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July 20, 2009
Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh's stand-in captain, has hailed the series win over West Indies as his country's most significant achievement since being granted Test status in 2000.
"In our nine years, this is the biggest thing that has happened to Bangladesh cricket," Shakib said after a makeshift West Indies were downed in the series with a four-wicket loss in Grenada. "This series victory will give a boost to our confidence, and will help to take us to the next level, and with God's help, we shall go forward.
"There was not too much pressure on us [on Monday], since the boys have been playing really, really well. It was a good victory." The team will receive a bonus of US$214,000, which is more than seven times what the board usually gives for a Test series win.
Shakib was a shoo-in for Man of the Match after taking eight wickets - five in West Indies' second innings - and hitting an unbeaten 96 from just 97 deliveries to seal Bangladesh's first overseas series win. Bangladesh were stumbling on 67 for 4 during the afternoon session but Shakib and Raqibul Hasan (65) added 106. This was only Bangladesh's third win in 61 Tests.
The tour went ahead against the backdrop of chaos and controversy as major West Indies players withdrew as a result of the continuing impasse between the West Indies Cricket Board and the West Indies Players Association over contracts. A replacement squad was drafted in on the eve of the first Test in St Vincent but Bangladesh won there and repeated their success in the second Test emphatically.
Floyd Reifer, who was appointed captain at short notice, identified West Indies' second innings as the turning point for defeat. "We had a good opportunity to win the game in the second innings, but we did not bat too well," he said. "We always knew we needed around 280 runs to have a fighting chance to win the game and we fell way short.
"It is pretty difficult to defend a victory target of 215. All they needed was one good partnership to have a good chance. But I felt [Darren] Sammy bowled well, and our guys tried very hard, but it was a tough game."
Spin accounted for 15 of 20 West Indian wickets in the first Test and 18 in Grenada and Reifer addressed the frailty. "In our domestic first-class competition, the spinners get the most wickets every year," he said. "This is something we will have to examine closely as players, as coaches, and try to work out the best way to play spin bowling."
The teams now play three one-day internationals and a Twenty20 international. "There are many positives we can take away from the Tests, and take into the one-day international series, so we shall be positive and look to win the series," said Reifer.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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