England U-19 v Bangladesh A, Loughborough, 3rd day July 8, 2008

Redfern shines in rain-forced draw

John Ward at Loughborough

Bangladesh A 195 for 7 declared (Imrul 62, Sanderson 4-52) drew with England Under-19s 142 for 6 (Redfern 43*, Mahbubul 2-56)

The match can be adjudged a good contest spoiled by rain. More than half of the available playing time was lost to the weather, but from what took place it can be said that these were two well-balanced side who deserved a four-day match unaffected by rain. The third day produced some better weather, and even some sun now and again, but the sides were already doomed to play out a draw. Nevertheless there was some good competitive cricket on view.

Bangladesh A, 115 for 4 overnight, began the day with confidence, with Naeem Islam and Dhiman Ghosh driving confidently during an enterprising partnership of 63. The England bowling was mediocre and James Harris, so economical on the first day, had a bad morning. The stroke of the match, one that perhaps even Kevin Pietersen has yet to play, was a remarkable back-foot short-hand swat, almost a tennis stroke, by Naeem that deposited a short ball from Ben Sanderson onto the sightscreen for six.

These were cameos rather than major innings, though, and three wickets were to fall for the addition of 10 runs. Ghosh skied a pull to midwicket and Naeem swung across the line to be trapped lbw. Bangladesh declared on 195 for 7 allowing their bowlers three overs before lunch. Sanderson, with 4 for 52, was the best of the bowlers overall.

This was enough to show England they had a fight on their hands, even if an outright result was out of the question. The seamer, Mahbubul Alam, beat the bat several teams even in his first over, and with his third ball had Chris Allinson adjudged lbw, despite stretching far down the pitch with his front leg. No runs were scored until the third over, and England went in on 3 for 1.

After lunch, there were fewer misses but more edges to the slips, at least one of which could have been caught, and a good number of runs also gathered. England struggled as they rarely do in 'warm-up' matches, but they always kept a positive approach. There were useful innings from James Taylor (26), Tom Westley (14) and Alex Hales (24), but no more than useful - as with Bangladesh, batsmen were really needed who dug in for the long haul.

There was speculation at tea, when England were 94 for 5, as to whether Bangladesh might be able to bowl them out in the final session and claim a moral advantage. But the one England specialist batsman with his eye on the long haul, Dan Redfern, was still there, and he found an able partner in the wicket-keeper, Ben Brown. They appeared quite comfortable as they shared a sensible stand of 55, which took them to within 15 minutes of the earliest permissible cut-off time of five o'clock, before Brown fell to a catch at midwicket for 32. Redfern finished unbeaten on 43, an innings that brought him much credit.

Mahbubul was the most successful bowler, with 2 for 56, but he deserved better. Also worthy of note was the left-arm spinner Suhrawadi Shuvo, who tied up one end very skilfully, taking 1 for 19 in his 10 overs.