England finally wrapped up the first Test against Bangladesh midway through the fifth day. This is, in many ways, an excellent result for both sides, and for cricket as a whole. England had a lot to lose (see previous post) going into this match and little to gain, on a pitch which became increasingly lifeless as the game went on. Bangladesh showed glimpses of what they can become capable of as time progresses, with excellent batting contributions in the second innings (Siddique’s batting was right out of the Collingwood school of rear-guard actions!), and an improved bowling performance in England’s second attempt.
Graeme Swann became the first England off-spinner to take ten wickets in a match since Jim Laker took 19 over 50 years ago, although I still think England would have been better off picking two spinners for this match; poor Swanny had to toil through nearly 80 overs throughout the game, that’s nearly two days of solid bowling. Back in England in the summer though, where turning pitches are less common, he has to be the first choice spinner, and probably first name on the team-sheet. It’s been an amazing start to a test career.
The next match that begins on Saturday will hopefully be a good contest. It would be good to see Bangladesh bat first and to set England a challenging target. England still look as though they have the potential for a top-order collapse with inexperienced batsmen towards the top of the order, and a middle-order slowly working its way into some form.
Meanwhile in the IPL, still no sign of the “mongoose” from Matthew Hayden, but some excellent big-hitting from Dhoni today livened up proceedings somewhat!