By James Beringer
A fiery encounter in Dhaka resulted in both the normally restrained Jos Buttler and the less restrained Ben Stokes squaring off against the opposing team, after Bangladesh won the match to level the series.
England came into this match hoping to build on their success on Friday and wrap up the series with another win. Bangladesh on the other hand needed to make swift improvements after a late collapse on Friday saw them lose 6 wickets for just 17 runs, and return to their dominant home form, which has seen them lose just 3 of their past 19 home ODI matches.
England won the toss and elected to bowl first; the perceived wisdom being that chasing was preferable given the likely dew-factor. Bangladesh started poorly, reaching 30-2 after the initial powerplay. At 39-3 things were looking even worse, when Mohammed Mahmudullah stepped up to the crease for the home side and hit an impressive 75, including 6 boundaries. Coupled with a 21 for Mushfiqur Rahim, a 29 for Mosaddek Hossain, and 27 for Nasir Hossain, Bangladesh were able to haul their total up to 161-6. At this point the Bangladesh captain, Mashrafe Mortaza, decided to really take the game to the visitors, smashing 44 runs off just 29 balls in a breathless 30 minute spell, dragging Bangladesh to a reasonable, if slightly below par, score of 238.
If Bangladesh’s start could be considered poor, England’s response was much much worse. Conjuring up memories of their disastrous 2015 world cup, the top order fell in quick succession. James Vince drove straight to point for a paltry 5, Jason Roy survived a huge lbw appeal and an attempted stumping, before Mortaza eventually got him lbw for 13. Duckett and Stokes both went for ducks, and the task of bailing out the rapidly sinking ship fell to Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow. Buttler, seemingly oblivious to the chaos all around him, nonchalantly clipped his first ball through the leg side for four. Slowly but surely the two batsmen were able to calm the boisterous Dhaka crowd and move England into much more confortable territory. When Moeen Ali arrived at the crease, England looked to be in control at 105-5. The inevitable turning point however was just around the corner. Ali’s bizarre strike at a skidding delivery by Nasir Hossain sent the ball straight up into the air, resulting in a well-taken catch by Shakib Al Hasan. Buttler was the next to go, going too far across his stumps, he was trapped lbw. The Bangladesh team, jubilant in claiming the key wicket, were vocal in their celebrations, causing the normally level-headed Buttler to lose his cool, provoking an intervention by the umpire, who escorted the clearly irked England captain off the pitch. A heroic, yet futile, tenth wicket stand between Adil Rashid and Jake Ball briefly offered hope to England fans before Bangladesh wrapped up the victory in the 45th over. There was still time for more controversy, as Buttler and vice-captain Ben Stokes objected to the behavior of the Bangladesh team following the victory, with Stokes getting physical with some of the home team.
What did Bangladesh do right?
Bangladesh’s strength was their fielding, which stemmed the flow of runs that had cost them the first match. On Friday, England made 154 runs from boundaries, today that number was reduced to only 74. Their bowling was much more varied; their spinner Nasir Hossain yielded only 29 runs from 10 overs. This all stemmed from their captain’s inspirational man of the match performance. Not only did Mortaza mount a late charge with the bat (taking Bangladesh’s total firmly out of England’s reach), his 4-29 ultimately blew away the backbone of this England side.
The result leaves the series tantalizingly poised at 1-1 before the final match in Chittagong on Wednesday. Both teams will feel they can claim the series, but the momentum is clearly with Bangladesh. England will need their top order to perform at a much higher level. Shot selection will be key, as many of the England team were dismissed following poor shots. Vince and Ali will both be looking to perform better, with the former desperately needing to produce a high scoring game to justify his selection. For Bangladesh, their captain has lead by example, and it is up to the rest of the team to step up to the mark that he has set. Imrul Kayes, who scored a century in the first match, will have been bitterly disappointed to have been dismissed for only 11 today, and will be keen to bounce back on Wednesday. Bangladesh’s bowlers were in fine form and if they can produce swinging and spinning deliveries like they did today, they have a very strong chance of claiming victory in Chittagong.
Photograph by Wikipedia Commons