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Monday, March 1, 2021

Kyle Mayers creates history at Chattogram !

Ever read about Chattogram !  .. .. has a long history though !!    Ibn Battuta visited the port city in 1345.  Niccolò de' Conti, from Venice, also visited around the same time as Battuta. Chinese admiral Zheng He's treasure fleet anchored in Chittagong during imperial missions to the Sultanate of Bengal.  This place featured prominently in the military history of the Bengal Sultanate, including during the Reconquest of Arakan and the Bengal Sultanate–Kingdom of Mrauk U War of 1512–1516.

A couple of years back,  Bangladesh changed the English name of its second largest city from Chittagong to Chattogram, in line with how locals pronounce and write the name in Bengali  ! The government also changed the English spellings of four other districts to reflect the indigenous names. Comilla was changed to be written as Cumilla, Barisal -  Barishal, Jessore -  Jashore, and Bogra- became Bogura.  

Zahur Ahmad Chowdhury  was  a Bangladesh Awami League politician and a former Minister of Health and Family Welfare, in his honour the Cricket stadium at Chittagong was named - Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.  Situated about half-an-hour outside the city centre, the Chittagong Divisional Stadium was one of the five purpose-built cricket grounds established in the run-up to the 2004 Under-19 World Cup. It was finally granted full international status in January 2006, ahead of Sri Lanka's visit to the country. The stadium  is an unremarkable concrete bowl set in acres of prime agricultural land, with a three-tier pavilion providing the focal point.

Away from all the melee and history – what a match it was and what a debut it turned out to be for the not so well known 28 year old  left-handed batting allrounder - Kyle Rico Mayers.  In the test no 2407 – fortunes kept changing and in the end it was a grand victory for the visiting Wes Indies.  Mayers was the player of the match. 

Chittagong, officially Chattogram now is a major coastal city and financial centre in southeastern Bangladesh. It is the capital of an eponymous District and Division. The city is located on the banks of the Karnaphuli River between the Chittagong Hill Tracts and the Bay of Bengal. Modern Chittagong is Bangladesh's second most significant urban center after Dhaka.Chittagong plays a vital role in the Bangladeshi economy. The Port of Chittagong, one of the world's oldest ports, whose coast appeared on Ptolemy's world map, is the principal maritime gateway to the country. The port is the busiest international seaport on the Bay of Bengal and the third busiest in South Asia. The Chittagong Stock Exchange is one of the country's two stock markets. Chittagong is an ancient seaport due to its natural harbor. 

 Kyle Rico Mayers from Barbados rose to write his name in history with a double century in a tough situation in his debut match – that too in the 4th innings.  A left-handed batsman who bowls useful medium pace, Kyle Mayers travelled to England as a reserve for West Indies in 2020 before making his T20I debut in New Zealand later in the year. In successful fourth-inning chases this big, it is only natural that the batsmen who take their team to that height, are themselves quite special.

Going by how they lost the ODI series 0-3 and the way this Chattogram Test was panning out for four days, the only people who could have believed that West Indies could win, were inside the West Indies dressing room. And, that's exactly what happened. Kyle Mayers was playing his first Test match in a country he was touring for the first time, where his team has been struggling for close to a month. He only made it to the side after several of West Indies' top players pulled out of the tour.

The debutant Mayers scored a magnificent 210 not out as West Indies pulled off the fifth-highest successful chase in Test cricket, and highest in Asia, nailing down 395 for a miraculous three-wicket win on the final evening in Chattogram. In a display of exemplary temperament and power-hitting, Mayers struck 20 fours and seven sixes during his 310-ball stay at the crease. When he hit the winning run, a hurried single to mid-on, only 15 balls were left in the Test. During the course of his innings, he became only the sixth batsman to score a double-century on Test debut, and also the sixth overall to score a double-ton in the fourth innings of a Test. Unsurprisingly, Mayers is the only one on both lists.

For the most part of the final day, Mayers was accompanied by fellow debutant Nkrumah Bonner, who himself struck a gritty 86. The duo added 216 for the fourth wicket and kept Bangladesh wicketless for the first two sessions of the day. That left West Indies needing 129 in a minimum of 33 overs in the final session. Bonner, who had survived a stumping chance against Nayeem Hasan before tea, hit Taijul Islam for a six in the first over after the interval but was lbw on the very next ball. Jermaine Blackwood too fell soon after. After slog-sweeping Taijul over long-on for six, he went for another big hit against Hasan, only to be bowled for 9. With West Indies 292 for 5 and the target still 103 runs away, Bangladesh had their hopes renewed. Suddenly there were four men close to the bat.  Mayers was at his striking-best when the last hour commenced. With 61 required at that stage, he backed himself to clear the boundary-riders and scored 49 by himself, in just 40 balls, bludgeoning five sixes and a four.

Great match and a great start to his career by Mayers ! – well, played. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar


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