History beckons for Bangladesh
Match factsFriday, July 17, 2009
Start time 10.00am (14.00 GMT)
The Big Picture
Now this is a situation Bangladesh aren't accustomed to. Undoubtedly buoyant after beating West Indies in St Vincent, Bangladesh go into the second and final Test as favourites, something they have never been against Test opposition. Forget the ugly spat between the WICB and WIPA, forget that a second-string team was put together at the last minute. The ICC recognises this as a West Indies team and Bangladesh beat them fair and square. Bangladesh need only draw this game for their first series win overseas, and second ever.
They still didn't hit the heights in the first Test but Bangladesh were good enough in the end to seal the win they needed to take a 1-0 series lead. With momentum and the knowledge that conditions in Grenada could be subcontinental, the tourists have to be fancied to wrap up the series by winning the final Test. Shakib Al Hasan, who bowled superbly and captained exceptionally on the fifth day in St Vincent as the hosts threatened to pull off a gritty escape, will lead full-time in Mashrafe Mortaza's absence.
This is a situation West Indies aren't accustomed to either. As the dispute between board and players rumbles on, West Indies will again field a weakened line-up as they seek to drawn level with Bangladesh. The hosts let themselves down in the first innings in St Vincent and will need to bounce back strongly if they are to avoid a series defeat to Bangladesh. If its inspiration they seek, well then they can look at how on the fifth morning they ran through the Bangladesh tail, taking five wickets for 24 to give themselves an outside chance of winning. The rest will have to come from better application with the bat.
This series was never going to be the stuff of headlines, but there remains enough subtext - and plenty at stake - for this Test to be an intriguing battle.
Form guide(last five matches, most recent first)
West Indies- LLLDD
Bangladesh - WLLLL
Watch out for ...
Mahmudullah Eight wickets on Test debut, a real bonus for Bangladesh. Mahmudullah, earlier considered a limited-overs specialist, stamped himself on proceedings in St Vincent with the ball, picking up five wickets in West Indies' second innings. He was relentless in applying pressure with his offspin and the home side need to watch out against him.
Omar Phillips Another debutant who made an impression in St Vincent. The young opener fell six short of what he described as "one of the easiest hundreds you will ever get at this level". Phillips' innings had laid a strong foundation for a sizable lead before Bangladesh struck back to limit the damage to 69 runs. His departure for 94, when he played a loose shot off Rubel to short cover, Phillips said, was a consequence of a change in tactics after he had reached the 90s. If he gets as far again and doesn't make any changes, watch out Bangladesh.
Bangladesh have replaced Mortaza with Enamul Haque jr, the slow left-armer who took 6 for 45 to send Bangladesh fans wild with an inaugural Test victory over Zimbabwe in 2005.
Bangladesh: (probable) 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Imrul Kayes, 3 Junaid Siddique, 4 Mohammad Ashraful, 5 Raqibul Hasan, 6 Shakib Al Hasan, 7 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 8 Mahmudullah, 9 Shahadat Hossain, 10 Rubel Hossain, 11 Nazmul Hossain.
The West Indies selectors have retained their new-look squad for the second Test, with batsman Ryan Hinds added to the team. Floyd Reifer, the captain, said after the first match that West Indies might play another batsman. In that case the likely candidate would be Hinds, who last played a Test in March in the home series against England. He will probably replace the offspinner Nikita Miller, who went wicketless. The rest of the bowlers from the first Test should pick themselves. If West Indies retain faith in Miller - who batted stubbornly for 63 minutes and 54 balls in the second innings - and decide not to play an extra batsman Hinds may still get the nod and replace Travis Dowlin who contributed only 22 and 19 in St Vincent.
West Indies: (probable) 1 Omar Phillips, 2 Dale Richards, 3 Floyd Reifer (capt), 4 Travis Dowlin, 5 David Bernand, 6 Ryan Hinds, 7 Chadwick Walton (wk), 8 Darren Sammy, 9 Kemar Roach, 10 Ryan Austin, 11 Tino Best.
Pitch and conditionsGrenada has only hosted one Test, in 2002, and that was a three-innings, high-scoring draw. This is a track known to wear slowly and assist spin as the days go on. Scattered showers are forecast in the afternoon through the five days, however. The teams' training sessions were interrupted by rain.
"It [the pitch] was a touch wet when we saw it on Wednesday. A bit of moisture maybe on top. It will be interesting to see how it eventually looks," said Shakib. "We don't have a problem with the wicket. If it is slow, which I have heard it traditionally is, then that's okay and if it is quicker than Arnos Vale then I believe our bowling, especially spin, will be more effective."
Quotes"Everybody knows I am not an out-and-out attacking bowler who will fire out batsmen. I like to build pressure and try to get among the wickets."
Darren Sammy calls it as is it.
"The boys are all keyed up. We know that our job is not finished. The best part is that we all know that it is possible."
Shakib Al Hasan knows where the momentum lies.
Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo