West Indies vs Bangladesh: First Test Preview

Cricket Ball on Pitch

The West Indies and Bangladesh square off in the first of three Tests at North Sound in Antigua on Wednesday 4 July. 

The West Indies started their three-match series against Sri Lanka really well but fizzled out as it wore on. They would wind up drawing the series as the tourists fought back to win the final Test even though their skipper was suspended for ball tampering. Having had the series in their grasp they will no doubt want to be a whole lot more clinical when facing Bangladesh in Antigua.

Bangladesh are set to play their first Test match since February of this year with star all-rounder Shakib-al-Hasan returning to the squad as captain. The Tigers will be looking to defend their eighth spot on the Test rankings from the ninth-ranked West Indies

 West Indies vs Bangladesh | 4 July - 8 July | North Sound, Antigua | 16:00 

To Win Match 
West Indies 6/10
Draw 4/1
Bangladesh 3/1

West Indies
The West Indies are on a mission to rebuild both their Test team and their image as well as their reputation in the longest format of the game that they dominated for so long during the 1980s.

Under Australian coach Stuart Law there have been marked improvements in almost every facet of their game. However, having slipped to a disappointing draw in the series against Sri Lanka the pressure will be mounting on him to start producing results.

The batting has been the area of greatest concern, wicketkeeper-batsman Shane Dowrich was the only man to bring up a century in the three matches against Sri Lanka and a spectacular collapse in the third Test opened the door for their opponents to restore parity in the decider.

The Windies have struggled long and hard to find a capable opening partner for the dogged Kraigg Brathwaite whose application spared the West Indies a series defeat when he dug in to force a draw in the second Test against Sri Lanka.

Shimron Hetmyer may yet earn a recall to the playing XI after he hit a hundred for a WICB XI against Bangladesh in their solitary warm-up match while Alzarri Joseph made an impressive return from injury with the ball taking 4 for 53.

Joseph might struggle to dislodge a settled bowling attack led by Shannon Gabriel who has come into his own as the Windies senior bowler in the last two years, and can now count himself among the top seamers in the world.

Devon Smith and Kieran Powell will be feeling the heat after a lean series against Sri Lanka while Shai Hope and Roston Chase have probably bought themselves more time having won matches for the Windies in the past year but the hosts will need to find runs from somewhere.

The surface will determine whether or not Devendra Bishoo is named in the XI but you would fancy the Windies wouldn't want to see the ball turning too soon against Asian opponents.

Bangladesh arrive in the West Indies fresh off a month-long break from cricket after they went down in a three-match T20I series to Afghanistan in early June.

Shakib returns to the team after a prolonged break from Test cricket that saw him miss the thumping defeats in South Africa last year and the more hard-fought but ultimately lost series against Sri Lanka in January and February.

The skipper struck 67 in the tune-up against a board XI while there were hundreds from Tamim Iqbal and Mahmudullah Riyaz for the Tigers.

Former skipper Mushfiqur Rahim did not play in the warm-up match but is expected to take up a place in the XI even if he doesn't don the wicketkeeping gloves with Liton Das also capable of doing that job.

Bangladesh will need to show they can stand up to quality seam bowling if they are to take anything at all from this series.

The Tigers pace stocks are somewhat depleted in the absence of Mustafizur Rahman. Rubel Hossain is the only out and out fast bowler in an attack made up mostly of medium pacers.

The tourists will hope that their spinners Mehedi Hasan and Taijul Islam get some assistance from the pitch in Antigua after their spin options drew a blank in the warm-up game apart from part-timers Mahmudullah and Mominul Haque who each bowled four overs and bagged one wicket apiece.

Bangladesh have lost all their previous Tests against the West Indies but have progressed as a team since their last visit to the Caribbean in 2014.

Verdict: West Indies
The West Indies don't have the ring rust to shake off that their rivals do and will be under pressure to secure a positive result to show that they have made progress under Law. 

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Written by James Richardson for Hollywoodbets.

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