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Well done, Windies!


Colin Croft

Well done, Windies!

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Test?No.1 was a great start for the West Indies. They certainly showed that determination that made them champions in Twenty20s, but this time in the most difficult longest version of the game. Well done, boys!
Despite earlier reservations, West Indies do have the right bowlers to get the right results, for now.  
Even as Bangladesh made 556 in their first innings, Tino Best, Ravi Rampaul, Sunil Narine, Veerasammy Permaul and Darren Sammy – augmented by Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels – operated well to get this positive result.
There was also much conjecture on eventual West Indies’ first innings declaration at only 527-4. It seemed quite strange at the time.  
Did West Indies believe that they could have dismissed Bangladesh cheaply in their first dig, or were West Indies taking Bangladesh for granted?    
With this result, captain Darren Sammy and coach Ottis Gibson should be very well pleased with their decision. They have come up trumps.  
The end justified the means. Even after being led on first innings, West Indies bowled wonderfully well in the second innings, especially the effervescent Tino Best, thus justifying that earlier declaration.
Also, pleasingly, like ‘Old Man River’, Shivnarine Chanderpaul still keeps rolling along.  
After the massive, deserved hoopla of West Indies winning World T20 2012, “Tiger” missing out, it was great for him to come back to international cricket still with that insatiable hunger, attitude and aptitude for runs.
This second double century for the venerable veteran, again left not out, surprisingly again at 203, was a good test of his patience and know-how against fairly good spin.  
While the veteran played his standard serene innings, scoring at an acceptable strike rate, it was the youngest player of the touring squad, Kieran Powell, who actually took the bouquets in both innings.
Everyone recognized 22-year-old Powell’s talents when he came to full public consumption, playing for Nevis early in the Stanford T20 series. By then, young as he was, he had already garnered a reputation of being a “basher.” Hence, his absolute transition to Test opening batsman has been quite admirable.
Chairman of West Indies selectors Clyde Butts would also be silently smiling inside. He had always suggested that our “KP” was someone special and would eventually come good.  
Powell’s twin centuries came in only his 12th Test and he has some distance to get to “GG’s” efforts. With his youth and abilities, it is likely that Powell could play as many Tests and even aspire to be like Chanderpaul and get to 10 000 plus runs.   
Denesh Ramdin’s third Test century is also very welcomed. There had been murmurs that his returns – 1663 runs, 47 Tests, average 23.42 – were not good enough for modern-day wicket-keepers. Even in a West Indies team that is so strong in batting, Ramdin needs to score high regularly.
Sunil Narine got three first wickets for 148 runs. His patience is growing well but as he must have realized by now, and from his exploits earlier this year, Test cricket is not T20s.
• Colin Croft is a former Guyana and West Indies fast bowler.

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