Match Analysis

Incisive West Indies pounce on self-defeating Bangladesh's brittle batting

Visitors' top four's numbers so far in 2022 read 13 ducks with only six fifty-plus scores, and a collective average of 21.65

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
Kyle Mayers traps Nurul Hasan, who was struck on the pads after not offering a shot, West Indies vs Bangladesh, 1st Test, Antigua, Day 1, June 16, 2022

Kyle Mayers, Jayden Seales, Alzarri Joseph and Nkrumah Bonner only just arrived in Antigua from Multan  •  AFP/Getty Images

Shakib Al Hasan hasn't looked this helpless for a long time. Shortly after Kyle Mayers delivered a double-wicket maiden to gut the Bangladesh middle order, there was nothing left for the new captain to do. He hadn't faced a single ball while his team had crashed to 45 for 6 one hour into the match.
If their 2018 visit to Antigua and their 2022 batting form is anything to go by, then the fate of the innings, the Test and the series was all but decided in the first hour.
Within minutes of assessing the depth of Bangladesh's collapse, Shakib proceeded to slog, hack and chance his arm for the remaining hour-and-a-half. It was definitely ugly. It was not first-day Test-match batting by any stretch of the imagination. But what could he do, really? Shakib's 51 off 67 balls at least got Bangladesh to three-figures.
Unless the bowlers put together a miraculous comeback on the second day, West Indies are already on top of this contest. Kemar Roach and Jayden Seales gave them a strong start, before Mayers and Alzarri Joseph rammed home the advantage with tight lines and subtle movement. Bangladesh were bowled out for 103.
Mind you, Seales, Joseph, Mayers and Nkrumah Bonner, who took two catches at slip, had only just arrived in Antigua from Multan where they played an ODI series against Pakistan. Modern cricketers are used to jetlag, but they're still human beings. And human beings can't just rock up to a Test match after flying halfway across the world and not feel some aftereffects.
Bangladesh had an opportunity to exploit that. Instead, they succumbed to their demons. Fresh off a home Test defeat in which their batters scored six ducks in the first innings, they proceeded to get exactly as many on the first day in Antigua too.
Young opener Mahmudul Hasan Joy continued to blow hot and cold as he got out for without scoring for the fifth time in seven Tests. He has also made 78 in New Zealand and 137 in South Africa, but poking at everything outside off stump is fast becoming a (bad) habit. At No. 3, Najmul Hossain Shanto's 'talented' tag is wearing thin. He is considered Bangladesh's future, but just one half-century in his last 17 Test innings is testing this idea heavily.
Mominul Haque, in his first innings after resigning from Test captaincy, was again behind the eight ball. He is going through a bad patch, which every player does. But being rushed against fast bowling doesn't look good for someone who, just a year ago, had seemed so at ease in Test cricket.
The Bangladesh top four's numbers in the first six months of 2022 don't make good reading: 13 ducks with only six fifty-plus scores, and a collective average of 21.65. Much of it is due to the poor form of Mominul and Shanto.
Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudul, Shanto and Mominul were all gone by the 14th over in Antigua. Without Mushfiqur Rahim and his understudy Yasir Ali, this was self-defeating to say the least. When Mayers removed the in-form Litton Das and Nurul Hasan in the same over, it wasn't just two meaty blows to the visitors' batting line-up. It was the end of the match as a contest.
Litton didn't show a semblance of patience, which was a surprise given his impressive form this year. Nurul, whose domestic form demanded a return to both the red- and white-ball teams, was lbw while leaving the ball.
All this left Shakib having to swing at everything. He managed to get set despite trying to slog half the balls in an over, and trying to farm the strike in the other three. When he was set, he started to pick gaps by going over the fielders. Shakib didn't even have the time or space to bat properly.
Bangladesh's tail-enders were never in with a chance. And it is a proper tail after Mehidy Hasan Miraz gets out, especially when they don't pick Taijul Islam. Russell Domingo, Jamie Siddons and Khaled Mahmud have their work cut out managing not just the top order, but also in giving the tail some confidence.
The BCB have ensured ample training camps for the South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies series, but no amount of training or motivation seem to be working for the Bangladesh batters. West Indies applied the same, simple formula that South Africa and Sri Lanka did in the preceding few months. They waited for the Bangladesh batters' mistakes, and those came thick and fast.
Perhaps it really was best that none of this was shown on TV back home.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84