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22nd of July 2018


Calamity in Antigua

One moment, barely an hour into the five-day match, revealed the attitude and lack of fight that combined to produce Bangladesh's inning of 43 all out on the first day of the first Test against West Indies in Antigua yesterday. The Tigers' highest scorer with a 53-ball 25, opener Liton Das was batting along with Nurul Hasan with the score reading 34 for five. Having survived a few wild slog attempts, Liton chose that moment to once more swipe across the line off Miguel Cummins and the leading edge was caught at point.

After that moment, it was hardly a surprise that West Indies had reached 85 without loss at tea on a greenish pitch that harboured no real demons, because there was only one team playing Test cricket at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

hat it would be a debacle was evident even before Liton's T20 moment. The experienced trio of Mushfiqur Rahim, captain Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah Riyad all departed for ducks in the ninth over bowled by a red-hot Kemar Roach, whose unerring off-stump line had netted him the first five wickets to fall. Those fell to a mixture of good balls (Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur and Mahmudullah), flawed technique (Shakib) and in Mominul Haque's case, bad temperament as he chased a ball that a 'Test specialist' has no business doing off just his third delivery.

But while Mominul's indiscretion cost Bangladesh just their second wicket after Tamim had already fallen to Roach in the fifth over, Liton's wicket meant the difference between perhaps fighting to a 100-plus score and the lowest total in 44 years. With another recognised batsman at the crease, a team trying to play Test cricket would have at least tried to stick it out till lunch -- which at that point was around 15 overs away -- and regrouped over the break.

It will no doubt be pointed out that singling out the player that scored 58 per cent of the team's runs is unfair, but that outlook may well be the root of Bangladeshi debacles of the past and the present. Instead of grabbing the opportunity to stand tall amid the ruins and be remembered as the batsman who saved Bangladesh even after the big four had departed for a combined score of four, Liton's shot smacked of being satisfied with being the least culpable in a calamitous situation.

If new coach Steve Rhodes can start changing this self-serving attitude, something may yet be salvaged from this debacle.


BANGLADESH: 43 all out (Liton 25; Roach 5-8, Cummins 3-11, Holder 2-10)

WEST INDIES: 85 without loss (Smith 54 not out, Brathwaite 43 not out)

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