Monday, 24 October 2016

Review of the 1st Test in Bangladesh

What a thriller this turned out to be. The First Test of this mini series in Bangladesh twisted and turned like the UKIP membership on their leaders, and yet this match kept us on the edge of our seats. Never mind that this was only Bangladesh (although they are hugely improved), never mind that our selectors picked a 39 year old spinner, never mind that Cook didn't have the confidence to use his spinners when it was crunch time, all is forgiven after England squeaked home by 22 runs at 4.30am. Like Lenny Henry in years gone by, we were thrilled to be up at the crack of dawn. This was a classic...

It all started with Alastair Nathan Cook becoming our most ever capped Test player. Not many games go by these days without him reaching some sort of milestone and here he went past Alec Stewart in the all time rankings. There were debutants a plenty. Ben Duckett came in for England as Haseeb Hameed probably uttered something similar sounding to the Northants players surname when the teams were announced. Bangladesh meanwhile gave three players their first caps - Mehedi Hasan Miraz, Sabbir Rahman whilst Kamrul Islam Rabbi came to the fore. England picked three spinners.

Cook won the toss and batted on a surface that resembled Donald Trump's hair. Bowling a fifth stump line, a crisp sauvignon blanc, Angus Deayton's humour and the cleaners which has had my suit since last Christmas, have nothing of the dryness of this surface. This was parched and spun sideways at times. Duckett looked a tad nervous before falling, Cook came and went and Ballance aroused the ire of the social media experts as he scored a solitary run. England were 21-3 and rocking. Never mind Zahur Ahmed Chowdary, England needed a batsman like Colin Chowdary. Despite a fluent 40 from Root, it was Moeen Ali who rescued England in front of a crowd that was as sparse as green grass on the wicket.

Ali...more reviews than Trip Advisor

Bangladesh must have felt like a run down seaside Bed and Breakfast on Trip Advisor as reviews kept going against them but it was their failure to review when the Worcestershire man had one that was crucial. Chittagong? Perhaps their chance had gone? Jonny Bairstow passed the record for the most amount of runs by a keeper in a calendar year and he is turning into a world class batsman. With the bat he has become Mr Reliable and whilst Chittagong maybe famous for its Pink Pearls, Stokes and Bairstow are our Ginger Pearls in the Middle Order. England scraped to 293 with 18 year old Mehedi picking up 6-80 from nearly 40 overs - an outstanding spell from the youth on debut.

Bangla batted and Tamim Iqbal scored 78 at the top of the order. At 221-4 they were looking at a lead so commanding that Hilary Clinton would even smile should she have one in the latest polls. Batty picked up his first Test wicket for eleven years. Enter the Ginger Pearl, Ben Stokes. Reverse swinging the ball in conditions that no doubt helped him cultivate the odd freckle, he rampaged through the tail to bowl the hosts out for 248.

Bairstow...record breaker

England batted again and the top order struggled. Who came to the rescue? Ah yes, Stokes again helped by Bairstow. A mixture of boundary hitting and watchful defence were the key behind the Durham man's 85, as he scored three sixes and six fours. If his paymasters at the ECB were watching they should be grateful to him for this performance. Here was someone from Durham who the ECB owed. England set the hosts 286.

England opened with spin, Cook then went to seam as this one ebbed and flowed like the Bay of Bengal down the road. England looked odds on, then Bangladesh came back at them with skipper Rahim and Rahman and looked nailed on. It was Test match cricket at its best. Tantalisingly, it went into the fifth day with Bangladesh needing 33 runs and England two wickets.

On the fifth day, who else should wrap it all up but Stokes. He removed the pair of Islams at ten and eleven via lbw leaving Rahman unbeaten on 64 not out. England had won this thriller by 22 runs.

Ginger Pearl

Bangladesh are a much improved side. This was a brilliant game and their young side deserve a lot of credit. England got through a tough game in what promises to be a trial by spin in the subcontinent over the coming months.

Let's hope for another cracker in Dhaka.

1 comment:

  1. I'd agree with all that, except that I'd say the pitch turned out to be an excellent test pitch. You could bat on it, but the bowlers (especially the spinners) were always in the game. Good over rates, and a good contest between bat and ball, make for good test cricket.