Flintoff rushes England past the winning post

England 146 for 3 (Collingwood 36*, Flintoff 55*) beat Bangladesh 143 (Hannan Sarkar 30, Flintoff 4-14, Giles 3-29) by 7 wickets

A fine allround performance from Andrew Flintoff, the Man of the Match, swept England to a comfortable seven-wicket victory at Chittagong in the first of three one-day internationals against Bangladesh.

First Flintoff grabbed 4 for 14 as Bangladesh crumbled after a useful start, then he ambled in after three quick wickets had gone down and biffed a rapid half-century, from only 45 balls, to speed England home. Flintoff was aided with the bat by Paul Collingwood, in his first ODI since injuring his shoulder at the start of the last English season. They put on 91 for the fourth wicket, and Collingwood rounded things off by clouting Alok Kapali for three successive fours to complete the formalities with 24.3 overs to spare.

England had wobbled slightly after a busy start in which they had reached 39 by the end of the seventh over. Suddenly, though, Mushfiqur Rahman took two wickets in successive balls to stem the tide. First Vikram Solanki (10) waltzed down the wicket, but only skyed his heave straight to Jamaluddin Ahmed at mid-on. The batsmen crossed, and next ball Marcus Trescothick (28) played his trademark dab towards third man, only to guide the ball straight to Hannan Sarkar in the gully (39 for 2).

Collingwood avoided the hat-trick, but shortly afterwards Michael Vaughan was gone for 9. He dragged his back foot forward trying to sweep, and Khaled Mashud whipped off the bails. The TV replays showed that Vaughan had not quite slid his foot back in time, and the red light signalled a wicket for the left-arm spin of Manjural Islam Rana, from only his third ball in international cricket.

That made it 55 for 3, but it was the end of Bangladesh's brief hopes. While Collingwood consolidated, Flintoff hit out. He flailed a six over midwicket off Jamaluddin, another debutant, without remotely timing it - then clouted another over long-on, off Manjural, just to show how it should be done. There were also eight fours, one of which nearly decapitated the umpire at the bowler's end, as he sprinted to 55 not out.
Earlier Bangladesh had fallen to pieces after a decent start. They reached 50 for the loss of only one wicket, but lost four more with the score on 65 and another one run later. Some lower-order resistance pushed the total to a more respectable 143, but it was never going to be enough. Apart from Flintoff's four wickets, there were signs of a return to form for Ashley Giles, who took 3 for 29 - although he was slightly flattered by those figures.

Giles conceded eight runs from his first over and Flintoff 12, but after that the procession started as Bangladesh's batsmen capitulated. Habibul Bashar began with a neat boundary, but Flintoff removed him with a poor ball, a leg-side bouncer which Habibul tried to pull but only succeeded in gloving to Chris Read (50 for 2). Then, at 65, Rajin Saleh top-edged an attempted sweep off Giles into the covers and the wheels really came off.

Hannan Sarkar, the only batsmen to settle, survived a good shout for a catch behind - but that only angered Flintoff, who banged the next ball in and Sarkar did glove it through to Read. Sarkar's 30 was more than Nos 2 to 7 managed between them.

Two balls later Khaled Mahmud - who was given the bird by a noisy and enthusiastic crowd - edged an attempted drive to give Read his third catch, and Giles claimed his second wicket when Kapali played back to a ball crying out for positive footwork, and was as lbw as it is possible to be. That basic error was typical of an innings undermined by inappropriate shots and poor technique.

Bangladesh limped to three figures thanks to an eighth-wicket stand of 34 between Mashud and Manjural, but by then the game was effectively over as a meaningful contest. The last-wicket pair of Jamaluddin and Tapash Baisya chipped in with 36 as well.

It all left England looking near-certainties to complete a clean sweep in this short series - and left battle-scarred Bangladesh still looking for their first ODI win against another Test-playing country since they upset Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup.

Steven Lynch is editor of Wisden Cricinfo.