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The Wisden Bulletin by Freddie Auld
November 12, 2003
England 185 for 3 (Flintoff 52*, Trescothick 50, Collingwood 46*) beat Bangladesh 182 by seven wickets
Andrew Flintoff: another day, another fifty, another Man of the match award
England comfortably won the final ODI at Dhaka and thus completed a 3-0 clean sweep in this short series. They were made to work a touch harder for it this time, but Bangladesh's fighting total of 182, in which their lower order again helped them out, was still never going to be enough. Marcus Trescothick led the reply with a calm half-century before Paul Collingwood and that man Andrew Flintoff again led England home with 10 overs to spare, and to their third consecutive seven-wicket win.
After Vikram Solanki, who scored only 11 runs in the series, again fell early with an angled slash outside off stump off Mushfiqur Rahman for 1, Trescothick and Michael Vaughan and took their time to build a winning platform - the first boundary of the innings, from Vaughan, didn't come until the seventh over.
The Bangladesh attack kept things tight, but only Rahman posed any real threat, and he trapped Vaughan lbw in the 16th over with one that moved in off the seam a touch and hit Vaughan plumb in front for 29 (66 for 2). Rahman bowled with good pace and movement, but after he finished his spell of 2 for 29 from his 10 overs, the game was all but over.
Trescothick started to stamp a calm authority on the game, picking out the singles with ease and unleashing the odd big hit. He came down the track to Khaled Mahmud and smacked him over long-on for four, and then carved him over point for his fifth boundary. Collingwood, meanwhile, was happy to pick out the many gaps in the field, including a huge heave off the left-arm spinner Manjural Islam Rana over midwicket for four and a dazzling lofted cover-drive. Trescothick, just after reaching his fifty, then played around a straight one from Mahmud which kept low and bowled him (102 for 3). The under-fire Mahmud had some good news for once - but the sight of Flintoff striding out wiped the smile off his face pretty quickly.
Flintoff waited for six overs to signal the charge. But after a quiet start he suddenly drove Rafique past mid-on for four and then deposited him over long-on to pass Ian Botham's record of the most sixes by an Englishman in ODIs. That strike was Flintoff's 45th maximum, beating Botham's 44 in 65 matches. Then just for good measure, he smashed Tapash Baisya over midwicket for another four. And you know it's your day when even the umpires don't want you to get out. After missing a sweep against Manjural, Flintoff somehow survived a stumping which Akhtaruddin, the third umpire, decided wasn't out.
From then on, it was a stroll under the Dhaka lights for Collingwood and Flintoff, who collected his third Man of the Match award. He hammered a further three sixes to take it his tally to ten in the series, which he has dominated from the start. But at least the England batsmen were pushed a touch harder this time for their routine victory after Bangladesh made a much better fist of things to reach a respectable 182 from 49.1 overs.
James Anderson strikes early, catching Moniruzzaman off his own bowling
After the hapless Moniruzzaman was caught and bowled by James Anderson for a second successive duck (6 for 1), Hannan Sarkar and Habibul Bashar, arguably Bangladesh's best batsmen, did their best to keep up the a refreshingly competitive run-rate. Collingwood checked their progress with a spectacular throw off balance to run out Hannan (35 for 2), but unlike the previuos two games, there was no sudden wicket landslide. Habibul, with the help of Rajin Saleh, put on a sturdy partnership of 31. It wasn't exciting stuff, but it represented a definite improvement.
But in between the odd big hit, England slowly reasserted the pressure, and Rikki Clarke undid all the batsmen's good early work with two quick wickets. He struck with his first ball when Habibul played right across the line to a dead-eyed straight delivery and was lbw (66 for 3). In the next over, Gareth Batty's first, Saleh attempted to sweep a straight ball, but only gloved it over his head to Chris Read for 19 (75 for 4). Things got even worse when Alok Kapali was bowled by Clarke trying a horrible pull shot off a ball far too full, and lost his off stump (83 for 5).
Then followed the farcical run-out of Mahmud, the beleagured captain. He and Rahman both ended up at the non-striker's end, and there was a slight delay as the third umpire worked out who was actually out. England wanted the more dangerous Rahman to go, but the crowd wanted the head of Mahmud - and they got it (103 for 6).
However, England's bowlers again failed to polish off the tail. Rahman injected 36 valuable runs, with five boundaries, to the total before he was unluckily given out lbw to Flintoff (139 for 7). Flintoff's yorker then again paid dividends when he cleaned up Mashud, who hung around for 16. Manjural and Rafique further frustrated England until two late strikes by James Kirtley ended their innings on 183 with five balls remaining.
Vaughan and his side now head to Sri Lanka with a clean sweep in both the Bangladesh series, but it's a different story for Khaled Mahmud, who may well have played his last match for Bangladesh.
What's wrong with their cricket? Well, what isn't?