When Kemar Roach signs his run in the second Test against Bangladesh, which starts at Daren Sammy Stadium on Friday, he will do so knowing he only needs one wicket to join a select group of West Indies bowlers . The 33-year-old Barbados pass bowler enters the Test with 249 wickets behind his name, the same as a 1970s and 80s legend, Michael Holding. One more scalp and Roach will become only the sixth West Indies bowler to join the ‘250 Club’, after Courtney Walsh (519 wickets), Curtly Ambrose (405), Malcolm Marshall (376), Lance Gibbs (309) and Joel Garner (259).
After returning match figures of seven for 74 to fire the West Indies to a seven-wicket victory in the first Test in Antigua, Roach admitted he had scored 300 Test wickets.
“I’m always one for statistics,” he told the press after the game. “I love my stats. I always look at my stats. Every night. Even when I’m not playing, I still look at my stats, so it’s good to be among the big ones.
“It’s good to be up there with all the fantastic people in West Indies cricket.”
Roach and his teammates will draw tremendous confidence from their victory in the first Test that followed on a 1-0 home win over England in March.
Another victory will not only secure the series, but lift the West Indies above Pakistan to sixth in the World Test Championship.
In Antigua, Roach had good backing from Jayden Seales, who took three for 33 in the first innings, and Alzarri Joseph, who tipped three wickets in each innings.
Skipper Kraigg Brathwaite set the tone for the batsmen with 94 in the first innings, although a collapse of 224 for four to 265 all indicates that there is work to be done as well.
Bangladesh’s batting, on the other hand, was faint with the top order, especially Najmul Hossain and Mominul Haque, completely out of shape.
Their first innings 103 in Antigua, which included six ducks, was the fifth time in 12 consecutive innings this year that they were bowled out for less than 200.
Despite a more respectable 245 in the second innings, that meant they were on the back foot the entire game.
Mominul had a particularly difficult time: his scores of 0 and 4 made him the first top-five batsman since George Bonner, whose Test career ended in 1888, receiving nine consecutive single-digit scores.
“If he thinks he needs a break, it could happen,” Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan said after the first Test.
With no obvious replacement in the pipeline, he is likely to retain his place, although Anamul Haque could be introduced at the expense of Najmul.
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