Over the course of their first Test against Bangladesh, West Indies had only two stands that went past 50, one in each innings. Shimron Hetmyer and Shane Dowrich put on 92 runs for the sixth wicket in the first dig, while Sunil Ambris and Jomel Warrican added 63 runs for the ninth wicket in the second essay.
It highlighted not just the lack of partnerships, but also how the top order hadn't been able to stick around. After a 64-run defeat inside three days in Chattogram, captain Kraigg Brathwaite said those two factors made the difference.
"The key is partnerships, whether the top or middle order. We didn't get partnerships early, so it cost us. We didn't put up any good partnership. We lost wickets too quickly. The ball was doing a lot more off the pitch," he said.
The batsmen failed individually, too, with only Hetmyer making more than 20 in both innings. In their second innings, chasing 204 for victory, West Indies crashed to 11 for 4 in the 5.5 overs that were bowled before lunch. Things didn't get much better from thereon, with the score reading 75 for 8. The Ambris-Warrican stand that followed ensured the margin of defeat would be shortened, with the duo counter-attacking their way out of trouble. Their approach was similar to the methods Hetmyer employed in both innings, hitting 63 off 47 and then 27 off 19. Brathwaite said that Hetmyer sticking to his own style was good, but hinted that a dash of caution was sometimes necessary too.
"He bats in that way. He is quite an attacking batsman," Brathwaite said. "But you have to be good in defence as well. Obviously he can attack quite well. Each batsman have their specific game plan, so that's his game and he did well."
Being slightly more circumspect could have helped Hetmyer score more perhaps, though he showed during both innings that his style of play did cause the bowling side to go on the defensive. On the other hand, there was Dowrich, who did well in the first innings by adopting a watchful approach, showing that given the right skills or application, either method could yield results. So perhaps for Kieron Powell, Shai Hope, Roston Chase and Brathwaite himself, it was more about a lack of application than anything else.
Powell was lbw in the first innings and played a poor shot in the second, stepping out of the crease and trying to smite Shakib Al Hasan. He missed the ball entirely, resulting in an easy stumping for Mushfiqur Rahim.
Hope also fell to Shakib, in the first as well as the second innings. He had needlessly jumped out of his crease to meet a delivery on the leg stump, but didn't get to the pitch of the ball and was bowled. He was more cautious in the second innings, but going forward with bat tucked behind pad, he feathered an outside edge to the keeper.
Brathwaite looked uncomfortable against spin in both innings, first falling over while edging Shakib before going back to Taijul Islam's arm ball in the second innings. Roston Chase fell in the same way, to the same bowler, in the second innings. Perhaps he was hanging back because a front-foot jab against Nayeem Hasan had resulted in a catch to short leg in the first innings.
The second Test is in Mirpur, Dhaka from November 30 and the Shere Bangla National Stadium also has a reputation of being a spinners' den. West Indies have a week to polish their skills for a better show against spin, and the aspect they might want to work on most is their approach, rather than their skills.