NEWS

Ben Stokes leads England to narrow victory

October 24, 2016

England came out on top in a nerve-wracking climax to a thrilling first Test against Bangladesh in Chittagong as two wickets in an over by Ben Stokes secured a win by 22 runs.

The home side began the final day needing 33 more to secure a first ever test win over England, having been beaten comfortably on all eight previous occasions. However, with just two wickets to get, England were still slight favourites.

Captain Alastair Cook chose to attack with pace at both ends, with Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes looking to reverse swing the old ball and declining to take the new one when it was due.

However, when 80 overs arrived that gave England two reviews again and Stokes used one to remove Taijul Islam LBW. Two balls later, last man Shafiul Islam was out the same way, and his review, a record 26th in a Test match, could not save him.

Having also taken 4-26 to spark a crucial collapse in Bangladesh's first innings followed by an innings of 85 to help rescue England from a perilous 62-5 in their second innings, Stokes was named man of the match.

Fans booking corporate hospitality for next August's day-night Test at Edgbaston when England take on the West Indies may be expecting more fireworks from Stokes.

For Bangladesh, this was their narrowest Test defeat by a margin of runs and means they have won only seven of 94 Tests since being admitted to cricket's top table in 2000. Five of these have come against Zimbabwe and two against a West Indies side weakened by a players' strike, but they are clearly improving as a side, with their capable batting being reinforced by better bowling, particularly in spin friendly conditions such as those served up at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.

Among those to revel in the conditions was teenage debutant Mehedi Hasan, whose match figures of 7-138 suggested a gem may have been unearthed. England's struggles also showed that Bangladesh will be likely to challenge strongly in the second Test at Mirpur, while the subsequent five-Test series in India will be an extremely tough trial by spin.

By Keith Prowse

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