KHULNA, Bangladesh – Tino Best said his success on the tour of Bangladesh, where the pitch conditions have been challenging, was an indication of his maturity as a fast bowler.
Best grabbed three wickets to put West Indies on track for an unlikely victory over the Bangladeshis in the final Test of their two-match series here.
Best defied a stiff hamstring to grab 3-26 from eight overs, as the home team reached 226 for six in their second innings – still trailing by 35 runs – at the close on the fourth day at the Sheikh Abu Naser Stadium.
Sacrificing his pace for a consistent line and length, Best sliced through Bangladesh’s top order, as the Windies chased a clean sweep in the series and a rare fourth straight Test win.
“I wasn’t bowling at full tilt at all, I was concentrating more on keeping my wrist behind the ball and trying to get a bit of ‘shape’ [movement] on the ball, something which I have been working really hard for the last couple of months with Gibson,” he said.
“When I butt up on flatter pitches in the sub-continent, I don’t have to try to bowl every delivery at 90 miles an hour, but try to get a bit of ‘shape’. Getting some in-swing and out-swing at my pace is going to help me on slow pitches.”
After aggravating a previous hamstring injury on the first day, Best said he decided to bowl in the second innings two days later.
“I have had this injury since 2010 when I played county cricket for Yorkshire,” he said.
“It came back on me from the Dhaka Test where I really pushed my body. It was painful, but I came back and bowled well.”
Best said he hoped his spell impressed Gibson and was glad to play his part in putting the visitors within sight of victory.
“Having Ottis Gibson around and to bowl that way would make him feel good as a coach,” he said. “It shows that I am learning from all the advice he has passed on.
“With fast bowling, the older you get, the more mature you become, and bowling in such tough conditions is a learning curve for me and shows that I am improving as a player.”
He added: “When I made my first-class debut for Barbados years ago, my head coach Henderson Springer always said, ‘Try to make sure as a fast bowler, if you are quick, to be quick on sand’. He told us to try and get the pitch out of our heads.
“When you come to the sub-continent it is always easy to use the excuse that the pitch is so flat and you may be tempted not to give it your all, but if you can get the pitch mindset out of your head, and run in and bowl, bowl quick, bowl within yourself, and don’t try to hurt yourself, bowl in the right areas, you are always likely to get wickets.”
Best also held a crucial catch to dismiss top Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan for 97 off left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul in the final over of the day.
The Caribbean side had met resistance from Shakib and Nasir Hossain, unbeaten on 64, when they put on 144 for the sixth wicket, after Bangladesh wobbled to 82 for five.
“I think break that partnership before the close was vital,” said Best. “I think Shakib played fantastic and he is a fantastic talent for Bangladesh cricket.
“It all came down again to shot selection, but he’s young and he will improve – but I think his partnership with Nasir which we broke could be the turning point in the game.”
Best now has nine wickets at 17.55 runs apiece and will be looking to add to his tally, when West Indies seek to wrap up victory on Sunday’s final day.