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Jul 21, 2009

Bangladesh seal a first ever series win away from home

Bangladeshi Standing Skipper Shakib Al Hasan led from the front with 96* as his side beat the West Indies in the 2nd and final test here on Monday and he declared the 2-0 series win was the biggest thing for the cricket side in nine years.

All-rounder Shakib hit the winning runs in style with a six to seal a first ever series win away from home - admittedly against a diluted and inexperienced West Indies side after the senior players boycotted the series over a pay disagreement - and the first time they have won two successive tests.

Shakib & Raqibul Hasan made 65 - both career bests - to set things up for the Tigers, as they successfully chased 215 for victory to win by 4 wickets and claim only their 2nd ever series win.

"In our nine years, this is the biggest thing that has happened to Bangladesh cricket," said Shakib.

"This series win will give a boost to our confidence, and will help to take us to the next level, and with God's help, we shall go forward. There was not too much stress on us, since the boys have been playing really well. It was a good victory."

Bangladesh were struggling on 67 for four about half-hour before the tea break, but Shakib joined Raqibul and they put Bangladesh firmly on course for victory with a stand of 106 for the 5th wicket either side of tea. Raqibul reached his 50 from 74 balls. About 25 minutes later, Shakib arrived at his landmark, when he troop Kemar Roach for his seventh boundary and the first of three in succession in the fast bowler's 11th over.

But Raqibul became the 4th of five wickets for 55 runs in 16 overs for Darren Sammy, when he gave an easy return catch with Bangladesh still needing 44.

Tiny wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim joined Shakib and inched Bangladesh closer in the 40 minutes he depleted at the crease before he too, drove back a simple return catch to Sammy to leave the Tigers 14 short of the magic number, but they had no last-minute jitters and duly crossed over the threshold.

"We had a good chance to win the game in the second innings, but we did not bat too well," said West Indies Skipper Floyd Reifer.

"We always knew we needed around 280 runs to have a fighting chance to win the game and we fell way short.

"It is pretty hard to defend a victory target of 215. All they needed was one good partnership to have a good chance. But I felt Sammy bowled well, and our guys tried very hard, but it was a tough game."

About the frailty of West Indies' batsmen against spin, he said: "In our domestic first-class competition, the spinners get the most wickets every year. This is something we will have to examine closely as players, as coaches, and try to work out the best way to play spin bowling.

"There are many positives we can take away from the Tests, and take into the One-day International series, so we shall be positive and look to win the ODI series."

Before lunch, Bangladesh had made a good start and reached 17 without loss, after they completed the demolition of the West Indies batting, following a delayed start.

Man-of-the-Match & Man-of-the-Series : Shakib Al Hasan

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