Seventeen wickets tumbled on a dramatic fourth day as West Indies snatched a nerve-jangling 17-run victory to edge Bangladesh in the second Test and complete a truly astonishing series whitewash in Bangladesh on Sunday.
Staring defeat in the face after they crashed from their overnight 41 for three to 117 all out in their second innings, West Indies bowlers turned the game on its head by knocking over Bangladesh for 213, the hosts falling just short of the modest target of 231 at the Shere Bangla National Stadium.
No such climax was envisioned when West Indies resumed the penultimate day with a lead of 154 runs but left-arm spinner Taijul Islam (5-36) and off-spinner Nayeem Islam (3-34) ripped apart the innings.
Man-of-the-Series Nkrumah Bonner, unbeaten on eight at the start, top-scored with 38 while wicketkeeper Joshua Da Silva got 20 but West Indies lost their last seven wickets for 67 runs, about 25 minutes after lunch.
Left with just under five sessions to steal a share of the series honours, Bangladesh seemed on course for victory when they raced to 70 for one with tea beckoning.
Opener Tamim Iqbal struck an aggressive 50, captain Mominul Haque got 26 and Liton Das 22 but Bangladesh’s batsmen failed to convert starts and the last nine wickets went down for 143 runs on either side of the interval.
Burly off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall, in only his fourth Test, led West Indies’ charge with four for 105 to end the contest with nine wickets and emerge with Man-of-the-Match honours.
He also snapped up three catches at slip, the last of which was a tumbling low catch which removed the dangerous Mehidy Hasan Miraz for 31, ended the match and West Indies’ nine-year wait for a Test series win on Bangladesh soil.
Part-time off-spinner Kraigg Brathwaite, who hardly put a foot wrong in the field as captain on Sunday, was one of the unlikely heroes with the ball taking three for 25 while left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican claimed the final wicket of the match to end with three for 47.
The victory with a day to spare completed a fairy-tale tour for the under-strength West Indies who arrived here last month shorn of nearly all their first-choice players, and given little chance of competing in the series.
Further, the result was in contrast to the last tour here three years ago when West Indies suffered a chastening series whitewash, losing both Tests heavily inside three days.
“It’s a series win in Asia since 2012 for the first time. Coming here without some players, with the protocols and so on,” an elated Brathwaite said afterwards.
“People will be proud. People wrote us off but we kept it simple, enjoyed it, and we proved them wrong.”
West Indies knew they were up against it when they lost nightwatchman Warrican for two in the morning’s fifth over, hit in front by pacer Abu Jayed (2-32) with the score on 50.
And when left-hander Kyle Mayers was also trapped on his crease by Abu for six approaching the first hour, the Caribbean side was in strife at 62 for five.
Jermaine Blackwood was stumped for nine off Taijul, two balls after the drinks break, but Da Silva arrived to join Bonner in a crucial 31-run, seventh-wicket stand to take West Indies safely to lunch on 98 without further loss.
Bonner, who got 90 in the first innings, counted three fours in a knock lasting 120 balls and just over three hours while Da Silva, already with 92 in the game, hit four fours in nearly an hour at the crease.
Da Silva perished in the second over following the resumption, however, edging a prod at Taijul to slip, as West Indies lost their last four wickets for 13 runs in 21 deliveries.
Bonner was ninth out, bowled by Nayeem bungling a reverse sweep.
Chasing their uncomplicated target, Tamim attacked from the start, belting nine fours in a 46-ball cameo as he put on 59 for the first wicket with Soumya Sarkar (13).
With the frontline bowlers all proving ineffective, Brathwaite introduced himself and struck with his very first ball, Cornwall lunging forward at first slip to snap up Soumya after his cut rebounded from Da Silva’s gloves.
Brathwaite then got the key wicket of Tamim in his fourth over, the veteran tapping a catch to Shayne Moseley placed at short cover for the anticipated stroke, at 70 for two.
And in the last over before tea, Cornwall claimed Najmul Hossain for 11 to a catch at short leg by Moseley to leave Bangladesh on 78 for three at the break.
After the interval, Mushfiqur (14) edged Warrican behind and Mohammad Mithun (10) turned Cornwall into Bonner’s hands at backward short leg in the space of 19 balls, before Mominul and Liton stalled the Windies progress in a 32-run, sixth-wicket partnership.
Both fell as Bangladesh lost three wickets for 16 runs to slump to 163 for eight but not for the first time in the series, Mehidy counter-attacked with three fours and two sixes in a 56-ball knock as he added 25 for the ninth with Nayeem and 25 for the last wicket with Abu.
With the game in the balance and West Indies needing a single wicket for victory, Warrican found Mehidy’s edge and the towering Cornwall swooped low at slip.