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Mohammad Isam in Khulna
November 24, 2012
West Indies fast bowler Tino Best is having a fruitful Test series in Bangladesh. On the fourth day in Khulna, he once again blew away the hosts' top order, but not through raw pace alone, like he had in Mirpur.
Best bowled only ten overs in the first innings, after aggravating a hamstring injury that has been troubling him since his county stint with Yorkshire in 2010. Having undergone a scan on the first day, Best decided two days later that he could bowl in the second innings.
Moments after lunch on Saturday, Best walked out with West Indies coach Ottis Gibson to bowl on the adjacent wicket, mostly off a short run-up. It indicated that he could bowl, but not at his fastest. He would utilise swing and the effect he created with his wrist position triggered the collapse. Best's three wickets reduced Bangladesh to 62 for 4
"I wasn't bowling at full tilt at all. I was concentrating more on keeping my wrist behind the ball," Best said after the day's play. "I was trying to get some shape, an area that I have been working really hard for the last couple of months with Gibson. When I'm playing in the subcontinent, [I'm not just] trying to bowl at 90miles per hour, but getting some shape on the ball. Getting some inswing and outswing at my pace is going to help me on slow pitches."
"I have had this [hamstring] injury since 2010 when I played county cricket. It came back on me from the Dhaka Test where I really pushed my body. It was painful but I came back and bowled well."
Best began his spell by surprising opener Tamim Iqbal. The first ball wasn't short, but the length pushed the batsman on to the back foot, and Tamim was undone by the inswing and bowled. Naeem Islam, the man picked to solidify Bangladesh's batting line-up, left the fourth ball of the over and had his off bail fly. It was Best's favourite wicket among his three, mainly because he had been working hard to dismiss Islam. "I think I bowled really well at him in the last three innings. I knew I was going to beat him for pace, but the ball just swung back fantastically. I just got him on a little tired legs, got him bowled."
Best, however, didn't forget how useful the bouncer had been in the Mirpur Test, where he pitched the ball short of a good length to take three of his five wickets in the second innings. To get rid of the flamboyant Shahriar Nafees, Best used both lengths, but ultimately it was the one at the throat that had the left-hand batsman fending awkwardly and being caught in the slips. Nafees' reluctance to duck under the ball also played a part in the dismissal.
Like some fast bowlers before him who were successful in the subcontinent, Best attributed his success to his ability to be indifferent to the pitch. "When I was making my debut years ago for Barbados, my head coach Henderson Springer used to say, 'Try to make sure you are quick on sand as a fast bowler.'
"When you go to the subcontinent it is easy to say, "I am not going to give it my all because this pitch is so flat.' It is important to bowl quick, but also not to hurt yourself. These pitches [aren't helpful for] fast bowlers, but it is best to take it out of your mind and focus on using your strengths."
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