Cricket: Stokes saves Eng­land

The Week Middle East - - News -

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

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