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November 1, 2003
Richard Johnson: Man of the Match with match figures of 9 for 93
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England 326 and 293 for 5 dec beat Bangladesh 152 and 138 by 329 runs
After competing hard throughout the series it was disappointing that Bangladesh ended it with an indisciplined batting performance which saw them bowled out inside three hours and slide to a 329-run defeat. England's overnight declaration left them chasing a target almost 300 runs higher than their previous second-innings best in Tests, an impossible task, but two needless run-outs and some poor batting made for a woefully one-sided day.
So much of the progress Bangladesh have made in recent months, and especially during this series, was forgotten as their top-order batsmen perished playing expansive shots or through schoolboy running. They were never going to win this game, but they had a chance to bat for long periods with relatively little pressure. They prefered to treat the innings as if it was part of a one-day international.
They got off to a poor start when they lost Hannan Sarkar in the second over of the day. As he had done yesterday morning, Richard Johnson got extra bounce which surprised Sarkar who fended the ball away from his body and Chris Read, the wicketkeeper, took an acrobatic one-handed catch diving down the leg side, the first of five catches for him (5 for 1).
Habibul Bashar then took the attack to the bowlers before he was run-out in a dreadful mix-up for which Javed Omar was to blame. Bashar turned for a tight third run, Omar was guilty of ball-watching and by the time he looked up Bashar was committed to the run. Martin Saggers's pin-point return from the square-leg boundary left him stranded, and Bangladesh's best batsman was needlessly gone for 19 (33 for 2).
Omar didn't last that much longer himself, aiming to cut a ball from Saggers that was never there for the shot and only sending the ball in a gentle arc to Read (51 for 3) and then Mushfiqur Rahman became the second run-out victim. Rajin Saleh pushed the ball into the covers and called for an improbable single, Michael Vaughan swooped and his return left the diving Rahman a foot short. It was a crazy run at the best of times; facing a target of over 400, it was inexcusable.
It got worse. A pale Rikki Clarke, who had spent most of yesterday confined to his hotel bed, took to the field long enough to bowl one over, and with his sixth delivery Rajin Saleh aimed an expansive drive and the outside edge gave Read his third catch of the day (70 for 5). Clarke left the field ahead of the departing Saleh and didn't reappear.
Waltzing to a win: Martin Saggers and Marcus Trescothick celebrate Saggers's wonder catch in the deep
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The morning ended in spectacular fashion. In the penultimate over Alok Kapali hooked Saggers out of the ground, and drove the next ball back past the bowler for four. In the next over Kapali almost became the third run-out casualty, beating Saggers's throw from the boundary by inches. It was the briefest of reprieves. Johnson banged one in, Kapali top-edged the hook and Saggers took a remarkable one-handed catch at backward square leg, diving backwards and clinging to the ball five yards in the from the ropes (91 for 6). Six wickets had gone down inside the first two hours.
With the dreadfully out-of-sorts Ashley Giles restricted to five nondescript overs during the morning, England persevered with pace, and as the wickets tumbled the balls were pitched shorter and shorter. Khaled Mashud was given out caught behind for 15 off Johnson, although replays suggested that the ball had struck his armguard as he tried to get out of the way (108 for 7).
Khaled Mahmud gave his side a scrap of self-respect with a breezy innings of 33 which included a big six off Matthew Hoggard, but it was simply delaying the inevitable, and with Mashrafe Mortaza incapacitated, when Johnson removed him 55 minutes into the afternoon it was all over.
For the first time since 1978-79 England had won three Tests on the trot overseas. Then it was against a Packer-depleted Australian side, but with the exception of today, this Bangladesh side fought every bit as hard, if not harder, than the Australians had done against Mike Brearley's side. Their abject second-innings performance should not overshadow that achievement.
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