Bangladeshi spinners restrict England to 225

Bangladesh bowled out England for 225.

By Suneer Chowdhary

Chittagong: Mar 11, 2011

The Bangladesh bowling had been tested only twice before the England game; against India and Ireland. While the Indians trumped over the attack and managed 371, the Irish batsmen had struggled to chase down a sub-210 score. Against England, the captain wrung in the changes well and ensured that the bowlers took full toll of the ragged ZAC Stadium track at Chittagong to restrict them to 225.

England had lost both Kevin Pietersen and Stuart Broad to injuries in the days leading up to the game. Fortunately for them, that had allowed Eoin Morgan to join the squad and he walked straight into the playing eleven. So did Paul Collingwood in place of Michael Yardy, a decision probably brought about by his inability to keep the runs down in the previous games he has conceded 159 in the 26 overs bowled so far. Ajmal Shahzad was brought in for Broad.

What was hardly surprising was that the Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan decided to field first after winning the toss. While dew would be an obvious issue that he would not have wanted his spinners to contend with, the form of his batsmen would have meant that he would have probably wanted them to chase more than play under the pressure of setting targets.

At the half-way stage, the spinners seem to have done their job. After a decent start to the innings where the new English opener Matt Prior added 32 for the first wicket with Andrew Strauss off the quicker bowlers, the introduction of the spinners marked a drastic change in fortunes.

Matt Prior s dismissal had ‘I-forgot-stumping-is-a-mode-of-dismissal written all over it, which was a surprise given that he is a keeper himself. Fired down the leg-side, he overbalanced but the Bangladeshi keeper had removed the bails late. For some strange reason, a now, perfectly balanced Prior removed his foot from the crease again to allow Mushfiqur Rahim to stump him again the second of which caused his dismissal.

Strauss also fell soon after to Naeem Islam while Ian Bell found the slow nature of the track a bit too hot to handle. Mahmudullah used the assistance from the pitch to stop the ball and with Bell early in his stroke, he could only spoon it to the short mid-wicket.

At 53 for three in the 17th over, the English side looked in the danger of struggling to get through to 200. However, Morgan then played one of his customary innings in the middle order and in partnership with the other prolific-scorer of the team, Jonathon Trott added 109 for the fourth wicket. What made his 63 an even more valued innings was probably the manner in which he went about his business unlike most other batsmen who had struggled to come to grips with the pitch, Morgan s strike-rate of 88 told the story.

At the other end, Trott also had his issues but his gritty nature stood out and he used up almost 100 balls for his 67.

However, the two batsmen would be kicking themselves given their inopportune time of dismissals; Morgan, a couple of overs before the Batting Powerplay was taken and Trott a couple after. At 162 for four, with almost 12 overs and the Powerplay to go, the English would have thought of getting to 240 as their bare minimum. Instead, the two vital wickets meant that the side had to play catch-up. With the track showing more signs of wear and tear, not too many of the other middle and lower-order batsmen could get going. Strauss 18 was the next best score.

The continuous loss of wickets only accentuated the issue as England were bowled out at least 20 short. Naeem, Shakib and Razzaq got a couple of wickets each.

On such a track, 20 is probably equivalent to more than 50 on any other batting-friendly wicket and unless England can bowl well, 226 could well be chased.

Brief Scores: England 225 all out in 49.4 overs (Jonathan Trott 67, Eoin Morgan 63; Naeem Islam 2 for 29, Abdur Razzak 2 for 32) vs Bangladesh.

(Suneer is a Mumbai-based cricket writer and can be contacted at suneerchowdhary@gmail.com and Tweets here @suneerchowdhary)

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