When Kyle Mayers and Nkrumah Bonner got together in the final session on day four, West Indies were reeling at 59 for 3 and 336 away from an unlikely win. They first took the side to 110 for 3 and then stitched a sensational 216-run effort on the final day to help West Indies pull off the highest chase in Asia.
Mayers and Bonner took different routes to ensure West Indies stay in the hunt. The pair played out wicketless first two sessions on the final day to give the side a fair shot at a win. Bonner dug in for 245 deliveries for his 86 and scored at a strike rate of 35.10. Mayers struck them at 67.74 overs and stayed unbeaten on 210 to lead the side to a three-wicket win.
“It’s a great feeling to be playing Test cricket, and then going on to score 100, 200 and then to win the match, it’s a really special feeling,” Mayers said about his knock on Sunday (February 7). “It is my highest score coming in my first Test. It is also the longest I have ever batted. Truly, I wasn’t looking at the target. I was just trying to stick to my game plan for as long as possible. I was trying not to look at the scoreboard. I was trying to bat as long as possible. I knew within myself that if we bat the whole day, my team will cross the line.
I’d like to thank the coach, captain, teammates, coaches and family back home as well. I’m really grateful to everyone. A guy making his debut and scoring a double will definitely inspire youngsters. I’m always positive and believed in my ability, and believed that we could get there. We never give up, and keep fighting. The skipper and the coach tell us to keep fighting. Shannon put in a great effort on that wicket and that inspired all of us to do well.”
The fact that West Indies needed less than 300 runs on the final day meant there was some pressure on Bangladesh as well. The hosts had, after all, declared their innings to the visitors 395. Kraigg Brathwaite stressed the side was confident coming into the final day given the pitch was still good for batting. “I believed in this team from Day 1, and we backed ourselves right up to Day 5,” the West Indies captain said.
“We lost some momentum with three wickets lost, but the pitch was still playing well. We just trusted our plans and believed in them. Mayers and Bonner stuck to the plans and executed them really well. I should have gone on to get a bigger score, but Blackwood played well. Mayers got a good score first up too, and then Joshua.
“Shannon gave me an aggressive spell, and Roach never says no when asked to bowl, and the spinners never complained when asked to bowl either, so we just had to keep working as a team. I wouldn’t say this was a depleted side, and it was an inspiration for us to come and do well. We had to execute well on Day 5 and managed it, which was good.”
Mominul Haque, who had declared Bangladesh favourites ahead of the series, was left to rue the performance of his bowlers. Bangladesh were also hampered by Shakib al Hasan’s absence after the all-rounder picked up a thigh strain and didn’t take the field after day two. “Mayers and Bonner played very well, we didn’t create chances and the bowlers didn’t bowl the right areas,” Mominul pointed out.
“It was turning and we did create chances, but eventually we didn’t take those chances. We played well in the first innings, and dominated in the first four days. Mehidy played well in the first four days and dominated with bat and ball so we can take them into the next Test. It was difficult to play a Test after one year, and we had to be mentally strong.
“The wicket was good, it provided opportunities to the bowlers too, but we couldn’t grab it, as the wicket is as such, once you get set in, it would be very difficult to get you out. Outstanding batting, as chasing almost 400 runs, scoring a double ton as a debutant, everything was extraordinary from him,” said Mominul.