windies: a venue where they have not quite yet cracked the code, with four losses. However, the other side of the spectrum is that the only team they have beaten at the venue is Bangladesh. So, what really worked for West Indies in the first Test?

Kraigg Brathwaite, Jermaine Blackwood, Roach, Seales, Joseph and Kyle Mayers. As long as the list goes, it is the list of stars that shined for the Windies in the other Test. Across last seven innings in Test cricket, Braithwaite has gone past the 50-run mark four times. Blackwood, on the other hand, has scores of 63 and 102 in his last four Test innings.

On the bowling front, Kemar Roach is the sixth-joint highest wicket-taker for West Indies in the longest format. The right-arm pacer with his fifer in the second innings equalled Michael Holding’s numbers with the red-ball. He’s just one wicket away from the 250-wicket hallmark. Seales, Joseph and Mayers played the perfect support role, with 13 wickets.

Will West Indies finally break the Daren Sammy Stadium curse?

The indifferent Ebadot Hossain

Since his famous six-wicket haul in the third innings against New Zealand to hand the Tigers a famous win, Ebadot Hossain’s form has been indifferent. Since the series against New Zealand, the pacer has only picked up 11 wickets in eight innings. Prior to his last two Tests, that tally was just five wickets across two Tests against Sri Lanka. 

This series thus far, the right-arm pacer has picked up just two wickets, despite getting plenty of help from the pitch during the first Test in Antigua. His average in the year reads: 51.3 and obviously points at a blaring aspect for the visitors. With Mustafizur Rahman and Khaled Ahmed as the other pace options, does Bangladesh really have the pace to threaten the Windies? 

A lot of those hopes lie on the shoulders of Hossain. He’s definitely fast but at the moment, the Tigers would need the right-arm pacer to be more than that. They need him to be the leader. 

Team News and Combination

Barring any last-minute changes, the hosts are largely going to field an unchanged XI for the second Test as they aim to clinch the series. 

West Indies XI: Kraigg Brathwaite (c), John Campbell, Nkrumah Bonner, Raymon Reifer, Jermaine Blackwood, Kyle Mayers, Joshua Da Silva (wk), Alzarri Joseph, Kemar Roach, Gudakesh Motie, Jayden Seales

While Bangladesh performed poorly in the first Test, they don’t quite possess the bench strength that they could call upon for the second Test that could change their fortunes drastically. So, they too will remain unchanged. 

Bangladesh XI: Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mominul Haque, Shakib Al Hasan (c), Litton Das, Nurul Hasan (wk), Mehidy Hasan, Ebadot Hossain, Khaled Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman/Shoriful Islam

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West Indies vs BangladeshBangladesh tour of West Indies, 2022West IndiesBangladeshEbadot HossainShakib Al HasanKraigg BrathwaiteJermaine BlackwoodJayden SealesKemar Roach

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