Windies haven’t played much Test cricket at North Sound, Antigua – the venue for the first Test against Bangladesh (only five times before the ongoing Test), but fast bowler Kemar Roach didn’t let the unfamiliarity with conditions come in the way of his roaring success on the opening day during which he helped bundle the tourists out for 43 – the lowest total in Test cricket in the last 44 years. “Yeah, it’s [the conditions in North Sound] different,” Roach said after the conclusion of the first day’s action on Wednesday (July 4). “I haven’t played much here, but I’ve been talking to one of the guys – Alzarri Joseph – he’s from here. He told me that the wicket’s always a good batting wicket, but what’s important is to bowl in good areas if you want to get some rewards, so today was just that for me.”
The West Indian fast bowler had his plans well in place as he wisely switched between either ends of the wicket to expose the batsmen to more possible ways of getting dismissed. His wickets of Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan were prime examples of using the angles well as he forced them to play in the dangerous outside-off channel and got them to nick while fending.
“I try to use the angles as much as possible. I tried to bring in all three aspects of dismissals into play: lbw, bowled, and caught. I just wanted to be as consistent as possible, make a batsman play as much as possible and, obviously play on the mistake.”
Three wickets from Roach’s five-wicket haul (5-1-8-5) came in the same over when he rolled over Mushfiqur Rahim, skipper Shakib and Mahmudullah just in the space of four deliveries, leaving Bangladesh reeling at 18 for 5. The 30-year-old lauded the efforts of his bowling coach and former West Indian fast bowler Corey Collymore who he believes has helped him strike the rhythm that he did during his ferocious spell of fast bowling. Also, Roach didn’t shy away from admitting that he too was taken aback by how the five wickets came in such short span of time.
“Obviously it felt good. It came pretty rapid,” Roach said. “It was a bit surprising. Obviously to go out there and perform for West Indies is the main goal. To do that today and put West Indies in a good position – I’m happy with that.
“I’ve been doing a lot of work with my bowling coach Corey Collymore. I think he’s done a great job with me when he came on board. My rhythm today was fantastic; the ball came out just the way I wanted to. Yeah, got five wickets in a quick span of time; I’m happy with that.”
However, Roach couldn’t stay on the field beyond his eight overs after picking a hamstring niggle during his fourth over. Roach, though, is confident that he’ll have ample rest before having another crack at the Bangladesh batsmen, given the hosts have settled in nicely [201/2] after bowling them out for just 43. “I felt like something’s there in my hamstring,” Roach mentioned. “It’s started to get worse as I went on; just tweaked it a little bit while running in. It’s a little heavy, the outfield, it feels heavy on the legs. It’s [the injury] not so serious so far. I pulled out of the innings to get some treatment from Dave [physio], I think he did a fantastic job. It’s quite early but I’m feeling pretty good about bowling in the second innings again.
“The plan is bat once, to get 450-500 runs on the board, I think it’s going to be tough for the Bangladeshis to get. Once we bat and score that much, it’ll be fine to fine to win this Test match.”