Second Test Match

Bangladesh v England

At Chittagong, October 29, 30, 31, November 1, 2003. England won by 329 runs. Toss: Bangladesh. Test debut: M. J. Saggers.

For six consecutive Tests, coinciding with the arrival of Dav Whatmore as coach, Bangladesh had displayed a slow but steady improvement, and seemed at last to be coming to terms with Test cricket. At Chittagong, however, they were sent scurrying back to the drawing board, as England wrapped up a 2-0 sweep of the series with an emphatic 329-run victory.

It was not the heaviest defeat of Whatmore's brief reign (Australia had twice beaten them by an innings in July) but it was the most dispiriting. Bangladesh had competed eagerly for seven of the nine days in the series, including the first half of this match, but fell away badly as England brought their discipline and fitness to bear.

England's enforcer was Johnson, playing in only his second Test. On debut, against Zimbabwe in June, he had bowled a full, pad-rapping length to pluck out six wickets for 33. Here, he realigned his radar to buzz around the Bangladeshis' midriffs, and gained match figures of nine for 93, becoming the first English bowler since Nick Cook in 1983 to pick up five-wicket hauls in his first two Tests.

Johnson had not been an original selection for the tour party. He abandoned his honeymoon in the Maldives when Anderson withdrew with a knee injury, and stepped up to the Test team when Harmison's back gave way after his match-winning efforts at Dhaka. His reward was a fright of a pitch - all green and tufty, like a Martian's chest hair - quite unlike any other that England had encountered on tour. It gave ample assistance to the seamers and no end of problems to Bangladesh's brittle batsmen, who mustered 290 in two innings.

Bangladesh's captain, Khaled Mahmud, had betrayed his batsmen's anxieties at the toss, when he opted to bowl first despite the selection of two spinners, Enamul Haque and Mohammad Rafiq, who had been his most prized assets in the closeish encounter at Dhaka. England, by contrast, had packed their side with seamers - Johnson, Hoggard and the debutant Martin Saggers - while retaining the off-colour Giles, who contributed only seven overs in the entire match, apparently on humanitarian grounds.

Quite apart from avoiding England's pace men, Mahmud had gambled on exploiting what little moisture there might have been in the wicket. When Trescothick and Vaughan eased to another century opening stand, that line of optimism was quashed. But then, quite without warning, England lost four wickets in five overs to tumble to 134 for four. Trescothick flapped loosely to point, Butcher was suckered by Rafiq's arm-ball, and when Vaughan and Thorpe fell in three balls to the highly promising pace man, Mashrafe bin Mortaza, the apparent standard of the opposition counted for little.

But England had the perfect combination of young and old to dig themselves out of trouble. Hussain later described his funereal 76 as one of the best innings of his career; that might have been over-egging it, but in loitering for nearly six hours and 266 balls he approached the Bangladeshi bowlers as if he were trying to recreate his Durban epic of 1999-2000 against Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock.

At the other end of the experience scale was Rikki Clarke, given his opportunity by Flintoff 's absence, and discovering there was no time like the present for making his mark. The pair added 116 for the fifth wicket to calm the jitters, only for England to surrender their last five for 13. But Clarke, who struggled with a virus throughout the match, revealed a happy wicket-taking knack as well, grabbing two in consecutive deliveries as Bangladesh tottered to 93 for four at the close of the second day.

That marked the end of Bangladesh's resistance - for this match, and for the remainder of England's visit. Their last six wickets tumbled in 24 overs: four for Johnson and his alarming bounce, and a brace for Saggers, another man who had dumped his holiday plans to answer the call. If Saggers was to be England's latest one-cap wonder, he did at least make his big day out a memorable one - especially in the second innings, when he pulled off an astonishing one-handed, back-pedalling catch at fine leg to remove Alok Kapali.

England launched their second innings without Trescothick, who had bruised his thumb while attempting a slip catch, so Butcher stepped out to open with Vaughan, and responded with his first fluent innings of the tour. His impetus even rubbed off on Hussain, who took 34 deliveries to get past his first run, but then warmed to the theme by slapping a merry 95 from 144 balls.

Bangladesh's last vestige of hope vanished when Mortaza - easily their classiest bowler - fell awkwardly in his follow-through and limped out of the match with a twisted knee. Vaughan declared at the close of the third day with a lead of 467 and, though defeat for Bangladesh may have been inevitable, surrender was not a foregone conclusion. Two early run-outs, however, sealed their fate. Clarke found the strength to grab a wicket in his only over before returning to his sickbed, and Saggers pulled off that catch. Only Mahmud hung around with any intent, but when he paddled a simple catch off Johnson, Vaughan gratefully accepted the offering at square leg to complete his first series victory as England captain.

Man of the Match: R. L. Johnson. Man of the Series: M. J. Hoggard.

Close of play: First day, England 237-4 (Hussain 47, Clarke 53); Second day, Bangladesh 93-4 (Rajin Saleh 24, Mushfiqur Rahman 16); Third day, England 293-5 (Read 38, Trescothick 1).

© John Wisden & Co