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Bangladesh v England: Moeen Ali leads fightback despite Mehedi Hasan Miraz haul

Moeen Ali in action in Chittagong

Moeen hit eight fours and a six in his eighth Test fifty

England recovered from a hesitant start to post 258-7 on day one of the first Test with Bangladesh in Chittagong.

Having chosen to bat, they were 21-3 after 12 overs, 18-year-old off-spinner Mehedi Hasan Miraz striking twice and going on to take 5-64 in 33 overs.

But Moeen Ali, who survived five lbw reviews, made a determined 68 from 170 balls on a challenging surface.

He put on 88 with Jonny Bairstow, who was dropped on 13 but went on to score 52, his fourth successive Test fifty.

Mehedi was one of three debutants for Bangladesh, who used five spinners on an opening day when only 17 of the 92 overs were bowled by seamers.

England gave a debut to Northants batsman Ben Duckett – dismissed by Mehedi for 14 at the top of the order – and opted for three spinners, including 39-year-old Gareth Batty, for his first Test appearance since 2005.

Magical Mehedi sparkles in the heat

A former Bangladesh Under-19 captain, Mehedi is the 26th teenager out of the 81 players to have represented his nation in Tests – compared to just five among the 672 England Test players.

Despite his age, he was chosen to open the bowling and it proved an inspired decision on a pitch that turned from the outset.

Duckett, 22, who last month became the first player to win the Professional Cricketers’ Association Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards in the same year, tried to smash his first ball in Test cricket to the boundary but made no contact.

Having struck two fours off ineffective seamer Shafiul Islam, he was beaten in the ninth over by a magnificent delivery from Mehedi which drifted in towards the pads of the left-hander before zipping off the pitch and rattling the top of off stump.

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Mehedi struck in his fifth over having shared the new ball for Bangladesh

Skipper Alastair Cook, playing an England record 134th Test, was dismissed by Shakib Al Hasan when a mistimed sweep struck his glove and rolled on to the stumps.

And Mehedi made it three wickets in 14 balls by removing Gary Ballance lbw for a single, with Bangladesh reviewing and the cameras confirming the ball had struck his pad a fraction before the bat.

Mehedi also took the key wicket of Joe Root, the only right-hander in the top six, who had looked in complete command until his purposeful 40 from 49 balls ended with an edge caught at slip via the thigh of wicketkeeper Mushfiqur Rahim.

England pair cash in after reprieves

Moeen’s important innings might have ended when he had scored just one, but Bangladesh chose not to review an lbw appeal that replays showed would have dismissed him.

He was given out three times – twice in the first over after lunch – only to be reprieved on referral, while Bangladesh twice thought they had got him, before replays proved otherwise.

Having taken 114 balls to score 29, Moeen began to find a more familiar fluency, skipping down the wicket to loft Mehedi over long-on for six, and only needed another 13 deliveries to reach his fifty.

But Mehedi finally dismissed him with another classic delivery, some sharp spin taking the edge through to Mushfiqur.

Bairstow passed 2,000 Test runs and 1,000 for the calendar year with his fifth half-century in his last six Test innings, before falling to a quicker one from Mehedi with the second new ball.

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Cricinfo journalist Andrew McGlashan recording Bairstow’s fifty, two runs before his dismissal

‘The hardest 68 of my life’

England batsman Moeen Al told BBC Sport: “We didn’t think it was going to spin so much but we’ll settle for that, though losing Jonny at the end was a big blow for us.

“It’s tough to say what is a good score in the first innings until we have bowled on it.

“At one point we thought 250 could be quite a good score but we want to be greedy now and try and get a few more.

“It felt like the hardest 68 I’ve ever scored in my life but the reviews going my way was nice.

“Rooty was the one who called the lbw. If it wasn’t for him I probably would have walked on the first one, but the others I didn’t feel were out.

“Opening with spin is obviously an option for us. We’ve got some very good seamers as well but I’m sure the spinners are going to play a big role.”

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Ben Duckett, the 672nd player to represent England at Test level, receives his cap from former captain Michael Atherton

Analysis – ‘a fascinating first day’s cricket’

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew: “It’s been a fascinating first day’s cricket. It’s always better when the ball is doing a bit, making the batsmen work.

“When there’s an element of not knowing what a good score is, it’s much more interesting.”

Former England women’s batter Ebony Rainford-Brent: “This is a spin contest. Who will make the most of the conditions? If England can reach 300, it becomes a different game. That feels like a really good score.

“However, I wonder how England will use their spinners. I’m concerned that previous subcontinent teams have attacked Moeen and Adil Rashid. England need to have a clear plan. That’s why I think Batty is a good selection. He’ll be very solid.

“I thought Duckett would have come out and blazed it. I thought Cook may have calmed him down after a couple of the early runs.

“It’s a difficult one. If he wants to go out and play positively on these wickets he’s going to struggle.

“Duckett will feel incredibly frustrated with how it went. You look at Haseeb Hameed and wonder if it was the right decision.”

Stat of the day

Mehedi is only the third spinner to take five wickets on his first day of Test cricket and all three have been against England, the others being Alf Valentine for West Indies in 1950 and South Africa’s Albert Rose-Innes in 1889.

Social media views

Richard in Norwich: Hasseb: to those who feel he should have opened as Duckett fails. That ball would have got ANY left hander in the team out and probably in the world. Ballance: despite a very good Test average he just has not got enough runs in any form of cricket in the last year to justify place. I would bat Bairstow at four and play Buttler who, unlike the rest, is already acclimatised and can destroy spinners. If you just hang around on these type of wickets you bat the bowlers into a rhythm and will eventually get a Duckett ball with no runs on the board.

Adam Gilbert: Moeen’s 68 feels like a double century here.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/37712338