Best five-for blows Bangladesh away
West Indies 527 for 4 dec (Chanderpaul 203*, Ramdin 126*, Powell 117) and 273 (Powell 110, Gazi 6-72) beat Bangladesh 556 (Naeem 108, Nasir 96) and 167 (Best 5-25, Permaul 3-32) by 77 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Tino Best's career has been more miss than hit, but on the rare occasion he combines his raw pace with control, he can be close to unplayable, as Bangladesh found today. Best's four-wicket burst either side of lunch on day five proved to be the final, decisive twist in a match that had burst open with possibilities late on day four. This morning, Sohag Gazi claimed the best figures by a Bangladesh Test debutant to leave the hosts chasing a target of 245, but Bangladesh undid all the hard work done by their batsmen in the first innings and by their bowlers in the second by chasing like a side that has now lost 64 of its 74 Tests.
After Tamim Iqbal, the man best equipped to score quickly, had fallen early, the rest of the top order perished in trying to do the same. To Bangladesh's misfortune, Best, who had been inconsistent with his direction throughout the game, suddenly found control. He already had the pace. The result was the key wickets of Shakib Al Hasan and Mushfiqur Rahim, and the impressive debutant left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul claimed the next three to nip whatever resistance Bangladesh could have come up with.
A look at the session-by-session details of this Test might give you the impression that the Mirpur pitch stayed lifeless till tea on day four, and started turning square afterwards. Just 15 wickets fell in the first 11 sessions; five fell after tea on day four, six more went down till lunch on day five and the post-lunch session claimed five. But the pitch was anything but unplayable. There was slightly more bite and uneven bounce on day five, but it was the pressure of good bowling, and in Bangladesh's case, the added one of having to go for the target of 245, that led to the batsmen's downfall.
While West Indies succumbed to spin, it was pace that jolted Bangladesh; the pitch had hardly any role to play in both collapses. Both Best and Ravi Rampaul used the short and back-of-a-length balls to telling effect. Tamim was the first to go, in the fifth over, when he tried to slash one off Rampaul that bounced extra and edged it to the wicketkeeper.
Best's was an unwavering, brute effort on a pitch that demanded it from the quicks. He had hustled Bangladesh in the first innings with speed, but had too often sprayed it around. He had been unlucky not to break through with one of his several accurate yorkers, though. In the second, he concentrated on the shortish ball, and it brought reward immediately, in his second over. Junaid Siddique tried to steer one outside off and only guided it to the keeper.
The game was still even when Bangladesh went to lunch needing 200 more with eight batsmen remaining. However, Best, letting it rip with both ball and lip, came harder at Bangladesh after the break. Shahriar Nafees got a mouthful, and heaved a top-edge off the next delivery, a short one into the body, for the bowler to take the catch. Best now had even more encouragement, as if he ever needed it. Three balls later, he had taken out Shakib Al Hasan with a beauty that squared the batsman up and took the edge to the keeper as it moved away from middle.
Best went off the field for a while and returned to strike with his fourth delivery. After all the back-of-a-length stuff, Mushfiqur got one that swung in full and late, and trapped him in front. Best was now even more like a runaway locomotive than usual. He jagged one into Naeem Islam's chest, and even as the batsman grimaced in pain, asked him to "come on". Mahmudullah was hit at least three times by short balls that he could not avoid but showed guts when he hooked Best for six over deep-square leg.
Amid all the pounding from Best, Permaul removed Naeem and Nasir Hossain in the same manner Gazi had deceived West Indies earlier - with deliveries that did not turn as much as the batsmen expected them to. Gazi and Mahmudullah fought for a while, but Permaul had the former holing out to mid-off.
West Indies themselves had lasted less than ten overs in the morning as Gazi claimed all four wickets to fall, including Shivnarine Chanderpaul who came in at No. 11 due to an illness, and lasted four deliveries. For most of the game, the 21-year-old offspinner Gazi belied both his debutant status and his young age. He had taken three of the four West Indies wickets to fall in the first innings, during which he sent down as many as 47 overs. His control was impressive throughout, as was his use of flight. He intelligently made use of the straighter and quicker delivery as the surface started to wear and batsmen started to play for the expected turn. Four of his six wickets came that way.
There was nothing deceptive about Best, though. He ended the game by crashing one full into Mahmudullah's middle stump. After promising so much on days three and four, Bangladesh had failed to last even two sessions with the bat on the fifth.
Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo