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At St George's, Grenada, July 17, 18, 19, 20, 2009. Bangladesh won by four wickets. Toss: Bangladesh.
When Bangladesh slipped to 67 for four midway through the fourth afternoon, in quest of a target of 215, it seemed West Indies had gained the momentum in a low-scoring contest typified by indifferent batting. But Shakib Al Hasan, his qualities as captain growing with every session and his influence on the match already immense, swung it irreversibly back to his team with a calculated offensive. When he formalised Bangladesh's third Test victory with two fours and a dismissive six over long-on in the same over off Kemar Roach, he was four short of his first Test hundred, having faced 97 balls; he had also taken eight for 129 in the match. Raqibul Hasan lent sensible support in a partnership of 106 that gradually undermined West Indies' confidence; Roach, physically drained by his efforts in the first innings, when he took six for 48, could not reignite his fire, and only the persistent Sammy, with his second return of five in an innings in successive Tests, kept the home side interested.
West Indies were livid to find another shorn pitch that suited Bangladesh's strengths, even more so since it lay alongside a well-grassed strip much more to their liking. Shakib chose to bowl: he and fellow-spinners Enamul Haque and Mahmudullah, who between them accounted for nine wickets and 58 of the 76 overs, enjoyed turn and bounce not usually on offer on the opening day of a Test. Yet West Indies began strongly, passing 100 with only one down. It was once Mahmudullah had removed the aggressive Richards and Hinds, through return catches in the penultimate over before lunch, that the rot set in. Travis Dowlin carried the fight for the remainder of the innings, joined for an hour and a half by Austin in an eighth-wicket stand of 59; when Dowlin was last out, to Tamim Iqbal's overhead catch at extra cover, he was five away from a hard-fought hundred after three and a half diligent hours.
If West Indies' downfall was again spin, Bangladesh's just as predictably was pace. Tamim, Raqibul, Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah were each in for an hour and a half or more, but never settled against Roach's controlled hostility; his figures over two spells on the second afternoon were 12.5-5-20-5. By the time he led the team off the ground, his shirt was soaked by his exertions in hot, humid weather, and the badge that he kissed after each wicket even more so.
With scores virtually level, second innings would determine the outcome. Until the partnership between Raqibul and Shakib, the result seemed to hang on more feeble batting. Once again, Dowlin and Bernard were the only West Indians to resist against the obligatory diet of spin. Dowlin, offering no stroke to Enamul, appeared unlucky to be ruled lbw one away from his second half-century of the match; Bernard advanced past his third in the series before he was ninth out to the 13th ball of a rain-delayed fourth day. No one else reached 30.
Bangladesh's stuttering start to the run-chase reflected an ingrained lack of self-belief. But that was not a condition afflicting Shakib, who quickly seized the initiative with his counter-attack. Within minutes of completing the job, he stepped forward to receive the trophy for Bangladesh's first Test series victory overseas, and personal awards for the match and the series.
As in St Vincent, the few spectators were lost in the vast stadium, constructed for the 2007 World Cup with a capacity of 16,000. The president of the Grenada Cricket Association, Cecil Greenidge, called the turn-out, estimated at 500 a day, a "great disappointment" and a "disaster". The causes were obvious.
Man of the Match: Shakib Al Hasan. Man of the Series: Shakib Al Hasan. Close of play: First day, Bangladesh 35-1 (Tamim Iqbal 14, Enamul Haque 5); Second day, West Indies 56-1 (Phillips 17, Dowlin 23); Third day, West Indies 192-8 (Bernard 61, Best 4).
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