Bangladesh v England: First Test evenly poised after late Ben Stokes wicket

England all-rounder Ben Stokes

First Test, Chittagong (day two)
England 293 (105.5 overs): Moeen 68, Mehedi 6-80
Bangladesh 221-5 (74 overs): Tamim 78, Mushfiqur, Moeen 2-66
Bangladesh trail by 72 runs

Bangladesh moved to within 72 runs of England at 221-5 after two days of a captivating first Test in Chittagong.

Resuming on 258-7, England lost Chris Woakes to the first ball of the day and were all out for 293, debutant spinner Mehedi Hasan Miraz finishing with 6-80.

Moeen Ali claimed two wickets in the final over before lunch but Tamim Iqbal made an assured 78, with seven fours.

Gareth Batty, after a world record gap of 142 Tests, ousted Tamim and Ben Stokes trapped Mushfiqur Rahim late on.

Batty, 39, is playing his first Test since 2005 but is some distance from the longest spell between Test appearances in terms of time, which is the 22 years and 222 days held by John Traicos, who played for South Africa and Zimbabwe either side of apartheid.

Bangladesh, in their first Test since August 2015, have lost all eight of their previous Tests against England.

Andrew Samson

England frustrated in the heat

The England spinners stuck valiantly to their task, but were unable to match the consistent brilliance 18-year-old Mehedi had shown with the ball.

Returning to Test cricket after an absence of 11 years and 137 days, Batty opened the bowling, only the third time since 1928 that England have begun a first innings with a spinner.

There was no immediate fairytale as his first delivery was savagely cut to the boundary, and it was Moeen – England’s top-scorer with the bat – who made the breakthrough with a magical delivery that pitched on middle stump and clipped the off bail of left-hander Imrul Kayes.

Three balls later Moeen found more turn and bounce to take the edge of Mominul Haque, caught at slip via wicketkeeper Bairstow’s pad.

Gareth Batty

But Moeen could not repeat his exploits for the remainder of the day and, though Adil Rashid dislodged Mahmudullah in the final over before tea, the Bangladesh batsman had shared a 90-run partnership with Tamim.

Left-hander Tamim, who successfully reviewed a catch to slip on 55, has now scored five fifties and two centuries in nine Test innings against England but was denied an eighth Test hundred when he got a bottom edge to 39-year-old Batty.

In the closing stages under the floodlights it was the seamers who looked more dangerous, Stokes ending an obdurate partnership of 58 by finding Mushfiqur’s edge for the first wicket by a pace bowler in the match.

Bangladesh peg back England

After seeing the pitch spin so dramatically on day one, England’s quest for an imposing total was immediately dented when Woakes was smartly caught at short leg.

Stuart Broad, no stranger to the review system, had successfully overturned an lbw dismissal but was the final wicket to fall when technology detected the merest noise from the bat off Mehedi, bowling his 40th over.

It was the 10th review of the innings, a Test record.

It was also the first time since December 1987 that all 10 England wickets had fallen to spin.

Ben Stokes

‘It’s going to be a hell of a game of cricket’

England spinner Gareth Batty on BBC Test Match Special: “It’s probably evenly poised. We finished really well at the end, the seamers bowled really well and the game has ebbed and flowed a bit.

“You felt like the batters were on top at times and the bowlers came back into it and vice-versa. It’s going to be a hell of a game of cricket.

“When the guys are in it looks a different game. It’s a tough pitch to start on for the batters but if you’ve got good plans you can score runs.

“Just sticking the shirt on itself is a huge honour so the nerves start jingling at that point, then you stick a new ball into the equation, then you have the boys at the top singing Jerusalem. If your emotions are not buzzing I would say you’re probably not an Englishman.

“I’m a very passionate Englishman so that’s what I’ve had to deal with – the nerves and the wanting to do well. Hopefully as the game progresses I’ll get over that.”

Analysis – ‘England must make the new ball talk’

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew: “Bangladesh made England work hard, and the tourists took all of their wickets in clusters really.

“All the signs are that this pitch is deteriorating and it’s making for a fascinating contest.”

Former England women’s batter Ebony Rainford-Brent: “I thought Bangladesh might fold after Moeen took those two wickets before lunch but they batted well, particularly Tamim.

“The England seamers can still come into play in this game. They have a few more tricks up their sleeve than the Bangladesh quicks. You saw how Ben Stokes was able to bowl quick at the end of the day.

“England are going to have to make that second new ball talk tomorrow. They can do that – Moeen impressed when the ball was a bit harder and was going through a bit quicker.”

Stats from day two

  • Gareth Batty missed a record 142 Tests between 2005 and his appearance in this match, during which England won five Ashes series
  • England used four spinners in a Test innings for the first time since 1982
  • Bangladesh are only the third team since 1994 to take all 10 wickets with spin in the first innings of a Test
  • Mehedi’s 6-80 are the second best by a Bangladeshi on debut, after Sohag Gazi’s 6-74

BBC Sport – Cricket

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