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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Roach bowls out Bangla for a lowly 43

In 1970s & 1980s – West Indies were unbeatable .. ..We grew up watching the exploits of the WI team led by Clive Lloyd, batting giants Isaac Vivian Richards, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes…. Battery of fast bowlers – Andy  Roberts, Holding, Garner, Marshall … Croft, Ambrose, Patterson, Walsh, Bishop and more…………  the team unitedly called West Indies – but representative of more Nations that dominated the Cricket world for decades.

Cricket balls weigh not less than 5 1/2 ounces/155.9g, nor more than 5 3/4 ounces/163g, and shall measure not less than 8 13/16 in/22.4cm, nor more than 9 in/22.9cm in circumference. The red cherry hurled at 100 mph can be devastating as it gives less than a fraction for the batsmen to decide its trajectory, height and the length and react on whether to duck, defend or hook. .. .. and those were the times, when batsmen World over mortally feared the WI pacers.

Roberts, Holding, Croft  & Garner

In Test Cricket, teams getting bowled out for paltry double digit scores do not occur quite often and India’s nadir was that 42 all out in 1974.  Remember that test in Port of Spain in Mar 1994, when Curtly Ambrose broke the English batting line-up consisting of  Mark Atherton, Alec Stewart, Mark Ramprakash, Robin Smith, Greame Hick, Graham Thorpe, Ian Salisbury, Jack Russel, CG Lewis, Andy Caddick and Angus Fraser – bowled out for an ignominious 46 in just 19.1 overs.  Ambrose had magical figures of 10—1-24-6.

West Indies have struggled in the recent decades – though once a while, a fast bowler hurling red cherry surfaces.  One such is Kemar Roach.  In a land where fast bowling talent has been dwindling alarmingly over the last decade, Kemar Roach is not as tall as his famous predecessors, yet  he has extreme pace, consistently touching the late 140s (kph), and can skid on to batsmen quicker than they realise.  Now Bangladeshi batsmen know it too well. A searing string of 12 balls was all Kemar Roach required to make a light work of the Bangladesh batting line-up in North Sound. He picked up five wickets, the opposition crumbled to 43 all out, and all this happened while the fast bowler was battling hamstring trouble.

If his maiden over up front was a cue to what was to follow, his fifth gave a glimpse of what the visitors will have to deal with in the coming days. Roach knocked out Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah and Shakib Al Hasan, allowing none of them to score any runs and sent Bangladesh on their way to the lowest total in the last 44 years of Test cricket. After being put into bat on a well-grassed pitch, Bangladesh could not even last the first session. Their 43 all out was the lowest total in Test cricket in 44 years and the second-shortest first innings.

In response, West Indies' openers showed good application and added 113 for the first wicket. Kraigg Brathwaite was at his dogged best, making an unbeaten 88 off 204 balls, while Devon Smith provided able support with a fifty of his own - 58 off 123 balls. After he became Abu Jayed's maiden Test wicket, Kieran Powell lifted the scoring rate with 48 off 65 balls.

But the day belonged to Roach. Backed up by Shannon Gabriel who was fresh from a 20-wicket series against Sri Lanka, the new-ball pair put Tamim Iqbal and Liton Das under early pressure with a clever mix of full and short deliveries, beating their inside and outside edges repeatedly with the new ball.
Roach  removed Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah in a space of four deliveries in his fifth over. Nurul Hasan somehow managed to avert the hat-trick. His 5 for 8 in five overs broke Bangladesh's spine and possibly ruined their West Indies tour as early as the first hour of the first Test.

Bangladesh’s abysmal  43 - their lowestscore in Tests, is  the lowest by any team since India were dismissed for 42 in 1974. The previous lowest score by Bangladesh was 62 against Sri Lanka in 2007. This is also the lowest score for which West Indies has dismissed any opposition in Test cricket, and the lowest score in the Carribean.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
5th July 2018.

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