West Indies seek top-order revival
Match factsTuesday, July 28, 2009
Start time 09.30am (13.30 GMT)
The Big Picture
The disappointment of West Indies' defeat in the series opener was not confined to their performance. They didn't get the pitch they wanted. This, despite the curator Richard LeTang's assertion that spinners would have a hard time on the Windsor Park track in response to West Indies coach John Dyson's call for a "hard, pacy and bouncy wicket." Instead, the track was not unlike the ones used in the Tests, where Bangladesh's spinners thrived and ultimately won their team its first series overseas. West Indies' problems against the slow bowlers showed little improvement in the first ODI, the batsmen succumbing to poor footwork and shot selection. The pitch played slow, the spinners got the ball to grip and one can expect little change in the way it will behave tomorrow. Unless the brittle top-order devises a means to combat Bangladesh's strength, West Indies could slide to their first ODI series defeat against the visitors.
Bangladesh are a happy lot. Shakib Al Hasan has backed his shrewd captaincy with individual performance, Mohammad Ashraful has returned to form and Abdur Razzak has made a successful comeback from his suspension. Add to that the favourable conditions, and Bangladesh look good to wrap it up.
Form Guide(last five matches, most recent first)
West Indies: LNLWL
Watch out for....
Mohammad Ashraful and Mahmudullah: Ashraful's relatively guarded half-century was a sign of his determination to end a woeful run and should give him ample confidence as he tries to rediscover his dominating game. We know of Mahmudullah's ability as an offspinner but he proved his worth with the bat in the first game, smacking 42. His average of 26.46 isn't bad for a lower-order batsman, and given his talent, it can only improve.
Devon Smith and David Bernard: The pair threatened an upset in the first game and dealt with the spinners particularly well. Smith's experience in the international circuit is an asset, while Bernard's all-round skills are much-needed ammunition for a struggling West Indies outfit.
Wicketkeeper Andre Fletcher continued his poor form with the bat, and West Indies will be tempted to give Devon Thomas a go. Dale Richards is an attacking opener but has struggled against spin. Though his style of play may pay off on his day, Kieran Powell, the left-handed batsman, may just be considered. Fast bowler Nelon Pascal had an indifferent debut, and Gavin Tonge could be given a call-up.
West Indies (possible): 1 Devon Smith, 2 Dale Richards/Kieran Powell, 3 Travis Dowlin, 4 David Bernard, 5 Floyd Reifer (capt), 6 Devon Thomas (wk), 7 Darren Sammy, 8 Rawl Lewis, 9 Nikita Miller, 10 Kemar Roach, 11 Nelon Pascal/ Gavin Tonge.
Bangladesh are likely to retain a winning combination and a four-pronged spin attack.
Bangladesh (possible): 1 Tamim Iqbal, 2 Junaid Siddique, 3 Mohammad Ashraful, 4 Raqibul Hasan, 5 Shakib Al Hasan (capt), 6 Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), 7 Mahmudullah, 8 Naeem Islam, 9 Abdur Razzak, 10 Syed Rasel, 11 Rubel Hossain.
Stats and Trivia
If Bangladesh win tomorrow, they will have recorded their ninth bilateral ODI series victory but their first against a current Test-playing nation.
West Indies, with a full-strength squad, have played four ODI series this year and lost each of them.
"We are not getting enough partnerships at the top of the innings."
"I have been surprised by the nature of the pitches in the Caribbean."
Shakib Al Hasan couldn't have asked for anything better
Siddhartha Talya is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo