Wednesday, 24 March 2010
Cricket Test match England vs Bangadesh test number 2
England 496 and 209 for 1 (Cook 109*, Pietersen 74*)
beat Bangladesh 419 and 285 (Shakib 96, Tamin 52, Tredwell 4-82) by nine wickets
What was at times a fluctuating contest turned into a comfortable victory for England as Alastair Cook finished his first tour in charge with a controlled, unbeaten 109 and Kevin Pietersen continued his return to form with a 74 to complete a nine-wicket victory and a clean sweep. England remain the only team to have an unbeaten record against Bangladesh, but have been made to work hard for their success by a home side that showed signs of development but still frustrated with fundamental mistakes.
It was particularly satisfying for Cook to guide his side home with his 12th Test hundred, having copped plenty of criticism for some naive captaincy through the tour. It was, as ever, more efficient than spectacular, as he picked off the generous offerings from a tiring Bangladesh attack. His toe-ended cut to bring up three figures and slog-sweep through midwicket to seal the result were both fitting as he proved captaincy would not affect his dogged batting.
Before a ball had been bowled on this tour Cook was left out of England's preliminary Twenty20 squad, but in every match since he's shown how his game has developed. Adding a touch of adventure to his steely temperament he ended as the leading scorer in the series after making a career-best 173 in the first Test and demonstrated an authority that had been missing during his struggle form form last year.
Needing 209 at almost four an over after Shakib Al Hasan's fighting 96 kept England in the field until after lunch, Bangladesh had a chance to squeeze the visitors, but they couldn't muster the resolve. Shakib looked exhausted, having made 141 runs and bowled 66 overs in the game. He wondered around the field with his arms folded and, rather than open with himself, allowed Shafiul Islam and Abdul Razzak to gift England an easy start.
The openers had strolled to 40 before there was any trouble - albeit through another dubious umpiring decision. Jonathan Trott was given run out by the third umpire when the only replay available showed the stumps broken only after Trott had made the crease. It only added to the catalogue of poor decisions in this game, but unlike the previous ones had no bearing on the match.
If anything it only hastened Bangladesh's demise as Pietersen demonstrated the flair that separates him from the rest of his England team-mates. Using his feet to drive the spinners beautifully and unfurling the occasional switch hit, he appeared to recover the swagger that made him such a force before his Achilles injury. He will face sterner examinations soon, but can head off to the IPL in good spirits.
For moments on the final day, like periods throughout the series, Bangladesh offered stubborn resistance, only to crumple when more something substantial could have been built. On his 23rd birthday, Shakib bristled with intent as he tried to carry his side to a position of safety. Needing to both extend the lead and take time out of the game he shunned the cautiousness his opposition favour and took the game to England.
Almost from the off he made his intentions clear, chipping down the crease to the quick bowlers and scything cuts and drives through the off side regularly. At the other end Shafiul Islam blended defence with purpose as the pair added 60 in 14 overs. England looked ragged but rather than stick with their captain, Shakib's team-mates were unable to resist the flighted temptation of James Tredwell with Shafiul and Naeem Islam both gifting their wickets at crucial moments.
It meant the momentum Shakib created was wasted and he was marooned with the last-man Rubel Hossain when still 14 short of a deserved hundred. Again Shakib backed aggression to get him through, taking 10 from the first five balls of Tredwell's opening over after lunch. But, just one shot away and with a field set tantalising tight in on the single, Shakib couldn't resist running down the wicket and having an enormous swipe. He missed and despite a forlorn dive was stumped to end hopes of a hundred and Bangladesh's chances of forcing a draw. It was a deflating end that killed off both Shakib and his team's heart for the fight