ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
Bangladesh v England, World Cup, Group B, Chittagong
Dew dampens England's spirits
Sidharth Monga in Chittagong
March 11, 2011
Andrew Strauss pinpointed the evening dew in Chittagong as a factor that severely hampered England as they slipped to a two-wicket defeat but refused to blame his team's loss on the conditions. In the first half of Bangladesh's chase the dampness caused major problems, especially to Graeme Swann, and meant England had a lot of ground to claw back.
Although Strauss said that these were not win-toss-win-match conditions, he also believe it wasn't right that the spinner's role was effected so heavily. "Something [is] not quite right when a spinner can't grip the ball in these conditions, in these parts of the world, where spin plays such an important role."
As a result of the dew, England couldn't use Swann, the only spinner in the side, exactly the way they would have wanted to. "There was a 20-over period when it was very very bad," Strauss said. "Obviously Graeme couldn't grip the ball. That was hard work for us. It wasn't the reason we lost the game, I don't think, but certainly there was quite considerable dew there."
With the ball getting wet, Swann got into an argument with umpire Daryl Harper, who refused to have the ball changed as often as Swann wanted. Including the mandatory change at 34 overs, the ball was switched three times according to Strauss. Swann was later fined 10 percent of his match fee for violating the ICC's Code of Conduct. He was deemed to have breached article 2.1.4, which relates to "Using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting during an international match."
"Graeme was obviously very frustrated that he couldn't grip the ball," Strauss said. "He felt he had a big role to play in the game. For a period we had to take him off, until later on when he could grip it. It was frustrating for him, it was frustrating for all of us that the ball got as wet as it did. That happens, that's the conditions we encounter."
At one point the exhange Swann was threatening to boil over in his frustration and Strauss had to step in. "Graeme was asking to change the ball. I wasn't there, I don't know what was said between the two of them," Strauss said. "Once the exchange happened, I told Graeme to calm down and get on with it, and he did do so."
Strauss knew, though, that dew wasn't why England lost their second group match of a rollercoaster campaign. "Losing three wickets early certainly didn't help us," he said. "It was a pretty low, slow, stodgy wicket this afternoon. We needed wickets in hand to get to 240-250, which would have been a very good score.
"As it was, Eoin Morgan played exceptionally well I thought, and obviously Jonathan Trott stuck in there. We thought it was a par score, we thought we could defend it, and we got ourselves into a great performance to defend it. In the end we weren't able to take those last two wickets, which is desperately disappointing for us."
However, Strauss did make a pertinent observation about the dew. "One thing I would say is, it feels slightly strange to have the first ever day-nighter at a certain ground in a World Cup. So perhaps a lesson to be learned there." That obviously hasn't been a consideration in the tournament: the teams in Group A are playing at venues in Sri Lanka that are hosting their first matches, day-night or otherwise.
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