England v Bangladesh, 1st Test, Lord's May 25, 2005

Vaughan will bat at No. 3

Cricinfo staff



Michael Vaughan: first-down © Getty Images
Michael Vaughan will bat at No. 3, and Gareth Batty returns for his first game in over a year, as England unveiled their team for the first Test against Bangladesh at Lord's, starting on Thursday. Bangladesh, meanwhile, have named a squad of 12 that includes, as expected, their 16-year-old batting star, Mushfiqur Rahim.

Speaking at a press conference at Lord's on Wednesday morning, Vaughan confirmed that it would be him, and not Warwickshire's Ian Bell, who would be taking over in the hot seat at No. 3, and he added that he was delighted to be returning to the position for the first time since the second Test against Pakistan at Old Trafford in 2001 - a match in which he scored his first Test hundred, but that England went on to lose.

Bell slots in at No. 4, one place higher than he featured during his debut against West Indies at The Oval last summer, with Batty taking over from Ashley Giles, whose hip condition has failed to respond to treatment. It will be Batty's sixth Test, but his first at home. "It's unfortunate for Ash to miss the first Test of the summer," said Vaughan, "but we'd prefer him to be ready for the Ashes. He just needs some more rest to make sure the hip recovers, and he may be available for the second Test [at Chester-le-Street]. He will be missed, he's gained a lot of experience, but it gives an opportunity for Gareth to come in and show the whole nation what he can do. He's a fine prospect and it gives him some experience."

Bell for Robert Key and Batty for Giles are the only two changes from the team that played at Centurion in the fifth Test against South Africa in January. Jon Lewis, who was in line for a debut in that game as well, has been overlooked in favour of Simon Jones, who proved his fitness during Glamorgan's match against Hampshire this week.

Andrew Flintoff will be used sparingly when bowling as he continues to recover from an operation on his ankle. "Ideally, we wouldn't want to use him much this series," said Vaughan, "maybe later on in the summer - we will have a little eye on that. But he does need to bowl a bit to gain a bit of confidence. We will be using him in little short spells to get his confidence back."

Bangladesh have omitted their left-arm spinner, Enamul Haque jr, so their selection will come down to a three-way tussle in the middle-order, as Aftab Ahmed, Rajin Saleh and Rahim fight over the two remaining spots at Nos. 5 and 6. Although he was giving nothing away, Whatmore hinted strongly that one of those places would be filled by Rahim, who top-scored in both of Bangladesh's most recent warm-ups, including a career-best 115 not out at Northampton.

"He's got a good chance, hasn't he?" said Whatmore about Rahim, who was originally included in the squad as a wicketkeeping understudy for Khaled Mashud. "It's wonderful, absolutely brilliant for others in the group to have a look at what can be done in his position." The captain Habibul Bashar added, "I just want him to play his normal game." Anwar Hossain Monir, who has just one Test to his name, also leapfrogs his way into the squad, after performing well in his one outing against Northamptonshire. Tapash Baisya and Talha Jubair miss out, along with Enamul and the opening bat, Shahriar Nafees.

But if there were any doubts about Bangladesh's final eleven, nobody in the room was in doubt as to who the victors will be - and Vaughan added his voice: "We expect to beat them," he said, "and we expect to beat them well, but there will be a lot of hard work before we do that." A relaxed Vaughan was in jovial mood, and when asked whether he thought the victory would be completed inside three days so that he could dash to Cardiff for his football team Sheffield Wednesday's promotion play-off final he joked, "What game?" before adding swiftly, "I'd like to." But Whatmore was adamant that the match could go further. When asked if he envisaged a fifth day, he replied: "That will happen if there are enough good things done on each day."

Bashar said he was ready to play after recovering from a head injury sustained in the tour match against Sussex. A bulls-eye-like graze in the middle of his forehead was plain to see, but he said he was fine, and added: "I can head a football now." But what will take more patching-up is Bangladesh's batting order, which has a tendency to crumble: "It's not nice that we are getting wickets down all the time," added Bashar.

England 1 Andrew Strauss, 2 Marcus Trescothick, 3 Michael Vaughan (capt), 4 Ian Bell, 5 Graham Thorpe, 6 Andrew Flintoff, 7 Geraint Jones (wk), 8 Gareth Batty, 9 Matthew Hoggard, 10 Steve Harmison, 11 Simon Jones.

Bangladesh (from) 1 Javed Omar, 2 Nafis Iqbal, 3 Mohammad Ashraful, 4 Habibul Bashar (capt), 5 Rajin Saleh, 6 Mushfiqur Rahim, 7 Khaled Mashud (wk), 8 Mohammad Rafique, 9 Mashrafe Mortaza, 10 Anwar Hossain Monir, 11 Shahadat Hossain, 12 Aftab Ahmed.

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