SPORTS NEWS

Windies set to host Bangladesh with eye on improving Test ranking

North Sound, July 3: After holding Sri Lanka 1-1 in the recently-concluded three-match Test rubber, the West Indies are all geared up to host Bangladesh in a two-match Test series, starting here on Wednesday.

The home side start the series at No.9 in the ICC Test Team Rankings, just behind their opponents, but a 2-0 series win will take them above Bangladesh to No.8, and that’s on their radar, according to an International Cricket Council (ICC) release.

There were three players in the main that drove the Windies’ fortunes against Sri Lanka in the series.

Shane Dowrich, the first-choice wicket-keeper, was the batting star, totalling 288 runs in six innings with a century and two half-centuries. His unbeaten 125 in the first Test was the prime reason for his team’s win.
Jason Holder, the captain, underscored his all-round potential again with 198 runs, including a best of 74 in the final Test and 12 wickets, nine of which came in the same Test as that half-century.

And Shannon Gabriel, the paceman, tore through the Sri Lankan batting in the second Test for returns of 5/59 and 8/62. In all, he picked up 20 wickets in the series.

Even though the team didn’t always perform as a unit, the three stars had good support from Kieran Powell, Roston Chase, Kraigg Brwathwaite, Shai Hope and Devon Smith at crucial times, while Kemar Roach showed positive signs a lot of the way.

The hosts also recalled batsman Shimron Hetmyer to the squad while retaining paceman Keemo Paul. The only change was uncapped reserve-wicketkeeper Jahmar Hamilton missing out.

Bangladesh, meanwhile, haven’t played much Test cricket of late. When they did earlier this year, against Sri Lanka at home, they lost 0-1.
Mominul Haque, the No.3 batsman, was their best with the bat then, scoring two centuries on his way to 314 runs in four innings.

But over four innings, there were only four other half-centuries, seniors Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim scoring one each.

Similarly, Taijul Islam was the only one to pick up wickets regularly — 12 in total — with the rest of the bowlers not showing too much penetration.
The return of Shakib Al Hasan, as captain, should help the team. Shakib is one of the premier all-rounders in the game and though not in particularly good form of late, can add a lot to the team in both departments.

Importantly for Shakib and his teammates, they did well in the two-day tour game against a Cricket West Indies President’s XI side.

Iqbal (125) and Mahmudullah (102) struck centuries, while Abu Jayed and Shafiul Islam picked up two wickets apiece. Shakib also signalled a return to decent form with an innings of 67. IANS