Bangladesh v England, 2nd ODI, Dhaka March 2, 2010

England's finisher floors Bangladesh

The hosts finally thought they could gain a first victory over England, but Eoin Morgan put paid to that with a perfectly timed one-day innings
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The sound of Eoin Morgan cracking Shafiul Islam over midwicket for a match-sealing six was the sound of 30,000 pairs of feet turning on their heels and shuffling to the exit gates. One moment Mirpur was a cauldron of nationalistic fervour that believed, surely, that this time their passion would be rewarded with a win. The next, Morgan had calmly popped the winning runs over the rope, and the cricket-ball-on-green-baize Bangladesh flags that had waved with premature triumph in the stands were rolled away and carted off home, with an accepting shrug and a promise to return again next time.

Rarely can any victory have been greeted with such abrupt silence, and rarely can any young player have announced his arrival to such a stony-faced reaction in the stands. Morgan's unbeaten 110 - his first century for England but his second in all ODIs after crossing the mark previously with Ireland - was, by his own admission, the innings of his life, and without it England would have been cooked. But such was his focus, and so quiet was the reaction, that he did not even notice the moment he reached three figures. Three balls and two boundaries later, victory was sealed to an equal lack of acclaim.

"Everything went very, very quiet and I walked down the wicket thinking we needed one to win, but then the umpire flicked the bails," said Morgan. The denouement was a cruel misfortune for a Bangladesh team that had picked itself up from its failings in the first ODI, addressed the issues that had lost them the momentum in that match, and returned with a performance that they have never bettered in any of their previous 13 international encounters with England.

Like Inzamam-ul-Haq at Multan in 2003, where Bangladesh were thwarted by a solo century in an agonising one-wicket defeat, Morgan's performance transcended the apparent vulnerabilities of his opponents, and deserved to be acclaimed on its ball-by-ball merits. His first fifty came from a staid 63 balls; his final 30 came in a 12-ball rush - and the heartbreak he inflicted underlined just how well paced he had been. Not even that greater "finisher" of yesteryear, Michael Bevan, could have timed his acceleration any more perfectly.

"Everything went to plan," said Morgan. "We wanted to take it down to the Powerplay in the last couple of overs, preferably with very few wickets lost, and it happened that we needed 60 to win off ten. Perfect. My hundred certainly wasn't something I was thinking of, it was more about the short boundary and where I was going to hit it. But this is a big step in my career, and a very proud day for me, and for the team to get a win. Hopefully it's the step to bigger and better things."

Early in his innings, Morgan survived a brace of raucous lbw appeals from Mahmudullah that Bangladesh's captain, Shakib Al Hasan, later claimed were the decisive moment of the match. But the true turning point came in the 47th over, when Shakib decided to recall Shafiul to the attack, at the expense of the spinners who had asphyxiated the lower-order in a collapse of 4 for 31 in 6.1 overs. Morgan's response was a first-ball bunt back over Shafiul's head for four, as the young seamer - in only his second month of international cricket - conceded 23 match-sealing runs in 11 balls.

Whether the absent Mashrafe Mortaza, a veteran of 102 ODIs dating back to November 2001, could have fared better in the same situation was a hot topic of debate in the aftermath of the match, as rumours circulated of a rift within the Bangladeshi camp, following his wicketless return from an eight-month injury lay-off in the first ODI on Sunday.

Prior to the start of the match, the Bangladesh Cricket Board had released a statement on Mortaza's behalf, claiming that he had requested to be withdrawn from the squad "to be by the side of his ailing mother". Whatever the truth behind this explanation, Shakib did not refer to it once when he faced the press after the game, and was even dismissive of Mortaza's enduring worth to the side.

"The way Mashrafe bowled before his injury, that Mashrafe we might have missed tonight," he said of the man from whom he inherited the captaincy back in July. "But the way he bowled in the last match and the practice match [at Fatullah], not really."

Either way, the decision to go with extra pace in the Powerplay suited England just fine. "I was surprised," said Morgan. "I thought they would have finished off with spin, but their left-armers [Shakib and Abdur Razzak] were bowled out before the end, which means we played well in the middle period of the game, and forced them to try and take wickets. We'd have liked to finish five or six-down, but that didn't happen."

Part of the credit in that period belonged to England's beleaguered wicketkeeper, Matt Prior, who found his place in the side under some scrutiny at the start of the series, after Craig Kieswetter was called up to the squad with a view to playing in the World Twenty20 next month. But Kieswetter's awkward baptism continued as he edged his third ball to slip, moments after being dropped by the keeper, and Prior took advantage of his misfortune to produce a calm 42, in a fifth-wicket stand of 90.

Almost overlooked amid the excitement - or rather the anticlimax, as it couldn't help but feel in the aftermath - was the fact that England had sewn the series up 2-0, and that Alastair Cook had therefore won his first piece of silverware as the caretaker of the national side.

"It's a very relieved feeling, because I'm not the best cricket watcher when it gets tense," said Cook. "Eoin was probably the coolest person out there, I certainly wasn't, I was pacing up and down all the time. But it was a really good chase on that wicket. We kept losing wickets at the wrong time, and we'd have liked to chase six-down if we're being hard on ourselves. But a win is a win and we now want to win 3-0."

Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo. Go to http://twitter.com/miller_cricket to follow him on Twitter through the England tour of Bangladesh.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • fanacric on March 8, 2010, 6:53 GMT

    Thanks Mahbub for being so open and I strongly agree with you. You know what, it's really easy to take any decision against a team like Bangladesh. There is an old saying, "poor pays always"! Poor Bangladesh. God bless all the rich ........!

  • dummy4fb on March 5, 2010, 21:06 GMT

    What I don't understand is a new system called DRS or Decision Review System has been introduced albeit experimentally and is already in use in Australia, NZ and India. It gives the aggrieved party (batting and bowling) to review two doubtful calls by umpires per innings (in the lines of international tennis). The third Umpire or the umpire panel reviews it. This has curtailed a lot of controversial lbw and caught behind calls. I remember in the 90s how minnows like Sri Lanka used to get bamboozled by "patriotic" Australian umpires in ODIs and Tests just to make the scorecard look good for Australia. 3-0, a complete whitewash. BD has faced the same predicament and who by, another Australian umpire, Rod Tucker! Yes, Mr Tucker likes to use the rod on hapless BD when he can. Just because the Englishmen are at least 1 feet taller than the BD players their long legs are stretched way outside the line you give them the benefit of the doubt even if the ball hitting you is straight as a stiff

  • cricketbettingblog on March 3, 2010, 23:03 GMT

    Morgan definately got away with an LB, but all in all I thought he showed composure not usually associated with English batsmen.

    I know people (not me) are probably thinking 'Yeah, but it's only Bangladesh'. but the fact remains that the game was well in the balance when he first came out to bat, and again after a couple of quick wickets fell after the partnership with Prior was broken, and he kept his cool throughout and played the situation of the game, as well as the opponents.

    Remains to be seen whether there is a Test player there, but the selectors must be keen to have a look at him in 5 day cricket soon.

  • Gazzypops on March 3, 2010, 10:49 GMT

    Well, as an Englishman who doesn't have Sky, I have no idea exactly how close the Morgan LBW not-out was. The brief highlights on Sky's website suggested it was close but perhaps high and leg-side. Maybe a bad decision but one borne out of giving the batsman the benefit of the doubt. I thought Prior's LBW not-out early on looked fairly adjacent. Shame the umpires continue to make such poor decisions to call into question a match result. I'm replying, though, mainly to respond to Saosin's incredible Jonny Wilkinson/World Cup comment. Boring? Did you see that World Cup final?

  • SDHoneymonster on March 3, 2010, 10:41 GMT

    @ Saosin - don't you think it shows character to get out of these situations? They did it in tests against the Aussies and SA without the likes of Pietersen contributing. If you think that the nation "patted itself on the back" after winning the Ashes, you obviously don't live here. The team and cricket fans knew the hard work had just started and therefore the celebrations were actually rather low key. On umpiring decisions, you do have to feel sorry for Bangladesh but at some point everyone is on the end of bad luck regarding decisions in games, it's the way it goes. It'll even itself out, hopefully in a big game for them.

    Oh yeah, and RE: The 03 WC - best pack in tournament, best kicker, and for everyone who says we were boring, check out the try in the final. Nuff said :P

  • dummy4fb on March 3, 2010, 10:28 GMT

    Erm now congrats Bangladesh for doing well and yes you deserved to win, but England get jsut as many rough umpiring decisions as anyone else: Graeme Smith !!!!! for example. As for the Rugby World Cup comment that made my day. Great to know that still winds up the Aussies, Jonny Wilkinson forever

  • shoarthing on March 3, 2010, 9:29 GMT

    Positives: Bangladesh competitive - world-class fielding, decent batting & captaincy, good bowling when on a strip of loose crazy-paving.

    Negatives: Comically partisan Bangladesh support - it was genuinely, if sadly, funny to witness the silence greeting Morgan's 100, then his match-winning 6

  • dummy4fb on March 3, 2010, 9:05 GMT

    i would like to convey my msg .......plzz recheck lbw ....if this will happen again and asain cricket fans will decline futur there will b no cricket fans....... so i would like to request plzz recheck the lbw....and the result must be in ryt desion...

  • virtualshah on March 3, 2010, 7:22 GMT

    Hope, ICC's concern dept. will keep an eye on Mr. Rod Tucker way of Umpiring. I found most ordinary. we really miss the standard of Mr. Taufel / Mr. Dar. ( By the way, Mr. Tucker should not be allowed to continue in Test Matches )

  • dummy4fb on March 3, 2010, 5:57 GMT

    umpire's 4 times wrong desion...break our heart......today the match would for Bangladesh.......E.Morgan was caught in LBW but umpire didn't gave it out....i think umpire ate money from them.......anywayz bangladesh is still developin ....dey improved a lot then before...

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