A buoyant West Indies enter the first Test against Bangladesh here today, convinced they can brush aside the minnows and extend their domination of the home series.
The hosts rolled over Bangladesh 3-0 in the preceding One-Day International series with the greatest of ease and will carry this momentum into the two-Test series, when it gets going at Arnos Vale.
More importantly, the Windies will use the series to rebound from the disappointment of their loss to New Zealand in the three-Test series back in June – their third straight Test series defeat.
“We were disappointed to have lost that series. It was 1-1 going into Barbados and we had the confidence, but we didn’t bat as well as we wanted to. We’ll take the positive from that series – the guys who got runs, the guys who got wickets,” said captain Denesh Ramdin, who will be seeking his first series win since succeeding the axed Darren Sammy earlier this year.
“This is a very important series for us and we’re going to take it very seriously and go out there and beat the opposition. It’s always good to win Test matches and win series at home.”
If the gulf between the two teams in the one-day series is anything go on, then West Indies will be heavily favoured to not only win but dominate Bangladesh.
They won the first ODI by three wickets, the second by 177 runs and the third by 91 runs – after piling up over 338 runs at Warner Park.
Worryingly though, veteran opener Chris Gayle struggled with scores of three, 58 and six in the three matches but Darren Bravo and Ramdin were among the runs with centuries.
Opener Kraigg Brathwaite, who scored his maiden Test hundred against New Zealand in June, will join Kirk Edwards, Jermaine Blackwood and the in-form veteran left-hander Shiv Chanderpaul, as those also entrusted with run-scoring.
New ball bowlers Jerome Taylor and Kemar Roach, both of whom excelled against New Zealand on return from long injury breaks, will again lead the attack which also features lanky pacer Jason Holder and spinners Sulieman Benn and Shane Shillingford.
Ramdin said the make-up of the XI had not yet been decided.
“We know they don’t like a lot of seam bowling but at the same time we have good spinners in our squad,” he said.
“Hopefully we will make a decision by this afternoon or tomorrow morning [on the team composition]. Whatever team we put out hopefully we can get the results that we want which is a win.
“Once everyone does their part, everything will go well. The batters need to put runs on the board and give the bowlers something to bowl at. It’s always good when you have players who can contribute and I’m sure we will continue to strive for excellence and be happy for each other’s success.”
Despite their confidence, West Indies do not plan to be complacent, with Ramdin admitting that Bangladesh boasted players who had the ability to perform at the highest level.
“We are [focussing] on our fast bowling at the top of the order. They have some aggressive batsmen so we have to set some strategic fields and try to get them out,” he noted.
“They have some patient batsmen as well … but we have the quality of bowlers to get 20 wickets and we have no doubt in our minds once we put runs on the board … you never know.”
WEST INDIES - Denesh Ramdin (captain), Sulieman Benn, Jermaine Blackwood, Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Shiv Chanderpaul, Kirk Edwards, Shannon Gabriel, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Kemar Roach, Shane Shillingford, Jerome Taylor.
BANGLADESH - Mushfiqur Rahim (captain) Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque Bijoy, Imrul Kayes, Mominul Haque, Mahmudullah, Nasir Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Shamsur Rahman, Robiul Islam, Shafiul Islam, Taijul Islam, Shuvogoto Hom, Elias Sunny.