Left-hander Kyle Mayers became only the second West Indies batsman to hit a double hundred on debut as the team pulled off the highest ever successful run chase on the Asian continent and the fifth-highest in Test history, to stun Bangladesh by three wickets in the opening Test on Sunday.
Starting the final day on 110 for three in pursuit of an improbable 395 for victory, West Indies defied all odds to reach their target late in the final session with 15 balls remaining at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.
At the heart of the victory was an astonishing unbeaten 210 from Mayers who batted the entire day to lead the second-highest successful chase for the Caribbean side following their 418, 18 years ago in Antigua, which remains the highest by any side.
Mayers found an ally in his overnight partner Nkrumah Bonner who hit 86, and together they added 216 for the fourth wicket in a partnership that marked only the second time two debutants have put on more than 200 runs in a Test innings.
The epitome of concentration and combining selective aggression with a sound defense, the 28-year-old Mayers struck 20 fours and seven sixes in an innings spanning 310 balls and just under seven hours at the crease.
Bonner’s knock was no less significant, the right-hander facing 245 balls in just short of 5-½ hours, and counting 10 fours and a six.
Their enterprise denied Bangladesh’s bowlers any success for the first two sessions and West Indies found themselves well placed at tea on 266 for three, still requiring a further 129 runs for victory in the final session.
Drama unfolded when Bonner, unbeaten on 79 at tea, perished in the first over after the interval and when Jermaine Blackwood followed for nine soon afterward, Bangladesh were back in the contest with the Windies stumbling on 292 for five.
However, Mayers dominated a 100-run, sixth-wicket stand with Joshua Da Silva (20) which revived the run chase and put West Indies in sight of victory.
Though Da Silva and Kemar Roach (0) fell in the space of 14 balls late on, Mayers fittingly hit the winning runs with a single to mid-on off off-spinner Nayeem Hasan to earn the Windies a historic win.
The result came against the backdrop of a depleted side being selected for the tour after six first-team players, including regular captain Jason Holder, declined selection due to COVID-19 fears, and interim skipper Kraigg Brathwaite said belief had been key for the inexperienced unit.
“I believed in this team from day one. Obviously, a lot of people said different stuff but for us, it was just to believe in ourselves, back our plans and we did that right down to day five,” said Brathwaite, who top-scored with 76 in the first innings.
Added Mayers: “I’m always a positive person. I always believe in my ability and believe that the team can reach places so I was always positive.”
A virtual unknown in international circles before Sunday, Mayers wrote his name into the record books as he carried West Indies to an unlikely win and a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
The Barbadian became the sixth batsman to score a double-century on debut, with his 210 the highest score in a fourth innings by a player on debut and only behind Lawrence Rowe’s 214 as a debutant for West Indies.
Mayers also joined the legendary Sir Gordon Greenidge as the only other batsman in Test history to score a double hundred to achieve a winning result.