Sat, Jul 11, 2009 - Page 18 News List

Bangladesh off to a solid start

GAME ON Openers Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes put on 42 without loss in the 18.5 overs possible on Thursday in a rain-affected first day against a scratch West Indies side


Bangladesh’s Imrul Kayes plays a shot off the bowling of David Bernard of the West Indies during the first Test at the Arnos Vale Ground in Kingstown on Thursday.


Openers Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes gave Bangladesh a solid start in the 18.5 overs possible before rain prompted an early close to the first Test against a second-string West Indies on Thursday.

Tamim was 14 not out and Kayes 26 not out as Bangladesh, electing to bat, reached 42 without loss in their first innings before stumps were drawn half an hour earlier than scheduled on the opening day at the Arnos Vale Sports Complex.

Not a ball was bowled before the scheduled lunch interval, but Kayes and Tamim remained steadfast in the face of aggressive opening spells from Tino Best and Kemar Roach after play started three hours later than scheduled.

After Tamim slashed a delivery from Roach over second slip, he settled down, but Kayes played a few handsome off-side strokes after undergoing a thorough examination from Best and Roach in particular.

However, the action came to an end when the rain arrived after an hour and this forced an early tea.

The players returned for another 4.5 overs before another, much heavier downpour finished play off for the day.

There was great interest in the Test from within the Caribbean and around the rest of the world, after it appeared to be in serious doubt only 48 hours earlier.

The West Indies Cricket Board was forced into assembling a new-look side after a contract dispute with its leading players led to a boycott by the 13-member squad which was announced on Monday.

The 13 players, including captain Chris Gayle, vice-captain Denesh Ramdin, top batsmen Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan, as well as key fast bowler Jerome Taylor are protesting playing four consecutive tournaments without a contract, outstanding payments and other issues.

However, the board was successful in finding players willing to don the maroon cap and there were seven Test debutants in the side which is being led by long-standing Barbadian left-handed batsman Floyd Reifer.

“What we have said to the guys is: This is a Test match and it is an opportunity for them to showcase their skills to the cricket public here in the Caribbean and to the world,” West Indies coach John Dyson said.

Of the seven newcomers, Roach has appeared in two one-day internationals and one Twenty20 international, while left-arm spinner Nikita Miller has played 15 one-day internationals over the last year.

Opening batsman Dale Richards made the recent trip to England, but failed to break into the Test squad before he returned home early with an injury.

Darren Sammy is vice-captain and the only player in the 11 who has commanded a regular place in the full-strength West Indies side over the last year.

Best, who earned a recall after four years in the cricket wilderness, and all-rounder Dave Bernard Jr, who featured in the recent home one-day international series against India, are the only other players to have previously played in a Test along with Reifer and Sammy.

Bangladesh handed Test debuts to Mahmudullah and fast bowler Rubel Hossain, both of whom have played one-day internationals for the Tigers.

Rubel has established himself as one of the fast bowlers and off-spinner Mahmudullah should expect a fair bit of bowling on a typically low and slow pitch.

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