The duo added 216 as Mehidy Hasan Miraz’s first-innings ton and two four-fors went in vain
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Debutant Kyle Mayers scored a magnificent 210 not out as West Indies pulled off the fifth-highest successful chase in Test cricket, and highest in Asia, nailing down 395 for a miraculous three-wicket win on the final evening in Chattogram.
In a display of exemplary temperament and power-hitting, Mayers struck 20 fours and seven sixes during his 310-ball stay at the crease. When he hit the winning run, a hurried single to mid-on, only 15 balls were left in the Test. During the course of his innings, he became only the sixth batsman to score a double-century on Test debut, and also the sixth overall to score a double-ton in the fourth innings of a Test. Unsurprisingly, Mayers is the only one on both lists.
For the most part of the final day, Mayers was accompanied by fellow debutant Nkrumah Bonner, who himself struck a gritty 86. The duo added 216 for the fourth wicket and kept Bangladesh wicketless for the first two sessions of the day.
That left West Indies needing 129 in a minimum of 33 overs in the final session. Bonner, who had survived a stumping chance against Nayeem Hasan before tea, hit Taijul Islam for a six in the first over after the interval but was lbw on the very next ball. Jermaine Blackwood too fell soon after. After slog-sweeping Taijul over long-on for six, he went for another big hit against Hasan, only to be bowled for 9.
With West Indies 292 for 5 and the target still 103 runs away, Bangladesh had their hopes renewed. Suddenly there were four men close to the bat. But it also meant there were many gaps in the outfield and Mayers and Joshua Da Silva took advantage of that, hitting a four each in one Hasan over. A few minutes later, when Mayers pulled Hasan over deep midwicket for a six to bring the target down to 76, Bangladesh were forced to spread the field once again.
Mayers was at his striking-best when the last hour commenced. With 61 required at that stage, he backed himself to clear the boundary-riders and scored 49 by himself, in just 40 balls, bludgeoning five sixes and a four. Taijul, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Mustafizur Rahman, no one was spared. In a 100-run stand with Da Silva for the sixth wicket, Mayers’ contribution was 80.
The credit must go to Da Silva as well who played a perfect foil to Mayers and must have calmed the nerves in the dressing room. He was eventually bowled for 20 when the target was just three runs away. Kemar Roach also fell on the same score – caught at leg slip off Miraz, who ended with a hundred and eight wickets in the match – but by then the result was sealed.
Bangladesh, however, will rue the chances they missed and the reviews they didn’t take, apart from losing Shakib Al Hasan to a thigh injury on the second day of the Test.
West Indies started the day on 110 for 3, and in the first hour alone there were at least three opportunities Bangladesh should have been converted into wickets. Mayers was on 47 when Taijul got one to straighten from around the wicket to hit the batsman on the pads. There was a loud appeal for lbw but umpire Richard Illingworth deemed it not out. Bangladesh didn’t opt for the review but replays showed Mayers would have been out had they done so.
Shortly afterwards, Miraz induced an outside edge off Mayers bat but this time Najmul Hossain Shanto put it down at first slip. The resulting single took Mayers to his fifty.
Bangladesh missed another opportunity to overturn an on-field decision when Hasan got one to turn sharply from outside off and ping Bonner’s pads. Illingworth once again ruled it in the batsman’s favour. Replays, once again, confirmed he was wrong. Bonner was on 25 at that point.
The Bangladesh spinners were also guilty of not bowling enough full-length deliveries, allowing Bonner and Mayers to wait on the back foot and adjust to whatever turn and bounce the pitch offered.
Mayers was the aggressor right from the start, cutting and pulling spinners to the square boundaries. When Rahman was brought into the attack, he welcomed him with a four and six off successive deliveries. Bonner, meanwhile, was happy to keep his end occupied. By lunch, their contrasting approaches led to the comparisons with Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant’s knocks in India’s win against Australia in Brisbane last month.
The two, however, seemed to have switched roles in the second session. In the second over after lunch, Bonner cleared his front leg and lofted Taijul over mid-on. It fetched the batsman four runs but the impact was such that Bangladesh went on the defensive after that shot. For the next few overs, they had just one close-in fielder, either a slip or a short leg
With a single off Hasan, Bonner brought up his half-century, in 164 balls. Bangladesh opted for the second new ball after the 81st over and seemed to have found success immediately when umpire Sharfuddoula gave Bonner lbw off Taijul. Bonner, though, knew he had got an inside edge and got the decision reversed.
But Mayers found himself stuck. Having reached 90 in 146 balls, he took another 32 balls to bring up his maiden Test hundred. And it was a streaky boundary between slip and gully, via an outside edge off Rahman, that took him to the landmark.
What followed was a slew of loose shots from Mayers, all in that Rahman over. He was beaten outside off twice in the next two balls and, a ball later, miscued two consecutive lofted attempts. Luckily for West Indies, both fell away from the fielders. It took a message from the dressing room at the end of the over for Mayers to regain his composure, which he didn’t lose till the end of the match.