England edge victory in Bangladesh

An England series victory, the outcome most fans and pundits alike would have been expecting. Yet, if there was ever a series that demonstrated just how far Bangladesh have progressed as a cricketing nation this was it. Indeed, were it not for their extraordinary batting collapse in the 1st ODI in which they slipped from 271-4 to 288 all out, chasing 310, the outcome would have been very different. In truth though the series was decided in terms of which team could handle the pressure. This was England, who showed exactly why they have become such a force in this format despite the absence of their captain Eoin Morgan and opening batsmen Alex Hales, who both withdrew sighting security concerns.

In the first match of the series a Ben Stokes inspired England compiled a commanding total of 309. Stokes’ maiden ODI century provided further evidence of his advancing maturity. He arrived at the crease with England struggling at 66-3, yet he calmly set about rebuilding the innings and through a magnificent partnership of 153 with the impressive debutant Ben Duckett, he ensured that England were in a strong position. A partnership of similar proportions between centurion Kayes and Shakib, however, appeared to have secured the victory for the hosts. Jake Ball and Adil Rashid dramatically swung the match in England’s favour as Bangladesh’s lower order suddenly cracked under the pressure. Ball, on debut, was particularly impressive.

After a defeat of this manner, England may have expected the rest of the series to be somewhat of a forgone conclusion, particularly when the hosts were teetering at 169-7 during the 2nd ODI in Dhaka. Bangladesh responded admirably and after a fine partnership between Mortaza and Mahmadullah, propelling the hosts to a competitive total of 238, England’s batsmen struggled as they were dismissed for 204. The day belonged to Bangladeshi skipper Mortaza who, after batting so well, ripped through Englands top order picking up 4 for 29. England’s captain, Jos Butler, also performed well with a battling 57 yet he received too little support as England’s batsmen struggled on a slow pitch. Butler later bemoaned the lack of aggression, which has become such a feature of England’s recent ODI success, in chasing what was a very attainable target.

The series was therefore level at 1-1 as the teams headed to Chittagong for the final ODI. All bar one of Bangladesh’s top 5 made scores in excess 40 which propelled them to a strong total of 277-6 off their 50 overs. For a young and inexperienced team, such a run chase may have appeared daunting, yet England went about chasing the total assuredly as Duckett and Billings compiled excellent half-centuries. There was a minor collapse as England lost both Butler and Ali in quick succession, however the tourists held their nerve to complete a fine series win.

Next-up, England have two back-to-back warm up games before the test series which starts on the 20th October.

Thomas Lambton

Photo Credit: Sky Sports

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