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December 8, 2002
If one were to only go by the figures, a match pitting a side that has lost 30 of its last 43 away Tests against a side that has lost 14 of the 15 Tests it has played would have been expected to serve up an engaging contest. But then again such scripts were not meant to be adhered to when West Indies took on Bangladesh. With experience and talent heavily loaded in their favour, the visitors expectedly managed to take a stranglehold on the first Test by the end of the first day's play at Dhaka. When stumps were drawn, the men from the Caribbean had posted 118-0 after skittling the hosts out for just 139.
The first blow for West Indies was struck at the toss; Ridley Jacobs winning it and putting Bangladesh in. And his decision was soon justified; Collins castling opener Hannan Sarkar with the very first ball of the match - a full-length delivery that rocketed into the base of the off-stump.
The next over plunged Bangladesh into further gloom - the 33-year-old West Indies fast bowler and Test debutant Vasbert Drakes snaring the other opener Anwar Hossain for two. The tone for the day had been set.
Habibul Bashar, who came in next, though, managed to stifle it for a short while, providing the home team supporters in the stadium something to cheer about by becoming the first Bangladeshi batsman to score a 1,000 Test runs when he reached 10. But the joy was to prove fleeting as Bangladesh lost two more wickets, those of No 3 Mohammad Ashraful (6) and Bashar (24) in the space of 15 runs. With Aminul Islam, who was making a comeback to the Test squad, also failing, Bangladesh at 44-5 were in danger of being dismissed even before the luncheon interval.
However, with Collins taking a well-earned rest after claiming 3-18 in his opening spell of ten overs and new man Alok Kapali flowering, a recovery of sorts was launched. Kapali found a useful partner in his determined skipper, Khaled Mashud, and the duo began to forge what was to prove Bangladesh's brightest partnership of the day.
The 18-year-old Kapali, fresh from his unbeaten 89 in the final ODI against the West Indies, was in fine fettle, one blistering along-the-carpet drive to the extra-cover fence being the shot of the day. With Mashud grimly hanging on to make 22, the two men realised 73 for the sixth wicket before Mashud fell.
Kapali followed almost immediately afterwards, falling to Drakes after his maiden fifty (52 off 94 balls with nine fours). The next three wickets managed to piece together another 21 runs before the hosts were eventually dismissed for 139. Collins, who claimed his second five-wicket haul (5-26), and Vasbert Drakes (4-58) were the men who had pushed the hosts deep into the mire.
Opener Chris Gayle, then, ensured that the West Indies innings was off to a flying start by smashing two fours in the very first over bowled by Tapash Baisya.
But he was soon overtaken by his even more belligerent partner, Wavell Hinds, who seized command after an early let-off. The well-built Jamaican left-hander went on to smash as many as 12 fours on his way to an unbeaten 73 off 96 balls.
With Gayle chiming in with a patient 44, the duo put on their second successive century partnership in Tests and enabled the West Indies to get to within 21 runs of the Bangladesh total when play was called off. With four days of cricket now remaining, there is only one way the match is now headed - towards an outcome that will bring enormous satisfaction to debutant Test captain Jacobs.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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