Andrew Strauss played the hare and Ian Bell the tortoise, as England returned to winning ways by making light work of a decent but ultimately unchallenging target of 251 in the first ODI against Bangladesh at Trent Bridge
Andrew Strauss played the hare and Ian Bell the tortoise, as England returned to winning ways by making light work of a decent but ultimately unchallenging target of 251 in the first ODI against Bangladesh at Trent Bridge. Under the floodlights, and in front of a sparse 8,500 crowd, Strauss gave his side a flying start with 50 from 37 balls, before Bell ambled across the finish line with 29 balls to spare, having marked his first 50-over appearance since November 2008 with 84 not out from 101.
The final result was in keeping with recent contests between these two teams. Bangladesh did not disgrace themselves - far from it - but neither were England required to reach top gear to maintain their 100% record. In Raqibul Hasan, last seen flouncing into "retirement" ahead of the Chittagong Test in March, Bangladesh showcased another young batsman with the technique and talent to add value to their often brittle middle-order, while Junaid Siddique showed sound judgment in his 70-ball 51. But England's dominance was epitomised by James Anderson, who was smacked for 74 in ten overs, but was nevertheless able to weigh in with three wickets.
With Mashrafe Mortaza returning to the captaincy that he relinquished through injury 12 months ago, Bangladesh won the toss and chose to play to their strengths by batting first. Sure enough, Tamim Iqbal picked up where he had left off in June by smacking consecutive fours from the first balls of both Anderson and Tim Bresnan's new-ball spells, and at 40 for 0 after six overs, the stage was set for another of his whirlwind fifties.
Stuart Broad, however, ended all such notions by pinning Tamim lbw for 28 as he attempted a glide to third man, and when Bangladesh were limited to seven runs from their next four overs, their hopes of racing to an impregnable total were dashed. When Imrul Kayes lobbed Anderson to Eoin Morgan at extra cover for 14, Bangladesh were 70 for 2 in the 14th over, but this time, the departure of the openers did not lead to the sort of surrender that had been witnessed during last month's Test series.
That was largely thanks to the earthy efforts of Siddique, who produced a handful of shots of real authority before being nailed lbw by Michael Yardy, and Raqibul, who would not have been playing had it not been for Jahurul Islam's withdrawal through illness on the eve of the game. This was his first international since that Chittagong protest, but the headstrong naivety he had shown on that occasion was shelved for this performance.
An arrow-straight drive off Paul Collingwood brought Raqibul an excellent fifty from 61 balls, and he might have expected more had it not been for a painful blow to the foot that brought about a somewhat farcical downfall. On 76, he was struck on the boot by an Anderson yorker, went down for lengthy treatment, and called for a runner. Before he had even faced another delivery, a three-man mix-up led to him being run out by the length of the pitch. It brought an unedifying end to his tour, after scans showed he'd sustained a broken toe, putting him out of action for two weeks.
A late collapse of four wickets for 15 runs ensured a flaccid finish to Bangladesh's innings, and that lack of oomph was put in context as soon as Strauss got into his stride in the run-chase. He cracked seven fours in first Powerplay to leave his team perfectly placed on 66 for 0 after 10 overs, but then, having brought up his half-century by dabbing Abdur Razzak through backward point for three, he answered Craig Kieswetter's call for a sharp single in the same over, and was caught short of his crease by a pinpoint throw from Mahmudullah in the covers.
Kieswetter at this stage had been trailing in his skipper's wake on 19, much as he had done in each of the three innings of his debut series in Bangladesh back in March, when Alastair Cook had been the unlikely man to outscore him. He responded to the setback by flogging Razzak imperiously over long-off for an inside-out six, but before he could really hit his top gear, he sized up a slog-sweep against Shakib, and picked out Faisal Hossain on the midwicket boundary.
At 93 for 2 in the 15th over, Collingwood came out to join Bell who was playing in his first ODI since November 2008, and the pair proceeded with utmost caution, picking off a solitary boundary between them in 13 overs. On 20, Bell was beaten by a beauty from Shakib that spat and turned, and flew away past batsman and keeper alike for four byes, but that was the full extent of England's alarms.
Of greater concern, however, was an incident at the end of the 26th over, when Bangladesh's wicketkeeper, Mushfiqur Rahim, was struck on the cheekbone by a nasty lifting delivery from Faisal. His face swelled up almost immediately, and after a delay of several minutes, he was stretchered off the field and taken to hospital. He will now miss the final two matches against England but could return for Bangladesh's fixtures against Ireland, Scotland and Netherlands at the end of the tour.
His replacement behind the stumps, Junaid Siddique, was soon called upon, as Collingwood brought a dour partnership to an end by top-edging a mow across the line to give Shakib his second wicket, and Eoin Morgan made 23 from 26 balls before hoisting Razzak to deep midwicket. But for all the criticisms that have been levelled at Bell over the years, turning down a chance for easy runs is not one of them. He sealed the contest with a cut into the covers for his 84th run. It hardly amounted to a like-for-like replacement for Kevin Pietersen, but in the circumstances, it fitted England's requirements precisely.