Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, June 02, 2004
First Test Verdict: Coming of Age

Zunaid Kazi

It may have fizzled out to a tame draw, but this match was an event of historic significance to Bangladesh and her fans - signaling our coming of age as a Test playing nation. Earning a creditable draw in West Indies' own backward. Not capitulating when the chips (and wickets) were down at 94-6. Declaring on the West Indies. Folks, we have definitely arrived.

Things were looking rather precarious in the bright sunshine of Day 5. The rain, which had played the role of a spoiler many a times during the match, stayed thankfully away. Just as it has been throughout the match, another hero stepped up to the crease and carried the fight on to the West Indies.

Khaled Mashud Celebrates

Mashud celebrating his maiden ton

Khaled Mashud does not get as many plaudits as he deserves. So often he has been the stalwart of the team, single-handedly bringing a semblance of order to an innings in disarray. It is not without reason that he holds so many Test partnership records for Bangladesh. When Bangladesh eventually declared at 271 for 9, Mashud remained unbeaten on 103, his first Test century, in a marathon 334 minute session facing 281 balls. Along the way he faced some very hostile bowling by Pedro Collins, not withstanding Lara's "placid pitch", and had to receive treatment for some serious blows to the gloves and forearms.

Mashud was not Bangladesh's sole hero. When Bangladesh resumed their innings they had a slim lead of 158, only 4 wickets left and a whole day to play. Rajin Saleh played a very crucial knock to achieve his second Test 50. He was undone right after drinks to a Fidel Edwards ball that kept low (7-123), gone LBW for a very important 51. Then came first innings centurion Mohammad Rafique (8-179), and pacers Tapas Baisya (9-253) and Tareq Aziz. Not only did the late order play an anchor role for Mashud, they also contributed valuable runs - Rafique for 29 and Baisya for 26. While Tareq Aziz only scored 1, he must be given special commendation for the 29 balls he faced in support of Mashud's maiden century. In the end, as Andrew Miller wrote for Wisden-Cricinfo, the "West Indian bowlers were first beaten back and then brushed aside on the final day in St Lucia."

Mashud brought up his century with a cracker of a cover drive for four and Bangladesh declared at 9-271. The West Indies now had a target of 336 runs in a minimum of 29 overs. Chris Gayle and Devon Smith came on and gave a fine show with some lovely shots to try to mitigate some of the embarassment of the West Indies team. With a draw inevitable, the Bangladesh bowlers kept things easy and the game was finally called off with the West Indies reaching 113 for no loss.

Many pixels have been consumed on the BanglaCricket chat rooms and forums about the timing of the declaration. There were those who wanted to Bangladesh to declare much earlier, perhaps a lead of 250 with enough overs for West Indies to try to make a go at it. With the pitch showing some variability, it was hoped that Bangladesh's slow bowlers could cause some interesting problems for the West Indies. After all this is the West Indies team which were recently all out for just 47. The more circumspect of fans wanted a less risky target. When Bangladesh did reach that safer score, Mashud was so close to his century that the debate was moot. One must remember the past to recognize why even a draw is so valuable for us. I will quote a few of our fans who said it well:

Beamer: "We don't have the bowlers needed, on a pitch like this to bowl out the Windies in one and a half session. Had he declared and went for the win that was not there and we lost, can you imagine what it would have done to us psychologically? was a no-brainer. Test cricket is littered with draws from the time of inception. The advance of one dayers and recent trend of result oriented aggressive test matches, as steve waugh said very eloquently the other day, may make one forget that test cricket has produced many many enthralling draws. I know that we are desperately seeking a victory but yesterday wasn't the right occassion to go for one. It was never there."

BushidoTiger: "I think in the hoopla of BD first time declaring in a match, timing of declaration, 3 centurions in one test etc...we forgot to internalize what BD as a team has accomplished."

Yes, BushidoTiger, we have accomplished much. We now move on to the next Test at Sabina Park with heads held high and morale higher. West Indies will have their tails up too. Their pacers will want to redeem themselves after such an abject show here. It is going to be a fitting finale to what has been a rather absorbing series.


This was a Test of records for Bangladesh. Here are just a few tantalizing tidbits:

  • Our largest single innings score of 416. Our previous record was the 400 we scored in the first innings of our very first Test versus India in 2000/01.
  • Our largest combined 2-innings total of 687.
  • Our first ever declaration.
  • The largest target we ever gave to an opposition team 336.
  • First instance of more than one century in the same match (in fact we got three, Bashar, Rafique and Mashud).
  • First instance of more than one century in the same innings - Bashar and Rafique.
  • Many partnership records broken. See references below.
  • And many more. See this thread on the BanglaCricket forum.

Khaled Mashud's Partnership Records

Test Partnership

  • 7th with Aminul Islam for 93 v India at Dhaka in 2001 (One off Test).
  • 9th with Tapash Baisya for 74 v West Indies at Gros Ilset in 2004 (Test 1).
  • Equal 10th with Manjural Islam for 46 v Zimbabwe at Harare in 2003-04 (Test 1).

ODI Partnership

  • 6th with Al Sahariar for 13* v West Indies at Dhaka in 1999/00.
  • 7th with Enamul Haque for 85 v Pakistan at Chittagong in 2001/02.
  • 8th with Mohammad Rafique for 70* v New Zealand at Kimberley in 2002/03.
  • 9th again with Mohammad Rafique for 62* v West Indies at Kingston in 2004.