CASTRIES – Left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn bowled a marathon 32 overs to snuff out Bangladesh’s resistance with his sixth five-wicket haul and ensured West Indies won their 500th Test emphatically by 296 runs and complete a 2-0 series whitewash on the fourth day of the Test at the Beausejour Stadium today.
Bangladesh conceded their last eight wickets for 34 runs, emblematic of their fortunes in 2014. Ultimately the fight from Tamim Iqbal and Mominul Haque for nearly three hours ended up a footnote.
Benn posed a constant threat, questioning them with some turn and uneven bounce. With only the lunch break to refresh himself, he bowled unchanged from the 10th to the 50th overs. His perseverance was rewarded when Iqbal was lured by the swathes of space on the leg side and top-edged a slog sweep into Shannon Gabriel’s waiting hands. This was 3:42 p.m. and by the next 23 minutes, Bangladesh’s middle-order was ripped open.
Mahmudullah fell in the next over, the 60th, trapped lbw by an in-dipper from Gabriel. His review only confirmed the fact that the ball would have hit leg stump. Mominul struck the first ball of the next over, a full-toss from Benn, down midwicket’s throat. He and Iqbal had ground 110 runs in 47.1 overs to inspire hope in the dressing room. But when Nasir Hossain fell for 2, the collapse had reached its crescendo and ultimately turned the day into an anti-climax. Bangladesh had been 158 for 2 and lost four wickets for nine runs.
Jerome Taylor got through captain Mushfiqur Rahim’s defences for a second time in the match, bowling him with a delivery that nipped through bat and pad. This was his 99th Test wicket and four balls later, he made it 100 by clean bowling Robiul Islam, and became the 20th West Indian to reach the milestone.
The innings ended when Shafiul Islam moved away to cut a ball, but Kemar Roach was too quick for him, ending the innings in the 78th over.
The collapse had soured some the batting from Mominul and Iqbal. They got together at 48 for 2 with lunch only a few minutes away. They got through that tricky period and progressed cautiously to tea – making it the second session of the tour that Bangladesh hadn’t lost a wicket. There had been an opportunity though but Darren Bravo dropped a regulation chance of Mominul at first slip.
Neither batsman was perturbed by playing for time. They spent 21 overs without a boundary and Iqbal’s 181-ball 64 was his fourth-longest innings in terms of balls faced and his count of two fours and a six was the lowest when he had played over 100 balls.
Strokeplay was not completely shelved though as Iqbal slogged Benn to the midwicket boundary twice in the 28th over. Mominul hit straighter when the left-arm spinner over-pitched, confirming a plan to only find boundaries when they were sure of a bad ball.
A passing drizzle forced an early tea but both batsmen continued diligently on with Iqbal reaching his slowest fifty, off 146 balls. He followed it up with a drive that tore through the covers as Bangladesh recorded only their second hundred partnership of the series. It was also the second century stand between Iqbal and Mominul, the first also coming in a rearguard action against New Zealand in October last year.
Mominul then reached his fifty, also his slowest, off 125 balls. Two overs later, Iqbal threw it away and so would Mominul on 56.
Bangladesh’s troubles began in the first session after Ramdin declared with 75 minutes before the lunch interval. Shamsur Rahman’s response to the task of batting out a minimum of 169 overs was to go after the bowling, but his jaunt lasted just 38 minutes. He drove a couple of overpitched deliveries to the boundary before launching into Taylor’s short ball barrage. He flicked a boundary then pulled two sixes off successive balls, taking 16 off the seventh over.
The only fielder Ramdin pushed back was Kirk Edwards to deep square-leg, who had to wait for four balls in Taylor’s next over before Shamsur’s out-of-control hook landed in his lap. A 27-ball 39 at the top of the scorecard would stick out as a sore thumb when the situation of the match was considered.
Ramdin quickly swapped Taylor out with Benn and gained immediate reward. Anamul Haque followed one that turned and bounced to nick off for a duck.
Earlier West Indies’ control of the Test at the decisive stage came courtesy of Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s 30th Test hundred. When he tucked away his 134th ball round the corner for a single, he not only went past Sir Don Bradman’s 29 centuries, he became only the second batsman to remain undefeated throughout a Test series (minimum of three innings) and scored 200-plus runs. He made 269 runs with two fifties and the century. Jacques Kallis was the first to do so, against Zimbabwe in 2001. Chanderpaul was named Man of the Match while Kraigg Brathwaite was named Man of the Series.