England completed a thrilling 22-run victory earlier today over a spirited Bangladesh. It was by no means a convincing performance by England, whose batting looked vulnerable at times. A huge talking point heading into the series was the question of who should open for England, but Ben Duckett failed to make a significant mark on the game, leaving the question unanswered. Moreover, England’s spin attack does not seem to have been finalised, with less-than-convincing performances from Adil Rashid and the recalled Gareth Batty. As there are no warm-up matches in India, it is essential that England find a balanced side ahead of their crucial tour. This article looks back at the performances of the England team in the first Test against Bangladesh.
Alastair Cook, Captain – 4/10
England’s captain Alastair Cook, who became England’s most capped Test player of all time, failed to make an impression with the bat in his landmark Test. Scores of 4 and 12 show that he struggled in the Bangladeshi conditions and he was out to spin in both innings.
Yet, Cook was confident and aggressive in his captaincy which was a delight to watch. He made good use of the spin-friendly conditions early, opening with Batty and Broad in the first innings and with Moeen and Batty in the second. Also, the use of Stuart Broad was also important at the end of day doue. He forced a nine-over spell out of Broad which turned the match into England’s favour, as he picked up two crucial wickets. However, the field setting for his spinners was questionable. The lack of any men under the helmet for Adil Rashid was puzzling, especially when Rashid was turning the ball vast amounts to the Bangladeshi lower order. Overall, it was a poor Test with the bat, but a good captaining performance from Cook as he lead his team to victory in gruelling conditions.
Ben Duckett – 3/10
The debutant Ben Duckett had a tough game in foreign conditions against a spirited opposition. Scores of 14 and 15 show that he never managed to acclimatise to the conditions, as he fell to spin twice. His inexperience showed in his dismissal in the first innings, where he was so keen to play his shots that he took a very leg-side guard and was eventually bowled due to it. It was a disappointing start to his England career and it will be interesting if he gets another chance in the second Test ahead of Haseeb Hameed, which Cook has hinted may happen.
Joe Root – 6/10
Root made a positive start in the first innings scoring a quickfire 40. In the morning session when he came in under immense pressure he played an admirable innings and looked in fine form. Yet, the number two-ranked Test batsman was unable to convert this start into a meaningful innings. He threw away a great opportunity to give England a huge advantage and was unable to contribute meaningfully in the second innings. England would have expected more of the experienced Root and his off-spin did not make a proper appearance either. Everyone involved in English cricket will be hoping that Root manages to find form again before he tours India, where the opposition will be stronger and the conditions tougher.
Gary Ballance – 3/10
With scores of 1 and 9, Gary Ballance’s main contribution in this Test has been in the field. His batting looked out of sorts and proved to be vulnerable against spin. This will come as a huge disappointment to the England selectors who were hoping that he could find form heading into the test series with India. It must be noted however, that Ballance took three important catches at short leg. The dismissals of Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim were key to England’s victory, and in both cases Ballance took smart catches at short leg.
Moeen Ali – 7/10
Moeen played a crucial part of the Test with both the bat and ball. His first innings score of 68 saved England and rescued them from collapsing to an extremely low total. His partnership with Jonny Bairstow was key in lifting England to a reasonable first innings total and ensured that England had a fighting chance in the Test. Ali also picked up some crucial wickets over the course of the Test, dismissing Bangladesh veteran Shakib Al Hasan twice. Despite picking up five wickets in the course of the Test, some criticism has been raised regarding the expensive nature of his bowling. In the first innings he conceded over 3.4 runs an over, while in the second innings that figure was well over 4. This indicates a slight lack of discipline in his bowling and an inability to maintain pressure, but overall it was an impressive performance from Ali.
Ben Stokes – 9/10
Man of the match Ben Stokes was the key to England’s success. His contribution with the bat was essential for England, as his second innings 85 allowed England to post a total which ultimately was just out of the reach of Bangladesh. More impressively, Stokes picked up six wickets in the Test, including a 4-26 in Bangladesh’s first innings. This was a phenomenal effort, since there was barely any assistance for the fast bowlers, on a pitch which was turning square. Armed with only a hint of reverse swing, Stokes produced some hostile spells of bowling and was still extremely economical in the process. It was fitting that Stokes picked up the last two wickets on the morning of Day 5, as it showed just how much of a match-winner he was.
Jonny Bairstow – 8/10
Yorkshireman Jonny Bairstow once again impressed for England. In this Test, Bairstow broke the record for the most runs scored in a calendar year by a wicket-keeper, passing Andy Flower. This shows his fine form of the bat this year and scores of 52 and 47 showed that he was able to continue his purple patch even in the subcontinent. Bairstow also looked solid behind the stumps, on the whole, taking several crucial catches. This was another fine performance for Bairstow who will be hoping to take this form into India.
Chris Woakes – 5/10
Not the most electric performance from all-rounder Chris Woakes, as he went wicketless in the match. His main impact on the match was a handy lower order 36 in England’s first innings. After his impressive summer, Woakes’ performance did not meet the high expectations set of him. However, it is important to realise that the conditions did not suit his style of bowling whatsoever as the wicket offered no assistance to the quicks. Despite this, Woakes was still extremely economical and instrumental in building pressure on the Bangladesh batsmen as he went at under 1.5 per over.
Adil Rashid – 6/10
In spin friendly conditions, Adil Rashid should have been more of a threat. Rashid only picked up three wickets and was not very economical. He had a tendency to drag the ball short, in an attempt to engineer more turn. However, he ended up giving away to many free deliveries and he struggled to find consistency in longer spells. The Yorkshireman made a slight impact with the bat, contributing a handy 26 in the first innings. Overall, Rashid should have done better in the conditions and was slightly disappointing.
Stuart Broad – 8/10
A top performance from the England stalwart. His nine-over spell at the end of day four was inspired, picking up two wickets that turned the game back into England’s favour. While he didn’t pick up any other wickets, Broad was extremely economical and had the Bangladeshi batsmen guessing. It was a classic Stuart Broad performance and proved that he is capable of leading the England attack in the absence of James Anderson.
Gareth Batty – 6/10
A decent comeback for Surrey captain Gareth Batty, who returned to the England side for the first time in over eleven years. Batty was given the tough task of opening the bowling in both innings and he looked threatening. He picked up four wickets in the Test, claiming the crucial wicket of Tamim Iqbal when the opener was on 78. However, like the other England spinners, his economy was an issue and that would have disappointed a player of his experience. Alastair Cook should give Batty another chance in the second Test, as his wealth of experience may be the answer to England’s spin dilemma.