Bangladesh Won by 108 runs

Bangladesh claimed ten wickets in an electric final session to secure an historic first Test victory over England and a 1-1 share of the series. That it came after England’s openers had put on a century stand was the final twist in a remarkable match and only heightened the sense of their achievement. The crowning moment was delivered by the teenager Mehedi Hasan, who finished with another six-wicket haul, 12 in the match and the best figures by a Bangladeshi to spark scenes of jubilation at Mirpur.

The result provided atonement after Bangladesh had gone so close in Chittagong, finally giving them a win over one of the major Test nations: in 94 matches previously they had only beaten West Indies and Zimbabwe. It also posed fresh questions for England, who went from 100 for 0 to 164 all out in little more than 20 mesmeric overs as Mehedi and Shakib Al Hasan claimed all ten between them.

crick-2At tea, England had edged the equation back in their favour, knocking the requirement from 273 down to a seemingly more manageable 173 thanks to their best opening partnership of the tour. But from the very first delivery after the interval, Mehedi speared the ball into Ben Duckett’s stumps and England’s dream start became a waking nightmare against spin, a Halloween horror show in which every wicket was greeted with ghoulish glee by the Mirpur crowd.

Moments later Joe Root, already zombified by illness, stumbled from the field after a two-ball duck and although Alastair Cook followed Duckett in reaching fifty, England were about to enter a death spiral. From 122 for 2, Bangladesh claimed 4 for 15 in 38 balls, England’s middle-order guts ripped out as Mehedi completed a ten-wicket haul in only his second Test. After Duckett and Cook, only Ben Stokes managed double-figures.

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Gary Ballance’s tortured series ended with a misbegotten leading edge to mid-off and Moeen Ali was lbw to Mehedi in the same over but Bangladesh must have truly believed when Cook popped a catch to silly point – a superb take from Mominul Haque standing as close to the cut strip as he dared – to leave England five down. The sense of grievance Bangladesh apparently felt after Cook had overturned an lbw decision off Mehedi a few overs before, Hawk-Eye projecting the ball to be missing leg stump, was immediately forgotten.

From that point, the ending was inevitable – it was merely a question of when. Jonny Bairstow became Mehedi’s 11th victim when an inside edge ballooned to leg slip and although Stokes attempted to hold back the tide, smiting Mehedi for a towering, defiant six, he was bowled playing inside the line of a delivery from Shakib, who claimed three in four balls to put Bangladesh on the brink of a victory that had repeatedly threatened to squirm from their grasp.

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crick-1Few could have foreseen quite such a dramatic finish at the start of the day. Having been well placed on 152 for 3 overnight, Bangladesh’s batsmen resolved to play positively and they succeeded in almost doubling their score. Stokes and Adil Rashid claimed six of the seven wickets to fall, keeping the target below 300, but 273 was still significantly more than England had previously achieved in Asia – coincidentally their 2010 pursuit of 209 at Mirpur, which was also the record on the ground.

They were given the perfect start, however. Cook and his latest partner had a previous best of 26 together and, given England’s propensity to go from one to three down (or, in this case, all out) in short order, it was a timely improvement. Duckett’s penchant for the reverse-sweep was well known in domestic circles but he unwrapped it for the citizens of Dhaka in the fourth over of the innings, striking back-to-back boundaries off Shakib.

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There were one or two misjudgements, a top edge from a cut bursting through the hands of slip, while Kamrul Islam Rabbi could not get his hands under a wild slice running in from cover, but living dangerously was at least living. Duckett went to his maiden Test fifty, from just 61 deliveries, with a swept four and he brought up the hundred with a fierce pull of Mehedi’s next ball to further quieten a nervous crowd – at least until the resumption after tea.

A chaotic morning session had seen four wickets, as many catches go down, a couple of reviews wasted and 116 runs added to the Bangladesh total. No batsman was able to survive for long but they successfully staved off the outright collapse England had hoped for, as tempers began to fray.

Stokes was at the centre of trying to lift England but his approach seemed to draw comment from the umpires, who approached Cook to try and calm things down. Stokes was unhappy at Sabbir Rahman advancing down the pitch during a brisk seventh-wicket partnership that repelled England once again and frustrations mounted after they lost their second review seeking a caught-behind decision against Bangladesh’s No. 7, who was eventually lbw to Rashid from the last ball before lunch.

England created chances from the outset but Bangladesh’s batsmen kept pushing the scoreboard on. Imrul Kayes swept and nudged while the more adventurous Shakib rodes his luck to add 48 together inside the first hour and although the wickets did eventually come, England’s hopes of running through the middle and lower order for a second time in the match were stilled.

Imrul had two let-offs before finally falling for 78. In the sixth over of the morning, on 67, a leg-side flick off Zafar Ansari went quickly to the right of Cook at leg slip and the England captain could only palm it away; then on 74, a simpler chance off the bowling of Moeen was put down by Root, going one-handed to his right at slip.

The Bangladesh opener fell shortly after, lbw to Moeen attempting to sweep, and Shakib might have been stumped in the following over, charging at Ansari, only for the ball to explode off the pitch and clear Bairstow’s right shoulder. Ansari should certainly have had Shakib’s wicket on 23 when a slog-sweep picked out Duckett at deep midwicket but he made a complete hash of the catch and the same bowler then saw Mushfiqur survive a mistimed chip to Steven Finn running back at mid-off.

England’s use of technology was also erratic, failing with one DRS attempt against Mushfiqur – Ansari’s delivery pitching outside leg – but opting not to review a pair of lbw appeals from Moeen’s bowling, once each against Shakib and Mushfiqur, that would likely have been overturned.

Shakib’s innings was cut short on 41 as Rashid ripped a legbreak in from round the wicket and Stokes had Mushfiqur taken at slip in the following over but by then the lead was above 200 and England’s task on a surface that continued to assist spin bowling was looking a daunting one. This time, Bangladesh would not let them off the hook.

New Zealand bat, play three spinners, Latham stresses on subtle adjustments

India had an optional training session, with Mandeep and Pandey taking first strike against Kulkarni, Pandya and Jayant. Going by the practice session, it would seem Jayant, Kulkarni and Mandeep stand a chance to play, but the proceedings in the nets aren’t always a reliable indicator.

India (probable): 1 Rohit Sharma, 2 Ajinkya Rahane/Mandeep Singh, 3 Virat Kohli, 4 Manish Pandey, 5 MS Dhoni (capt & wk), 6 Kedar Jadhav, 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Axar Patel/Jayant Yadav, 9 Amit Mishra, 10 Umesh Yadav/Dhawal Kulkarni, 11 Jasprit Bumrah

BJ Watling had a long hit towards the end of New Zealand’s training. If they play him instead of Ronchi, there might be a case for slotting him at No. 5 and Anderson at No. 6, with the latter’s brief narrowed down to attacking the bowling from the start.

New Zealand (probable): 1 Martin Guptill, 2 Tom Latham, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Ross Taylor, 5 BJ Watling/Luke Ronchi (wk), 6 Corey Anderson, 7 James Neesham/Anton Devcich, 8 Mitchell Santner, 9 Tim Southee, 10 Trent Boult, 11 Matt Henry

Pitch and conditions

New Zealand opener Tom Latham insisted the Ranchi pitch was different from the one in Mohali. He said it was bare and devoid of grass. This could mean it might offer some turn.

Stats and trivia

  • Tom Latham has scored fifties in five of the six international matches (three Tests and three ODIs) he has played on this tour. It’s the most by any batsman on either side
  • New Zealand have added 50-plus runs for the ninth wicket three times in eight ODI innings in 2016. Two of those partnerships have come in this series
  • Kohli’s last two ODI innings in Ranchi have been match-winning efforts in chases. He scored 139* against Sri Lanka in November 2014 and 77* versus England in January 2013

Quotes

“We had a good debrief after the game [in Mohali]. There are a few areas we want to work on. Every game is important, but this one probably is a little more important to keep the series alive.”
New Zealand fast bowler Matt Henry highlights the importance of the fourth ODI

“In the past I have tried to play out of my skin, getting overexcited, but I’ve realised if I can time the ball, and hit the gaps and run hard, I can still get runs. I know teams want to get me out immediately, so I take my time, go with the flow and then attack at the end.”
Virat Kohli on succeeding by playing percentage cricket

Debutant Jake Ball stars for England as Bangladesh crumble to 21-run defeat

Despite a scintillating career-best 112 from Imrul Kayes, who featured in a superb 118-run stand with Shakib Al Hasan (79), Bangladesh crumbled in their chase of England’s massive 309. The Tigers lost six wickets for 17 runs and were bowled out for 288 as England took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium on Friday.

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Kayes had begun his innings in style with a six over deep square leg and a boundary through third man in the first over. Bangladesh’s start to their massive chase, however, was not smooth. Both Tamim Iqbal and Kayes swung and missed several times before the former fell for 17 as Ball ended a 46-run opening stand in his first over. Sabbir Rahman, again promoted to three after his influential knock in the last Afghanistan ODI at the same spot, looked in good touch. But he also fell prematurely, on 18, when David Willey held on to a stunning catch to give Ball his second scalp. The hosts kept the asking run-rate around 6 but when Mahmudullah (25) and Mushfiqur Rahim (12) both holed out at deep midwicket to legspinner Adil Rashid trying big shots, Bangladesh slipped to 153-4. Kayes then paired up with Shakib and steadied the ship. The duo were a joy to watch as they rotated the strike regularly and punctuated the chase with timely boundaries to keep up with the required rate. Closing in on his century, Kayes suffered a cramp that restricted the pair to settle for singles where doubles could be achieved, but they pressed on. After the opener reached his second ODI century from 105 balls, Shakib took charge and blasted his way to his own 30th half-century off just 39 balls. The allrounder kept milking boundaries on either side of the wicket as England skipper Jos Buttler ran out of ideas to have the home team’s chase derailed. The heat then got to Shakib as he suffered a cramp to his hand with the team well on course. The 29-year-old left-hander looped up a catch off Ball’s next ball, and the match turned on its head. Mosaddek Hossain played on in the following delivery before Rashid snared Mashrafe Bin Mortaza’s scalp in the next over. Already looking out of gas, Kayes was picked out by Rashid, leaving Ball to finish things off. The 25-year-old seamer returned 5-51 and Rashid grabbed 4-49. Earlier, a maiden ODI century from Ben Stokes and some late fireworks from Buttler powered the tourists to a huge 309-8. Bangladesh cut a sorry figure in the field, dropping Stokes twice and suffering from indecision as to who would go for a catch on two other occasions. Stokes fashioned a mammoth 153-run fourth wicket stand with another debutant Ben Duckett, who struck a mature half-century – 60 off 78 balls. Jason Roy (41) and James Vince (16) gave The Three Lions a breezy start. But Mashrafe and his men struck with quick wickets as England looked in a spot of bother at 63-3 in the 13th over. Stokes and Duckett then dominated the bowlers and flourished in boundaries, with the former clubbing four sixes for his 101. Duckett was bowled by a low full toss from Shafiul Islam when he tried to play across the line, but the stage was already set for a late assault from Buttler. The skipper bludgeoned four sixes and three fours for his blazing 38-ball 63 as England plundered 60 off the final five overs. Mashrafe, Shafiul and Shakib bagged two wickets each.

Sports Correspondent,  bdnews24.com