West Indian quicks shine on spinners' pitch
The West Indian pace bowlers were a revelation in the Mirpur Test, playing a vital role in bowling Bangladesh out twice in batting-friendly conditions at the Shere Bangla Stadium. The first three days had produced 982 runs for the loss of ten wickets, and though 24 wickets fell in the last two, the nature of the pitch had barely changed for the quicks. It only offered more turn.
Ravi Rampaul, Tino Best and the captain Darren Sammy took 13 wickets in the Test, having bowled 104.3 out of 203 overs that West Indies bowled. In the first innings, they maintained a collective economy rate of 3.56, which was lower than Bangladesh's run rate of 3.74. Sammy said it was the bowlers who had ultimately won West Indies the Test, even though Shivnarine Chanderpaul scored a double-hundred, Kieran Powell made a century in each innings, and Denesh Ramdin chipped in with a ton in the first innings.
Defending 245 on the final day, West Indies dismissed Bangladesh for 167, securing a 77-run victory to go one up in the two-Test series. Best claimed 5 for 24, his first five-wicket haul.
The fast bowlers' efforts are highlighted by the struggles of Sunil Narine, who took three expensive wickets in the first innings and none in the second, though he had better control. The debutant left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul improved as the game progressed and took four wickets in the match, but he was far from being a real threat.
"It was a very difficult pitch for the bowlers, over a thousand runs in the first two innings," Sammy said at the end of the Test. "The bowlers worked and toiled but it is something that we have got used to. As a captain I know what I will get from my bowlers.
"Ravi [Rampaul], Tino [Best] and young [Veersammy] Permaul bowled really well. [Sunil] Narine didn't get wickets but I think he played a part, by keeping them in check. Someday a particular bowler will end up having more in the wickets column, other days it might be somebody else. The efforts from Tino this afternoon, running in and putting the ball consistently in the right areas, and getting his first five-wicket haul in Test cricket were really good."
Best's first spell - 3 for 12 in five overs - broke Bangladesh's back. The movement he generated to have Shakib Al Hasan caught behind was his best effort, but he also used the short ball to good effect. Best finished with figures of 6 for 101, ensuring his place in the attack was now secure.
It was Rampaul's persistence and durability, however, that gave West Indies stability. He bowled 32 overs in the first innings, and provided the early breakthrough in the second by dismissing Tamim Iqbal, using the round-the-wicket angle to choke the left-hander for room. Rampaul's importance in the West Indies attack has been on the rise since he picked up 31 wickets in Tests last year.
"Ravi, for the last two years, has been the hawk of the team," Sammy said. "He developed a habit of picking up wickets with the new ball and the old ball. He is one man I could count on to make something happen."
The Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium in Khulna will provide similar, batting-friendly conditions and Sammy will have to depend on his pace attack for control once again, supporting two spinners who are yet to find their feet in Test cricket.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Bangladesh