July 19th, 2009 Â Â Â
Kemar Roach took 6 for 48 in 23.5 overs with 8 maidens, and led a resurgent West Indian pace attack to bundle the Bangladeshi first innings at 232 on day two in the second and final test in Grenada. The young West Indian pacer continues to impress with his aggression, accuracy and pace and is more than likely to feature in the side even after all disputes are resolved between the WICB and WIPA.
Day two started with a lot of positive anticipation for Bangladesh. Opener Tamim Iqbal looked comfortable enough to coast to his third test 50 and then go on to score another test 100 in consecutive innings. Night watchman Enamul Haque, having done his job as such by the end of day one, also looked compact enough to play the 40 additional deliveries necessary to make it easier for Junaid Siddique to build another solid partnership with Iqbal.
Roach wasnâ€™t buying any of it. His short delivery streaking down leg found just enough edge for a diving keeper Chadwick Walton to ensure Haqueâ€™s lonely walk back at unlucky 13 after just 3.4 overs in the day.
Iqbal was the next to go at 37 as David Bernardâ€™s delivery swung away to find an edge back to Walton. Obviously Bernardâ€™s ability to extract quality seam movement away from the left hander earlier, didnâ€™t move Iqbal enough to shelve his cavalier ways before he took the bait and poked at the lure with deadly consequences.
An out of form Raquibul Hasan came in to prevent too early a collapse, but the squinting Siddique, never looking at ease during his 32 ball cameo in the middle, succumbed to a harmless delivery from Ryan Austin. The lollipop tossed up outside the dreaded off stump found the inside edge of his bat, and then cleats before finally dislodging the stumps.
Enter Mohammad Ashraful Matin, the disgraced former Skipper under the axe, to imprint his timely influence in the match. Matin, incessantly talking to himself, played a nice cover drive for a boundary dispatched safely along the ground, igniting the all too familiar hope of a way overdue celebration. Then he did what he excels at even more: throw his wicket away when everyone and their dead ancestors hope he wouldnâ€™t.
A less than ordinary delivery from bits-and-pieces spinner Ryan Hinds, short and outside off, got Matinâ€™s nihilistic juices flowing and he top edged it straight to point for yet another â€œcatching practiceâ€ dismissal. But to his immense credit, he managed to reach a double figure score of 12, and avoid his 45th single figure score in 95 test innings. FYI: 15 of those 44 scores are ducks with a single 0 not out. With another innings still to come, this talented Matin of highly questionable temperament finds himself at the fag end of a deeply disappointing test career after the greatest of starts in Sri Lanka. His 114 not out on debut at the age of 16 will never be forgotten. But 9 years later, he finds himself performing out of the scene at 25 with the name AshraFLUKE. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Skipper Shakib Al Hasan joined the other Hasan in the middle, determined to steady a ship sinking fast. They were looking the part before Roach resurfaced in the 55th over. Cruel as ever, he denied a scrappy Raquibul Hasan his maiden test 50Â with a seductive, full length delivery driven away from the body and edged straight to back to Walton. Hasan was gone at 44 after hanging in there for 103 deliveries.
Things happened at regular intervals for this excellent young pacer from Barbados after that. He removed Al Hasan at 16 with a quick and short delivery outside off. Hasan mistimed his pull shot and ended up with more altitude than distance, his hopes of leading a Bangladeshi comeback caught at short midwicket.
In the 75th over, Roach scripted a defiant Mushfiqur Rahimâ€™s dismissal with a couple of bouncers followed by an alluringly full delivery thick edged back to, who else, Walton who finished with 5 catches in the innings. The diminutive Rahim was out at 48 ending all serious hope of a good first innings total for Bangladesh. The loud but otherwise adorable young batsman slash keeper from Bogura in Northwestern Bangladesh had to accept his third consecutive chance at a test 50 and beyond go down the toilet.
Maria Sharapova impersonator and occasional pacer Shahadat Hossain was Roachâ€™s fifer at zero, before a gritty Mohammad Mahmudullah, now considered a specialist offbreak bowler for totally valid reasons, fell at 28 after surviving 82 deliveries to a bouncer, and gave Roach his sixth wicket of the innings. Bangladesh were all out at 232 after batting 75.5 overs. 5 runs short of the West Indian effort in their first go.
With a handful of overs left in the day, the Bangladeshi skipper again provided the early breakthrough by removing the dangerous Dale Richards at 12. Al Hasanâ€™s straightening delivery trapped Richards on the sweep and he was given out leg before by a confident Tony Hill. Maybe it was likely to brush leg stump.
West Indies were 52 for 1 at stumps as Opener Omar Phillips and Travis Dowlin extended the hostsâ€™ first innings lead to 62 runs. With even better batting conditions to look forward to, Windies have a great opportunity to tilt the balance decisively in their favor with a huge total. But Bangladeshi slow bowlers are unlikely to allow that to happen without the sort of assault West Indies have not been able to survive so far in the tour. The match is poised for another exciting finish with the critical third day living up to its billing.
Sohel N Rahman, July 19th, 2009 Â Â Â