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.
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.
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.