Only Shakib Al Hasan stood between West Indies and a series clean sweep on day four in Khulna. If it hadn’t been for his four wickets in the morning and subsequent 97, then the match would probably already be over with the tourists victors by an innings and plenty.
Nonetheless, they should still wrap up the win early tomorrow as Shakib fell to the final ball of the day to leave Bangladesh still 35 runs adrift with only four wickets remaining.
An injured Tino Best and fiery Fidel Edwards had blown away Bangladesh’s top-order in the afternoon session. They beat most of the home side’s batsmen for pace, with Edwards starting the collapse by having Nazimuddin trapped in front for a duck in the first over.
Tamim Iqbal and Shahriar Nafees entertained briefly as they had in Mirpur, but Best, nursing a sore hamstring, bowled Tamim with a beautiful in-ducker. The new batsman, Naeem Islam, went three balls later, with Nafees fending to the slips exactly four overs after that. At this stage, Best had figures of three for six and was clearly benefiting from, ever so slightly, tempering his aggression and lowering his pace to find unprecedented seam movement from the Khulna pitch.
Mushfiqur Rahim hung around for a while with Shakib, but had a brain fade and danced down the track to Veerasammy Permaul only to be clean bowled. This left Bangladesh on 82 for five and still 179 runs shy of making the West Indies bat again.
Shakib and Nasir Hossain then set about adding what will probably turn out to be just a degree of respectability to the score, and put on 144 for the sixth-wicket prior to Shakib’s untimely last-ball departure.
The all-rounder had earlier become only the second Bangladeshi, after Mohammad Rafique, to take 100 Test wickets, and was easily the most fluent of the pair. His fifty took 69 balls, with Nasir’s taking precisely 100.
Unfortunately, lack of patience and nerves were to prove his undoing. He began the final over of the day on 97 and was clearly in no mood to bed down three short of what would have been his third Test century. Permaul’s first delivery was met with a charge, which only resulted in a thick edge to a grateful Tino Best at mid-off.
With that, Bangladesh had lost their sixth wickets and any hopes of a spectacular escape on the final day now rest with Mahmudullah and Nasir, along with the tail.
Earlier, West Indies hadn’t had it all their own way as they, Chanderpaul apart, struggled against some intelligent spin bowling on a pitch that was beginning to turn appreciably and show signs of wear. Unwilling to risk Tino Best with the bat and unsure of the role that he would play in the second innings, they were cautious but still extended their lead to in excess of 250.
Denesh Ramdin lasted until the score had reached 621 and he had 31 before finally giving Bangladesh another wicket. He tried to up the tempo by aiming a slog sweep at Shakib Al Hasan but only succeeded in edging through to Mushfiqur Rahim. His innings had been one of considerable torment and had spanned 93 deliveries.
Shakib collected three of the remainder to fall and ended with figures of four for 151 from 52 overs, while Sohag Gazi had Fidel Edwards caught at slip to end with three for 167 from 57.3. West Indies had lost five wickets for just 27 runs, but that shouldn’t matter and victory should be theirs tomorrow.
© Cricket World 2012
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