|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Games||Mobile|
At Chester-le-Street, June 3, 4, 5. England won by an innings and 27 runs. Toss: England.
The Riverside Test stuck uncannily to the script of the previous match: Vaughan won the toss, England bowled out Bangladesh in half a day and, though there was more resistance second time around, still completed an innings triumph so early on the third day that spectators were entitled to a refund, leading to further muttering about Bangladesh's Test status.
The game began on a Friday, the first time non-Thursday scheduled start for a Test in England in 50 years. Ostensibly, it was to ensure three clear days between matches (though the early finish at Lord's made that five, anyway), but the suspicion was that it was actually to ensure at least one day's play over the weekend. The Durham club had done well to ensure that the Riverside's second Test was a virtual sellout for the first three days, but sadly the crowds were not rewarded with a gripping contest. Those who did turn up on Sunday saw only 26 deliveries, three of them no-balls, and could claim all of their money back (minus a small handling fee), a financial blow covered by the ECB's insurance scheme.
There were a few subplots to enliven proceedings. Would boxing-fan Flintoff get away in time to attend the world title fight in the early hours of Sunday? Would wicketkeeper Geraint Jones be in trouble with the referee for claiming a doubtful catch? And would Vaughan fulfil his aim of a win inside two days so that the Australians, due to land at Heathrow at 5.30 a.m. on Sunday, could pick up the newspapers and read about English domination? He failed, but only just.
With Ashley Giles still unavailable because of a damaged right hip, England were unchanged. Bangladesh dropped pace bowler Shahadat Hossain, after an expensive debut at Lord's, and had to leave out 16-year-old Mushfiqur Rahim, who had twisted an ankle on the hotel stairs; Rajin Saleh and Tapash Baisya replaced them. On a blameless pitch, England's four-pronged pace attack barely broke sweat on the first day, dismissing Bangladesh for 104, their lowest score of the series, in 40 overs. To the spectators' delight, local champion Harmison led the way, claiming his fifth five-wicket Test haul and returning to something like his best after a chilling winter tour. Harmison's daughters were watching, and taking wickets was little more than child's play. The Bangladesh batsmen showed scant idea of how to handle a ball deviating off the straight or bouncing above waist height. Geraint Jones was presented with six routine catches in the innings, and finished with nine in the match. Only Javed Omar and Khaled Mashud made it to double figures. By the end of the first day, Trescothick had scored his second big century of the series and England led by 165.
There was little to challenge them, other than the clock, so England used that to keep them enthused. But Flintoff, who had tickets for Ricky Hatton's world light-welterweight title fight with Kostya Tszyu back in Manchester, could not quite make it. Bell and Thorpe added 178 in 30 overs on Saturday before the lunchtime declaration, when they were 343 ahead. Bell scored 105 in the session to reach 162 not out, a maiden Test century in his third match, though it never tested his ability to play at the top level.
Confronted with a hopeless position and a drier pitch, Bangladesh's batsmen decided the best form of survival was attack. At least they made the second day entertaining, and they almost doubled their previous best of the series. Vaughan said England had not stuck to their disciplines in the chase for wickets; Bangladesh thought they had simply batted to their capabilities. Omar, their most consistent batsman, captain Habibul Bashar, looking more relaxed after dropping to No. 5, and Aftab Ahmed scored half-centuries with some fluent if risky strokeplay: Habibul lashed Simon Jones for four fours in an over, Aftab lifted Flintoff for an enormous six over long leg. Only three overs away from the scheduled close, they were 235 for five. But Hoggard struck twice in four balls, and again after England claimed the extra half-hour, though they could not quite finish the job.
Instead, they completed it in four overs next morning. Hoggard took the last two wickets to end with five and the match award, which he received with great embarrassment: he had, he said, bowled "like a trollop".
Afterwards, Bangladesh manager Latif Khan complained that Geraint Jones had brought the game into disrepute by claiming a low catch to dismiss Nafis Iqbal on Saturday afternoon, when the ball appeared to have bounced in front of his gloves. Referee Alan Hurst ruled that the television replay was inconclusive, and that there was no suggestion Jones had intended to deceive the umpires.
Man of the Match: M. J. Hoggard.