England blow up as tinkering backfires
Ahmed makes history but bid for clean sweep falls flat
History was made as rehan Ahmed became England’s youngest one- day international — but there was to be no repeat of his glorious test debut.
in Karachi back in December, the 18- year- old celebrated becoming a test player with a five-wicket haul and seven scalps across the match in a victory over Pakistan.
Here, replacing the injured Will Jacks, he had to settle for one wicket — from his final delivery — and a galling defeat after an experimental England side squandered the chance to seal a first 50-over series whitewash in Asia since their 3-0 success over Bangladesh in 2010.
Such a turn of events came down to a combination of a stellar all-round performance by shakib Al Hasan and the tourists’ own failings.
All the talk here has been of a rift in the home camp, but there was little sign of disharmony as shakib, one of the players at the heart of the brouhaha, powered the hosts to a defendable score by hammering 75 of their final 131 runs, then bagged four for 35, including Ahmed as his 300th victim in oDis, as England blew up.
England believed Bangladesh were under par at halfway after Jofra Archer and sam Curran had top-and-tailed the innings with wickets, either side of a fine spell of two for 21 by rashid.
the clean sweep appeared on the cards when Phil salt came out of the blocks with all guns blazing, hitting seven fours during a first-wicket stand of 54.
But his tame guide to cover- point, swiftly followed by the departures of the series’ two centurions Dawid Malan and Jason roy, also to cross-batted shots, turned the tide on the Bay of Bengal. there is an all-or-nothing aspect to Malan’s one-day international career. His miscue to mid-on left his tally at 5-4 in the ducks versus hundreds stakes.
And when roy had his stumps taken apart by shakib, it exposed the tourists’ team tinkering. Ahmed being in the side meant senior leg-spinner Adil rashid bowled only half of his allocation, while Curran went into bat at five.
England saw the benefit in involving the teenager as heavily as possible, while if Ben stokes does not reverse his retirement decision for this autumn’s World Cup, it would be useful to have a seam bowling option among the batters.
Curran stabilised things, sharing 49 for the fourth wicket with top scorer James Vince (38), but in conditions that must have felt like facing a cannon ball on quicksand, Bangladesh’s spinheavy attack prospered.
shakib produced the delivery of the match to nick off Vince and fellow left-armer taijul islam slid one under Jos Buttler’s reverse sweep to leave only the tail and a run-a-ball asking rate for the final dozen overs.
it was never going to end well from there.
‘We certainly believe we could have won the game and if we’d played well enough we would have, but it was absolutely an opportunity to give rehan his debut and for sam to bat at No 5,’ said captain Buttler.
‘it is the last oDi we play now until september, so especially in these conditions, it was a chance to gather as much information as we possibly could and expose people to different situations.’