There were a couple of things that were genuinely striking about the opening day of this short Test series – first that it was genuinely competitive, and secondly that Bangladesh bowled 92 overs. The former has happened before of course, and while Bangladesh’s Test history to date contains very few wins and lots of defeats, they are improving, and most importantly they are beginning – at home at least – to look genuinely competitive. As for the latter, well it’s simply astonishing to see a team bowl more overs than they have to these days.
Certainly England were in all sorts of trouble early on, 21 – 3 could have been 34-4 had Bangladesh reviewed an appeal against Moeen. He decided to extract a peculiar kind of revenge by overturning five lbw reviews during his innings, surely a record, and one likely to stand a long time. That it was the middle order who once again got England out of a hole is unsurprising, for quite some time the issues have been at the top. There are mitigating circumstances here, for the pitch played more like a day four surface than a first day track (Atherton on commentary even referred to a “wearing pitch” shortly after tea) and there was turn and some seam and swing with the new ball. Given that start, England will be extremely pleased with their recovery, and may well have had the better day in objective terms, not just in the sense of a strong fightback.
Root began the recovery, looking as thoroughly at ease as he always does, but it was Moeen and Bairstow who turned a precarious position into one that looks, at this early stage, to be one that if not strong, is at least competitive. After those two fell, it was Woakes who carried on the good work. He’s quite some batsman to be languishing at eight, and Adil Rashid is no slouch at nine. A slight sense of schadenfreude seeing Broad at eleven is understandable.
Yet if England can be happy with their day, the star of the show was undoubtedly Mehedi Hasan. He’s been felt to be one of Bangladesh’s brightest prospects for a while, and he stood out in the Under 19 side’s run to the World Cup semi-final. Even so, 5-64 on debut demonstrated considerable guile, spin and above all control. England had real trouble getting him away, and while he definitely turned the ball, what was noticeable was how many of his wickets came from the ball going straight on. As a bowler they won’t have seen before, it’s possible that they are failing to pick his variations due to lack of familiarity rather than anything else, but it was nevertheless an impressive display.
So where are we? England’s total looks a decent one given the conditions, if they can eke it out to 300 it’ll look very good. But the particular pleasure of low scoring Tests is that one player can change everything. Which means that Bangladesh vs England is intriguingly poised. Take a step back and think about that. Isn’t that wonderful?
Day two comments below
It was certainly a competitive day, and Bangladesh look nothing like the whipping boys of the past. Engand’s peculiar batting line-up will not have helped them. I can’t fathom why Bairstow was back down at 7. His weight of runs, his confidence, and yes, his class, surely make it essential for him to be in the top 5, and yet the selectors have contrived the current confusion by not being clear about who is best for each position. I would like Duckett to get a good spell in the side, and if it’s going to rag square in the first hour, I don’t suppose it matters whether he opens or comes in at 6, yet I think I’d like Hameed up top with Cook for a bit more early solidity.
I wonder whether Ali is now finished with his days at 7 or 8. If Woakes looks a bit too good for 8, then Ali unquestionably is. I would never again have him lower than 6. If that means Stokes is at 7 then so be it – his scoring rate suggests that it wouldn’t matter too much.
Reminder that some people are “proud” to write for this irredeemable fucking shitrag:
Amusingly, Lineker is the only famous face on that page who has never appeared in court on charges of either racist assault or tax evasion.
So what if Redknapp was charged with tax evasion – after due process he was exonerated and found not guilty – ergo, “amusingly” he’s not a convicted tax evader.
Clearly, the sideswipe at Redknapp was the most important point in that post. Indeed.
An astounding first over from Ali, authentically excellent bowling.. Would love to see Leach out there so we had a full-set of spin options.
In another example of how the administrators have utter contempt for their fans (customers) or increasingly (fools) Australia have announced they will play a 20/20 match at home the day before they start a test match in India. No, this won’t mean a mad dash on a plane over night.
However, it will mean two completely different sides being put out. Of course some of these players will not play in the other form of the game, but there must be some crossover players. Once again the owners and tyrants of cricket treat the paying fan like a piece of shit.
Warner, Smith and Starc are all regulars in both formats. They won’t be playing the T20. It isn’t just the spectators being short-changed here – it’s the opposition (SL) as well.
It’s a direct result of ‘blocking’ the schedule to clear huge chunks of time for domestic T20 tournaments. The International schedule is compressed into what’s left. We’re going to get our first real taste of this in the first half of next year. There won’t be too many complaints we play too much cricket during the six month gap without a Test between the end of the India series and the First Test against SA.
Yup. The administrators are aggressively pushing domestic t20 competitions because they are worried private independent events may spring up which have no need for the bloated governing bodies and their ha hers on.
After all, what is the point of the FA? The Premiership increasingly runs top flight football in this country. There are a lot of people with big salaries who need to justify their jobs.
I always make this point at this juncture: the FA are a beacon of accountability when it comes to the wider game compared to the ECB. County structures, elections, representation and so on. The biggest criticism was that the democratically elected amateur structure wasn’t capable of managing the professional game. Do a contrast and compare.
DRS is India. Interesting.
Not seen much from Tim Wigmore recently, but this comparison of the expansion strategies of the NFL compared to cricket is superb:
They are using FTA to attract audiences and grow the game…who’d have thunk it eh?
Cricket 365’s take on Oliver Holt:
Bit of DIY Sporcle:
So, who are the better ones? Or the 15 players who average over 60 against England with a 9 innings’ minimum requirement? (Two Aussies, five West Indies, 2 Saffers, 2 Pakistan, 2 India, 1 NZ + Tamim)