England v Bangladesh, 2nd Test, Old Trafford, 3rd day June 6, 2010

Bangladesh surrender leaves Ashes questions unanswered

England's powerful finale was too good for Bangladesh, but tougher tests await

It has taken England four Tests, but on the third afternoon at Old Trafford they found the menace to blow Bangladesh away in the manner that most people believed they should managed from the Chittagong Test onwards. For the second time in two days they claimed 10 wickets in a session, but on this occasion there was no Tamim Iqbal charge to overcome. It was an evisceration from first over to last.

The conditions again played England a helping hand with a muggy, overcast day. The pitch was covered until around midday and it certainly appeared to have quickened up a fraction as James Anderson and Steven Finn bent their backs. The previous evening it was considered a 50-50 call as to whether Andrew Strauss would enforce the follow-on, but this quickly became an occasion to hurry the game along.

"Two crazy sessions to finish the game and it was a nice way to wrap things up," Strauss said. "Generally we did a very professional and efficient job and a lot has come from those two games of cricket as well. We are pretty happy with the way things went but we are also realistic - there are more significant and sterner tests to come for us.

"But it has been really good to have a look at some of the other guys that have come in - the likes of Finny, Ajmal [Shahzad] - they have certainly made a significant impact in this Test match and Eoin Morgan has got a game as well. I think that is encouraging."

It would have been interesting to see what both the captain and the bowlers would have done had the sun been beating down again. Strauss hasn't always been a fan of the follow-on, while the pace attack have been much less threatening without the assistance of the clouds. As Jamie Siddons, the Bangladesh, reiterated: "It doesn't swing and doesn't seam in Australia."

Tamim's assault on the second afternoon - which seemed like an eternity ago after 20 wickets had tumbled in two sessions - did raise further concerns about England's attack and didn't do anything to silence the debate over four or five bowlers. That is likely to rumble on until November 25 in Brisbane and Strauss, while not considering the argument that it would have been better for his attack to try and remove Bangladesh in flatter conditions, admitted there was more room for improvement.

"You never want to make harder work of it than you do, but I think over the two Test matches there were periods when we would have liked to have bowled better," he said. "And there were periods we probably would have liked to have batted better as well. I think that is probably the way of looking at it, rather than at what the opposition did. That is not something we can control particularly."

However, this was still by far England's most clinical display with the ball during their recent head-to-heads with Bangladesh. Anderson began the rout second-ball when he ended Tamim's memorable series with a short ball that was edged to the keeper and Siddons said his opening spell would have troubled any side.

"Anderson's swing would have beaten any left-hander's bat in those first few overs," he said. "His first spell would have got a lot of wickets, [other] batsmen would have been good enough to get bat on them. He tore the heart out of us and he also got his one going the other way which made it very difficult."

Finn, although still not managing to stay on his feet the entire time, bounced out Imrul Kayes for the fourth time in the series and returned to collect his second consecutive five-wicket haul. It secured him the Man-of-the-Series award and, although much sterner tests await, his stock continues to rise to match his considerable height.

"I am not kidding myself," Finn said. "I have taken two five-fors. I was quite fortunate to take five today, I think the other guys bowled fantastically well, especially Ajmal and Jimmy. The pressure they built helped. It is fantastic to take two five-fors in two Tests but by no means am I kidding myself that anything is going to be easier from here on in. It is for me to put in performances and keep trying to do so."

With the promising debut of Shahzad, who claimed the wicket of Shakib Al Hasan to add to his three first-innings scalps, England's collection of pace bowlers continues to be bolstered. Ryan Sidebottom was left out of the XI here and Stuart Broad will return for the one-dayers which begin against Scotland on June 19.

"Long-term you are never going to play the same XI. It is impossible to believe that is going to happen," Strauss said. "You need to have good strength-in-depth in the bowling resources. We always thought Steven and Ajmal had the capability of playing Test cricket. Finny has shown that over the four Test matches he has played. He has got a good future ahead of him.

"Ajmal has taken what we saw in the nets, which we were quite impressed by, out into the middle. He has added his name to that list of guys that are there or thereabouts for selection."

Due to the summer's mangled schedule, England now take a break from Test action until the end of July when they face Pakistan in a four-match series. With bans being lifted on the likes of the former captain, Younis Khan, they will present a much sterner challenge although a batting collapse will never be far away. However, England can't expect to take 20 wickets again in such a rush and by the end of that series they'll need the answers to some pressing Ashes questions.

Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Cameron on June 9, 2010, 4:48 GMT

    England win in Australia? You're having a laugh. Paul Rone-Clarke would do well check out Doug Bollinger's recent statistical output in cricket matches of substance i.e. test cricket. I'm not sure he will be laughing. What ever has transpired in England's matches with Bangladesh has little or no bearing on what you will face when you turn up here in November. All this "spent force", "passed it", "over the hill" chat is fantastic. You lot are merrily walking head first into a mauling. You are not playing in England. It will be here, in Australia: where the English have not covered themselves in glory for a very long time...let alone even won a test here in a good many years (even that was a dead rubber).

  • THomas on June 9, 2010, 2:11 GMT

    You have to being Finn to Australia.. His height on a good wicket will create chances.. even his height on a poor wicket at least changes it up! It is time for Tim Bresnan to go back to county, he isn't an international bowler, same goes for Bell as an International batsmen! he thrives on scoring massively against Bangladesh to make his average acceptable at test level. Anderson, Broad, Finn, Onions and Swan as the bowling attack. Strauss, Cook, Trott, Pieterson, Collingwood, Prior. I know its a risk to play five bowlers, but unless they get freddy back, they don't have a decent all rounder, though i would like to see Swan bat higher and have some responsibility with the bat.

  • Dan on June 8, 2010, 13:57 GMT

    I'd make Australia slight favourites for The Ashes not because of any great gulf in class, I don't think there's much between any of the top five teams at the minute in the longer game, but because of home advantage. The Australian pace attack certainly shouldn't scare anyone, they've got a number of interchangeably OK pacemen who come in and have a few decent games before dropping out again and Mitchell Johnson who arrived in England last summer to a massive fanfare only to prove a virtual dud. He looks mentally weak to me, the only time his bowling rose above the risible was in the second innings at Headingley by which time the match was won, the rest of the series he crumbled under the slightest pressure. If confirmation was needed that he doesn't have the stomach for a fight the way he was obviously frightened by Steve Harmison's bowling at The Oval confirmed it.

  • Martin on June 8, 2010, 9:52 GMT

    Neil Simpson is pretty much on the money. My main concern is whether Anderson will swing the ball out there, he can be pretty innocuous and expensive when he can't. Onions, if fit, could well be a better option. Broad and Finn will 'hit the deck'. I think Shahzad will reverse-swing it. He has the build of a workhorse, has good pace and I liked the way he demolished the stumps with pitched-up reverse swing.

    Like Neil I think England will need 5 bowlers, so the question could be whether Trott opens in place of Cook, who doesn't look solid enough to me. If Cook plays, Trott vs Bell for the 5th batting place will presumably be decided by the Pakistan series.

  • Amahl on June 8, 2010, 9:42 GMT

    Anderson is a condition oriented bowler, if the ball does not swing, he is rendered practically useless. He will have to make very good use of whatever he can get on grounds such as the Gabba and the MCG. The best bowling attack for England in Australia would be Broad, Anderson, Sidebottom and Swann. I think both Finn and Shahzad have been hyped up excessively and in a big Ashes series away from home may find it difficult to live up to such vast expectations. England will certainly have it tough in Australia, their record there is certainly not admirable although this new attitude side may be able to better the mediocre sides that would travel to be hammered. They have a lot of loose ends to tie up however, they need better more confident starts from their top order and much tighter bowling against aggressive batsman (of which there will be no dearth in Australia). England have not responded to pressure well away from home, this is the ultimate test to see whether they can do it now.

  • Russell on June 8, 2010, 8:35 GMT

    The Aussie pace attack will consist of Bollinger, Harris & Johnson. Horrible Hauritz will be the spin option, with Watson as covering Seamer. North, Clarke & Katich as desperation spin options. Anyone who mentions Lee, Tait & Clark is thinking about the Ashes from 2005 - none of these three will come into contention in 2010. Bollinger, Harris & Johnson all have grown up bowling on Aussie pitches in Aussie conditions & have played many games at the 2010 Ashes venues - thats a given. Exactly why they will do better than Anderson, Finn, Shahzad & Broad. Anderson is the only one with any decent experience on Aussie pitches, albiet averaging over 50 in Australia. Broad and Swan should thrive in Aussie conditions. Fiinn might too if he is taken and resists the urge to bowl too fast...

  • shane on June 8, 2010, 7:30 GMT

    English bowling is pretty ordianry they dont have any bowler who can trouble quality batsman all of the english bowlers are just medium pacers no pace in their attack..In the series against bangladesh at the top they got hammered by tamim and only when they had the weather on their side they got some wickets..And also in their batting just a couple of players are getting runs rest are just to make the team..Irish morgan isnt a test player and england havent got any real batsman apart from strauss and the southafrican kp..

  • sridhar on June 8, 2010, 5:31 GMT

    I think England is an improving side but you need to look at England's performance in Australia over the last several years. They have continued to be "pretenders". They have a good bowler in Swann and a couple of match winners in Pietersen and pidharerhaps Trott.I think Australia has a decent attack and I don"t know why people talk about Lee and Tait, they are not in the test squad or consideration.England will be surprised by Bollinger and if they still think he is a second XI bowler they are in for a shock. Australia too is vulnerable, so it is not the Australia of old , but they have beaten whoever they have come into contact with and are a much better fielding unit. It will be two above average sides competing. Home advantage will be a big thing. Australia barring injuries should win, albeit narrowly , but to us in India , a great contest in the offing and much better commentary than the IPL! sridhar sr

  • John on June 8, 2010, 1:26 GMT

    There seem to be some confused thinkers here, with the exception of DeanJukes. The Australians need to be worrying about how they are going to get England out on flat pitches, with no world-class spinner and a bunch of quicks who would be, let's face it, nowhere near the test team if this were 4 years ago. Last time England toured Australia, the Aussies had Warne, McGrath, Lee and Stuart Clark. England didn't have Vaughan, Trescothick and Simon Jones and Flintoff was coming off a serious injury and wasn't fit. Since then the Aussies have lost all their great bowlers plus Hayden, Langer and Gilchrist. Ponting, Katich and Hussey will all be 35, Watson's a makeshift opener and North is hardly a big threat. Since there's no swing and seam in Australia, bowlers get their wickets through bounce and England have Broad and Finn, big tall guys who can bounce the ball (ask Kayes). Of course the Aussies will be hard to beat, they always are, but this England team matches up well with them.

  • Dummy4 on June 8, 2010, 0:24 GMT

    When Doug "the mug" Bollinger paid for Worcestershire 18 months ago - he was truly awful. I mean, if he wasn't the "star" overseas player - he would not even have got a second team place. Utter rubbish. Check stats guru for his woeful figures against second division batters in the English County system. match after match of piechucking trash tossed down. He leads the Aussie attack? You're having a laugh! He's rubbish!

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