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Bangladesh celebrates rare victory in tests

BANGLADESH savored only its second victory in 60 tests yesterday after it overcame a makeshift West Indies in the first test in Kingstown, St Vincent.

However, the celebrations were restrained as the West Indies were forced to field seven debutantes in a hastily-assembled squad after a boycott by leading players due to contractual and payment issues.

The only previous win for Bangladesh, granted test status in 2000, had come against Zimbabwe in 2005.

Former skipper Habibul Bashar led the praise for Bangladesh.

"It was long overdue for us," he said. "I have seen the players working very hard to be successful in test cricket and they deserved it.

"They were under pressure to win this match, especially after the West Indies fielded a weak team. Full credit to them that they did not succumb to it," he added.

Victory was still uncertain when Bangladesh fans went to bed as the team had only 80 overs to bowl out the hosts after setting a fourth-innings target of 277 runs on the final day.

Bangladesh wrapped up a 95-run win, taking the lead in the two-test series. Spinners Mohammed Mahmudullah and Shakib al Hasan shared eight wickets to dismiss the West Indies for 181 runs with just over 40 minutes of play left.

"It means a lot to us, we are very happy," said opening batsman Tamim Iqbal, whose second-innings century laid the foundations for victory.

In 2003, Bangladesh lost to Pakistan by one wicket and also had Australia and New Zealand reeling in 2006 and 2008, respectively, only to let them escape and clinch identical three-wicket wins.

The West Indies Cricket Board has vowed to stick with the makeshift squad but the defeat will increase pressure for a settlement before the second test starts in Grenada on Friday. "You'll have to ask the chairman about that one," said Floyd Reifer, the 36-year-old stand-in skipper who was playing in his first test in 10 years.


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