Alzarri Joseph will return to the side after a gap of seven months. © CWI

Alzarri Joseph will return to the side after a gap of seven months. © CWI

Bangladesh will be relieved that Kemar Roach is out of the picture, but that doesn’t remove them from the danger zone yet as Windies will retain their alpha status when they head into the second Test at Kingston from Thursday (July 11).

Having decimated Bangladesh in the first of two games by an innings and 219 runs on the back of a sterling bowling performance, none more impressive than Roach, the hosts are likely to maintain the same eleven for this contest. Only Alzarri Joseph will replace Roach, who even missed the second innings in the first Test due to a hamstring strain, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Joseph is returning to international cricket after a seven-month layoff due to injury and will be raring to have a crack at this soft Bangladesh batting line-up. The 21-year-old is likely to feature alongside Jason Holder, Shannon Gabriel and Miguel Cummins. 

Devendra Bishoo and Roston Chase will be the spin options for Windies, but on a track known to assist pacemen for most part of the five days, they won’t have much work to do. The spinners will certainly have more than six overs (combined) to bowl out in this contest unlike in the first Test, and that could help relieve Bangladesh’s stress.

Bangladesh’s highest score of 64 in the first Test came from Nurul Hasan in the second innings, and he was their No.8 batsmen. One of the significant takeaways from Nurul’s innings was that he wasn’t scared to go after the ball when it was there to be hit. Unlike the others though, he practised caution when the ball was in the length region and shaping either way. The rest of Bangladesh’s batting order was guilty of poking at deliveries which could just as well have been left alone. 

While batting was the biggest cause for the massive loss (being bowled out for 43 and 144 usually instigates such a thing), their bowling wasn’t particularly spot on either. Abu Jayed and Mehidy Hasan Miraz finished with three apiece but even they were on target only sporadically. Rubel Hossain, Kamrul Islam Rabbi, Shakib Al Hasan and the part-timers were barely consistent and that helped Windies realise a century through Kraigg Brathwaite and a couple of fifties through Devon Smith and Shai Hope.

Teams (from): Windies: Jason Holder (capt), Devendra Bishoo, Kraigg Brathwaite, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich (wk), Shannon Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Keemo Paul, Kieran Powell, Alzarri Joseph, Devon Smith.

Bangladesh: Shakib Al Hasan(capt), Tamim Iqbal, Imrul Kayes, Mushfiqur Rahim (wk), Mahmudullah, Liton Das, Mominul Haque, Mehidy Hasan, Taijul Islam, Kamrul Islam Rabbi, Rubel Hossain, Nurul Hasan, Abu Jayed, Nazmul Hossain Shanto, Shafiul Islam.

Shakib, the returning captain after a gap of seven years, is in a pickle and it won’t be easy for him to shake this one off, but he has galvanised the troops in the past and quite possibly will here too. 

Holder, meanwhile, has grown in strength as a Test skipper and has made the most of the resources on offer. Many big names don’t feature for the national side anymore but that hasn’t stopped Windies from putting up some inspiring performances of late, especially in the longest format. 

Windies will leapfrog Bangladesh to eighth on the ICC Test Rankings irrespective of the result of this game. That also means Bangladesh can put behind their fear of failure and give it all they’ve got because they don’t have much else to lose.