A searing string of 12 balls was all Kemar Roach required to make a light work of the Bangladesh batting line-up. He picked up five wickets, the opposition crumbled to 43 all out, and all this happened while the fast bowler was battling hamstring trouble.
If his maiden over up front was a cue to what was to follow, his fifth gave a glimpse of what the visitors will have to deal with in the coming days. Roach knocked over Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah and Shakib Al Hasan, allowing none of them to score any runs and sending Bangladesh on their way to the lowest total in the last 44 years of Test cricket.
“Obviously it felt good. It came pretty rapid,” Roach said, describing his eighth five-wicket haul. “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.”
While the bounce on the North Sound track, where West Indies have played only five Tests before Wednesday, aided his raw his pace, it was Roach’s deft use of angles that made him so threatening. He went round the wicket against Bangladesh’s left-handers to make sure they couldn’t leave too many deliveries – Tamim Iqbal and Shakib fell to balls that came in and went away off the seam – and attacked right-handers from wide of the crease – Mahmudullah was caught behind off an outswinger that pitched on middle, trapped him in the crease and snatched the outside edge.
“Yeah, it’s [the conditions in North Sound] different,” Roach said. “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.”
“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.”
Roach’s fiery burst, however, wasn’t without a scare for the hosts. Into his fourth over, a hamstring niggle had him in visible discomfort. After completing his five-for, and only marginally missing a hat-trick, he left the field with figures of 5-1-8-5.
“I felt like something’s there in my hamstring,” Roach said. “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.”
Besides, Roach is hoping for a long rest now that West Indies are batting and have already made 201 runs. “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.”