England 278 for 6 (Duckett 63, Billings 62, Stokes 47*) beat Bangladesh 277 for 6 (Mushfiqur 67*, Sabbir 49, Imrul 46, Tamim 45, Rashid 4-43) Scorecard and ball-by-ball updates
Hold the pose and watch the ball disappear down the ground high into the crowd. Such was the perfect manner in which Chris Woakes settled a wonderful one-day series. Little speaks more highly of England than the fact they turned up in Bangladesh the first place but, having turned up, they fulfilled their aims on the field as they ended Bangladesh's run of six successive series wins in ODIs on home soil.
Bangladesh have an impressive lists of conquests to their name, but they have still not beaten England in a bilateral series, losing this one 2-1 as they went down in Chittagong by four wickets with seven balls to spare. Their 277 for 6 looked formidable on a slow pitch that turned substantially for Adil Rashid as he took ODI-best figures of 4 for 43. But the pitch quickened slightly as the dew fell, their finger spinners failed to find the same purchase and England met the run chase with imagination and maturity.
When Eoin Morgan and Alex Hales withdrew from the Bangladesh tour because of safety concerns, England made it clear that there would be no retribution, while stressing that nothing could be taken entirely for granted: life has a habit of moving on was the gist from Andrew Strauss, MD of England cricket.
Life has moved on, not enough to exclude them - Morgan will skipper on the ODI leg in India - but after this victory it will be enough for England to contemplate their deepening batting options with mounting excitement as they prepare to host the Champions Trophy and World Cup in forthcoming years. They won not just without Morgan and Hales, but without Joe Root and the injured Jason Roy, too, a first-choice top four whose absence was survived.
Ben Duckett and Sam Billings, two batsmen to benefit from others' absence, were prominent figures in England's successful chase. Both lodged half-centuries that represented their best England ODI scores. Duckett's, his second of the series, again built on a county season that brought him player-of-the-year recognition, while Billings played with zest as he capitalised on Jason Roy's absence from the top of the order because of injury.
Considering the shenanigans in the second match in Mirpur, after which the match referee doled out two fines and a reprimand, it was perhaps fortunate early in England's run chase that it was Billings who collided with Mashrafe Mortaza, the bowler, who wandered into his path as he sought a second run. Some well-modulated, polite protest sorted that one out. A swept six against Mashrafe announced that he was set and the shot continued to sustain him until, on 62, it also brought his downfall when he top-edged Mosaddek Hossain to deep square.
Billings has dash; Duckett scores quickly without you entirely noticing. He is an inventive cricketer, able to expose the field with a mix of sweeps, ramps and inside-out drives; a stout batsman with a permanently puzzled expression that might have been sketched for Toy Story. In one-day cricket, perhaps in Tests too, he can become a favourite. He perished to a ramp shot against Shafiul Islam, an alert keeper's catch for Mushfiqur Rahim.
With James Vince having fallen lbw in Nasir Hossain's first over and Bairstow bowled by Shafiul, misjudging the length as he tried to pull, England were 99 short with 19 overs by the time Jos Buttler reached the crease. A slower ball from Mashrafe silenced him, then Moeen Ali chipped him feebly to mid-on. But Ben Stokes played with restraint and, only when Woakes was put down by Imrul Kayes at first slip off Taskin Ahmed - a head-high catch with 21 needed from 21 balls - did England feel that momentum was with them.
Perhaps influenced by the heated exchanges in Mirpur, even if only sub consciously, England had recalled Liam Plunkett, their most aggressive fast bowler, as a mid-innings enforcer. It was the wrong call. The Chittagong pitch was so slow that it was no time to be The Enforcer - even Dirty Harry would have taken the day off - but it turned from the outset. Liam Dawson, the Hampshire allrounder, must have rued a missed opportunity to bowl his left-arm spinner on a surface like this.
Fortunately for England, Rashid had the sort of day when the heavens bestowed kindness upon him. Two long hops and a full toss accounted for three of his wickets and, on each occasion, his raised index finger looked like an exercise in positive thinking rather than a gesture of unadulterated triumph. But he turned the ball bigger than anybody and that contributed to his sense of threat, enough to take the Man-of-the-Match award. And he is England's leading wicket-taker in ODIs this year.
By the time that England had dispensed with the openers, Imrul and Tamim Iqbal, Bangladesh would have felt quite settled at 106 for 2 in the 23rd over. Tamim became the first Bangladesh batsman to reach 5,000 ODI runs with a collector's item - swatting a bouncer from Woakes in front of square. But reputations shift and it was the wicket of Imrul that England most hankered after, illustrated by a wasted review when he was 31 as they searched unsuccessfully for a hint of glove as he reverse swept Moeen. Stokes broke the stand, Imrul clipping him to square leg.
Rashid then took four of the next five wickets to fall, repeatedly stymieing Bangladesh's ambitions. Tamim, reaching for a short ball, got it as far as Vince at cover; Mahmudullah hit another long hop in the same direction. Sabbir Rahman, at least, received the high-class kill his sprightly innings deserved as Butter held an edge off a fierce leg break. Nasir Hossain was Rashid's last victim, this time courtesy of a full toss sinking faster than the pound.
Moeen wicket also possessed fortune as he defeated the left-hander, Shakib Al Hasan, on the outside edge and was stumped by Buttler who inadvertently flapped the ball onto the stumps and was fortunate that the bails fell off before he crashed his gloves into the timber.
Bangladesh held their nerve as 10 overs elapsed without a boundary and by the end of the innings Mosaddek and Mushfiqur had been rewarded with an unbroken seventh-wicket stand of 85 in 12 overs.
Mushfiqur's unbeaten 67 from 62 balls was his first half-century in 21 knocks, with England blowing two good chances to remove him. He might have been run out on 26 when Mosaddek sent him back but Bairstow missed. Then on 44 he struck Woakes down the ground but Stokes, having made good ground for the catch, had four bites before putting it down. With a bat in his hand, and a series to win, Stokes was to allow no such liberties.