As expected, Kraig Brathwaite’s second-string West Indies completed a 2-0 win over hosts Bangladesh in four-days with an exciting 17-run win in Dhaka on Sunday.
Not at all!
Perhaps all the people for whom those first two words belong in that sentence were either on or near the Shere Bangla National Stadium field in Dhaka yesterday. And it would be no surprise if many of them, indeed most of them, had not yet added the relevant words when Mominul Haque’s side were still unsteady at 115 for 5 in their second innings in pursuit of 231.
But the skipper was still there in association with the experienced Liton Das, the pair who had rescued their side in the second innings of the First Test with a fighting 133-run partnership. Once the skipper went, however, caught by Cornwall off the bowling of Jomel Warrican, many more are likely to have allowed themselves to believe.
Brathwaite had made the early breakthroughs, removing both openers to leave the home side in a spot of bother at 70 for two. He would return later to dislodge the stubborn Nayeem Hasan, whose ninth-wicket partnership with Mehidy Hassan Miraz moved Bangladesh’s runs-required number to under 50.
Hasan hit three fours and two sixes to steadily reduce the requirement He got defiant support from number 11 Abu Jayed, whose unbeaten duck consumed 14 balls. But Warrican and Cornwall combined again to end the Miraz threat.
Man-of-the-Match Cornwall, the most successful of the West Indies bowlers, bagged a nine-wicket haul in successive Tests and took three catches, including the excellent final one off Warrican to seal the win for his side.
Skipper Brathwaite was under no illusion. He praised his side, calling the achievement ‘a team effort’.
“People wrote us off,” he said in his post-match comments. “But we kept it simple, enjoyed it and we proved them wrong.”
Cornwall called it ‘a good performance’. He played down his own part in the victory, saying that he had merely tried ‘to put the ball in the right areas’ and that he had ‘been doing a lot of work in the morning in slip fielding’.
Nkrumah Bonner, who hit 90 in the first innings and contributed a patient 38 in the second innings off 120 balls, was named Player-of-the-Series.
Despite the critical sheet-anchor Bonner support had provided to Kyle Mayers in the First Test in Chattogram, many might have been surprised that the honour went to him. They might have expected it to go to the man at the other end of the Zahur Ahmed Chowdury Stadium pitch, Mayers.
It was, after all, his splendid, historic fourth innings double-century on debut which had been the major contribution to the tourists’ surprise three-wicket win. Without which, arguably, the Dhaka win would not have come.
But it would not be an overstatement to say that this has been a series which far, far exceeded West Indian expectations.
West Indies won by 17 runs
WI: 409 (N Bonner 90, J Da Silva 92, A Joseph 82, T Islam 4/108) & 117 (N Bonner 38, J Da Silva 20, T Islam 4/36, N Hasan 3/34);
Bangladesh: 296 (L Dass 71, MH Miraz 57, M Rahim 54, R Cornwall 5/74) & 213 (T Iqbal 50, R Cornwall 4/106, J Warrican 3/47, K Brathwaite 3/25).