Bangladesh rolled for lowest score in their history

Bangladesh are no longer the easy beats they once were, and are well on their way to becoming a decent Test cricketing nation. On Wednesday though, they had a day they’d rather forget. Playing against the West Indies - not exactly the powerhouse they once were - Bangladesh were bowled out for just 43.

The innings

Incredibly, the collapse included an innings of 25 runs from opener Liton Das, meaning the rest of the scorecard makes for some pretty grim reading aside. Three of their top six batsmen, and arguably their best three in Mushfiqur Rahim, Shakib Al Hasan and Mahmudullah, all made ducks, while another, Mominal Haque made just one. 

Though Jason Holder and Miguel Cummins also contributed in a meaningful fashion for the West Indies, it was Kemar Roach doing much of the destroying. Roach was a devastating bowler earlier in his career before he missed the entire 2016 season, along with much of 2017. He has been regaining his some of his best touch recently though, and this culminated in an effort on Wednesday which saw him grab 5/8 in just 5 overs. Unbelievably, all five of these wickets came within a period of 12 balls. The figures could have been even more devastating, as they were all batsmen in the top six. The tail was waiting to be dislodged, but Holder and Cummins were given the opportunity to clean them up, leaving Roach with the still pretty reasonable figures of 5-1-8-5.

The circumstances

Bangladesh, after spending much of the past two decades building themselves into a competitive Test nation, are currently sitting at a team-high eighth in the world rankings. This places them ahead of the West Indies, who have dropped to ninth in the midst of a concerning few years in which much of the nation’s cricketing interest appears to have moved to the shorter form.

The West Indies hosting Bangladesh in a two-test series, to be followed by three ODI’s and three T20’s, is not the sure thing it once might’ve been. The home side, however, had shown some reasonable signs of late, and Bangladesh hadn’t played a Test match in over six months. Both of these sides most recent Test series’ were against the Sri Lankan’s, and both had mixed results, though the West Indies drew their series where Bangladesh lost.

The West Indies showed some good signs of improvement against Sri Lanka, something which was needed after their previous Test series in December of last year, in which they were comprehensively beaten 2-0 by the Kiwis. They earned themselves 1-1 draw in the three Test series.

Bangladesh played just two Tests against Sri Lanka, and though they showed some good signs in the first, posting 513 in one innings, they were beaten pretty comfortably in the second.

Still, they would have headed to West Indies with a lot of hope that they could get the job done. Considering it is only partway through the first match of a two Test series, maybe they still can. The early signs, however, are not good, having been bowled out for 43 and conceded 2/201 within the first day of the series. 

Considering that Bangladesh have been a pretty small fish in a very big pond for many years on the Test cricketing arena, it’s somewhat surprising that this total is comfortably the lowest in their history. Prior to that, their worst score was 62, which came against Sri Lanka way back in 2007. Back then, they were a far inferior team, which means the score of 43 with their current team, particularly a batting lineup boasting the likes of Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al-Hazan and Mahmudullah, is even more disappointing.

For two sides sitting at the tail end of the world rankings, these kind of series against similarly matched teams are important. The signs are bright that Test cricket in the West Indies still has some place after a bowling performance that brought back memories of a bygone era, but for Bangladesh, they will need to dig deep to turn things around.