Shakib, Mahmudullah make up for Mortaza's absence
Bangladesh achieved just their second win in Tests, and their first overseas, and their newly appointed captain Mashrafe Mortaza, who was off the field as a result of an injured knee, was all praise for his deputy Shakib Al Hasan for leading the team to victory in his absence. West Indies were set a testing target of under 277 on a turning track, and the spinners Mahmudullah, who took a five-for and finished with eight wickets in his debut Test, and Shakib shut them out of the game with ten overs left in the day. The spin duo took eight wickets between them - while ensuring Mortaza's absence wasn't felt - to derail a makeshift West Indies team and take a 1-0 lead in the two-Test series.
"Special thanks to Shakib for handling the team very well," Mortaza said at the end of the Test. "I feel much better now after this victory."
Bangladesh began the day in a strong position, leading by 252 with five wickets in hand. Tamim Iqbal, who scored his maiden Test ton, had said yesterday that Bangladesh were eyeing a target of around 300. However, an impressive spell from Darren Sammy, who took 5 for 70, brought about a quick end to the Bangladesh innings on the fourth morning which, in hindsight, worked to their advantage as they gained more time to bowl out West Indies. Though they made early inroads, the visitors faced stiff resistance from the West Indies tail, who rallied behind a valiant, unbeaten 52 from David Bernard. But, despite the defiance, the spinners struck at timely intervals to see off the anxious moments that threatened to undermine Bangladesh's dominance.
When asked if the early end to Bangladesh's innings worked in their favour, Mortaza said: "We were looking to bat until lunch and get a lead of about 300 or more, but we lost our last five wickets quickly.
We have good spinners like Shakib and Mahmudullah and they bowled really well, so special thanks to them and the rest of the bowlers because we were operating one bowler short because of my injury - and we still won."
Though Mahmudullah appeared the best bet for being named Man of the Match, it was Tamim Iqbal who walked away with the honour for his determined century in the first innings. His 240-ball 128 formed the backbone of Bangladesh's impressive lead, and he singled out his time spent at the crease as the stand-out feature of his innings. "Facing 240 balls is the main thing I have learnt," he said. "I haven't played as many balls before [in an innings] in international cricket, and having spent that much time in the middle will help me a lot in the future."
Though the conditions were favourable for spin and that Bangladesh took full toll, Tamin admitted the pitch was easy to bat on. "It was a flat wicket, and if you concentrate hard and look to bat straight, it's a good track to score on.
"I'm just 20 and have played only 11 Tests, I think there are a lot more [innings like these] to come."