Bangladesh v West Indies, 1st Test, Mirpur, 1st day November 13, 2012

Gazi bright spot on tough first day


Sohag Gazi is the first offspinner in Test history to bowl the first over of a Test match on debut, and the first debutant spinner to do so in 103 years.

The surprise move didn't ruffle Chris Gayle, though, who lashed the first ball of the match for a six, on his way to 18 runs in the opening over. Gazi removed Gayle soon after but despite his best efforts, West Indies scored more than four an over on the first day and are poised for a big total. This, after the hosts gave up the momentum they had gained at the end of the first session, picking up three wickets.

Bangladesh had to wait out a full session for their next wicket, as both Kieran Powell and Shivnarine Chanderpaul helped themselves to centuries. As the day progressed even the more experienced Bangladesh bowlers looked short of ideas, and later liveliness.

This was Bangladesh's first Test of the year, and none of the front-line bowlers, barring Shahadat Hossain, have played enough first-class cricket recently to be physically prepared for staying on the field for a long time. With the wicket easing up, more hard work lies ahead for them. Shahadat and Rubel Hossain were costly as they have been throughout their careers while Shakib Al Hasan was simply steady, mainly because the allrounder finds it tricky to switch between long stints as a Twenty20 bowler to bowling long spells in Test cricket.

"The wicket flattened out after the lunch session, but there was turn in the first hour," Gazi said after the first day. "We will try to bowl them out as quickly as we can. We don't have any sort of targets because the wicket is flat. We will try to keep them to as low a total as possible."

But it was the first session which showed Bangladesh in a positive light. Mushfiqur Rahim had decided quite early, in fact the day before, that it would be Gazi who would open the bowling regardless of who takes first strike for West Indies. So despite the inevitable attack, Gazi was only encouraged by his captain and to his credit, the debutant kept giving the ball flight. "He told me that Gayle wasn't comfortable with my bowling, that's why he gave me the charge. He said keep doing what you're doing.

"I was prepared to bowl the first over, whether Gayle took the strike or not," Gazi said. "It was my bad luck that I got hit for two sixes in the first over. I was going to bowl my second over, and I just wanted to bowl dot balls. I didn't really think of who was on strike."

The first-ball six was a jolt for Gazi, but he wasn't frazzled. "Anyone can hit a six, I wasn't expecting that exact shot. The ball I got him out turned slightly, because there was turn on the pitch in the first session. He tried to lift me over mid-on but mistimed it."

After he had picked up Gayle's wicket, Gazi added that of Darren Bravo before Shahadat Hossain accounted for Marlon Samuels. But they hit a wall in the form of the Powell-Chanderpaul partnership during the middle session and lost their way in the final two hours.

With West Indies sitting on a strong position after the first day, questions will be asked about the need for three off-spinning allrounders - Mahmudullah, Naeem Islam and Nasir Hossain. The trio bowled 16 wicketless overs and Gazi's introduction to international cricket could spell the end of Bangladesh's defensive ploy of employing eight batsmen and playing three similar allrounders. It is now clear that all three would have to make major contributions with the bat in the next four days to be automatic picks in the near future.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Bangladesh

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on November 15, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    ibbani...lolz trust me after what Bangladesh are doing to West Indies now, who knows what they would've done to your Indian A team let alone C team. Still forgotten about Asia Cup where Sachin scored his 100 100th against such a 'worst' team? can't have it all your way bro good luck :)

  • Deepak on November 14, 2012, 8:53 GMT

    one of the worst ever team in history playing against WI,BD must be ashamed that their players quality is not even quarter of other international teams. better to take some India C team players to your playing eleven lol.

  • sam on November 14, 2012, 5:47 GMT

    This is what happens when you have only about 5 test cricket standard players in a team of 11 (Tamim, Shakib, Mortaza, Nasir Hossain and may be Mahmudullah). Though when they made their debut as a test nation in '99 they had only 2, Habibul Bashar and Rafique. Some improvement but not enough. Still can't draw test matches against any nation.

  • Javed on November 14, 2012, 1:55 GMT

    I still don't understand why Bangladeshi selectors can't find some quality pacers? Is it a good idea to play with only two pacers? I think it's time to change the selection panel.

  • Twohedul on November 13, 2012, 19:20 GMT

    I strongly agree with Isam. We do not need so many players who does a bit of batting and a bit of bowling or more commonly known as allrounders! Atleast not in test cricket. Considering Bangladesh's not very effective fast bowling line up, Bangladesh should play with 3 specialist spinners and 2 pacers. 6 genuine batsmen and 5 genuine bowlers is the ideal combination for test crciket. If you have an allrounder like shakib, thats a plus to include one extra batsman. And the other thing is if Rubel is only going to bowl 6 overs a day, what is the point for taking him? Instead another spinner could have easily included. So what no other team plays with only 1 pacer and 3 or 4 spinners, we need to think outside the box to match our strengths and weakness!

  • shahadat on November 13, 2012, 19:20 GMT

    Team should have been: tamim, junaid, anamul,naeem, mushfiq, shakib,nasir, sohag gazi, enamul jr, shahadat, rubel

  • Dummy4 on November 13, 2012, 19:01 GMT

    Dear Lord, can you please answer the prayers for all Tiger fans- can Ye please shine thy mercy upon us and deliver us a decent pace bowler or two (and one who doesn't get injured at the sight of his shadow)? Keeping our fingers crossed and praying with full concentration. -A Tiger fan

  • Shoaib on November 13, 2012, 19:01 GMT

    Finally a spinner which isn't our usual left armers. He was clearly the best player in the team and deserve it despite pressure was hanging above his shoulders. He needs to be managed carefully so this young man can be a great asset for the team.

  • Nabil on November 13, 2012, 18:35 GMT

    runs galore...shiv is too good

  • Dummy4 on November 13, 2012, 18:14 GMT

    Congrzzzzz !! Gazi Go ahead............

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