Cricket: Stokes saves England
It was a win that “dashed the hopes of a nation”, said Nick Hoult in The Daily Telegraph. In the first Test, in Chittagong, Bangladesh seemed to be “on the brink of their most famous cricket victory” – only for England to prevail by 22 runs, crushing their hopes. Yet England’s batsmen and spin bowlers still made a hash of it, said Simon Wilde in The Sunday Times. And if it wasn’t for Ben Stokes, the match would have been a lost cause. The all-rounder has enjoyed plenty of dazzling Tests for England. But never has he been so heroic with both bat and ball. He finished with stunning figures of six for 46; his 85 runs in the second innings were the highest by any player in the Test. Batting against Bangladesh’s spin bowlers requires patience, which hasn’t always been Stokes’s strong suit. But having painstakingly refined his technique in the run-up to this tour, he looked far more measured, calmly swatting away the ball as if it were “an irritating mosquito”. At 25, Stokes now appears mature enough to “do justice to his prodigious talents”. Poor Bangladesh were desperate for a victory, said Chris Stocks in The Times. It’s hard enough just finding a team who will play them in a Test. That’s partly down to security concerns, which forced Australia to cancel their tour last year, and led to “soul-searching” before England’s trip (a mere 24 fans have joined them on this tour). And it’s partly because Bangladesh lack the “stardust” to put bums on seats. That may be changing, however. There are exciting talents in this side, such as batsman Tamim Iqbal and 19-year-old Mehedi Hasan, who took an astonishing five wickets in his debut innings last week. And the limited-overs team is thriving, following victories over India and South Africa. Yet Test cricket is another matter entirely: the team still await their first win against a major side.
Stokes: six wickets for 46