Bangladesh were the clear favourites ahead of the two-match Test series against the West Indies after the majority of the Caribbean side's top cricketers opted out of the tour.
There was a big gulf in experience between the hosts and the visitors -- West Indies fielded three debutants in the form of Kyle Mayers, Nkrumah Bonner and Shayne Moseley in the first Test in Chattogram. There were at least five more cricketers who had played less than 10 Tests in the Windies playing 11.On the other hand, no Bangladeshi player made a debut in the Test series and the majority have been playing international cricket for at least two years.
When it came to execution on the field however, the West Indies were streets ahead of the hosts in both matches and the 2-0 result was justification that the better team emerged victors.
Whether it was the historic three-wicket win in the first Test in Chattogram -- where debutant Mayers struck an unbeaten double ton to help chase down a record 395 -- or the dramatic 17-run win in the second Test in Dhaka, the relatively inexperienced Caribbean side fared better than the Tigers.
The West Indies were also far ahead of the Tigers in terms of displaying the requisite temperament, patience and proper execution of the game plan in all three departments.
There was much talk about utilising home conditions and the hosts banked on the spinners, expecting the pitch to favour them as the team management opted to pick just one specialist seamer in both Tests. But the ploy backfired as the pitch was not according to the home spinners' expectations who mostly rely on rank turners to get sharp spin. And with no Plan B in place, together with a lack of skill to undo batsmen on a flat surface, Bangladesh spinners struggled to pose any sort of threat to an inexperienced West Indies batting lineup.
When Taijul Islam, Nayeem Hasan and Mehedi Hasan Miraz finally came to the party and helped bundle out West Indies for just 117 in the second innings of the second Test in Mirpur, the Bangladesh batsmen were undone by disciplined spin bowling as Rahkeem Cornwall, Jomel Warrican and part-timer Kraigg Brathwaite rattled through the batting line-up in the fourth innings.
After reaching 59 for no loss in chase of 231, Bangladesh's batsmen failed to emulate the patience, temperament and gumption of their much less experienced Caribbean counterparts.
Despite the Mirpur pitch not deteriorating significantly on the fourth day, the Tigers were unable to bat even one and a half sessions to take the game till the fifth day.
In fact, Bangladesh managed to add just two century partnerships in the two Tests while the West Indies added three of those in crucial situations. Bangladesh on the other hand managed to bat just one session without losing a wicket in the two Tests.
Although there was hardly anything for the seamers, Shannon Gabriel came up with the short-ball strategy and tested the Bangladesh batsmen often, adding dimensions to the visiting bowling attack that the hosts can only dream of.
Lastly, Bangladesh's body language was also questionable when they were put under pressure on the field, failing to utilise opportunities while West Indies grabbed almost everything that came their way.
Experience is supposed to help teams, players, selectors – the whole cricketing setup – to learn from mistakes, but that has not been true in the case of Bangladesh. Perhaps they can learn from a West Indies side that, despite being written off, went home the much superior outfit.