Batting woe has Jos on defensive
Jos BUTTLER defended England’s decision to keep faith in an undermanned batting unit after yesterday’s four- wicket defeat saw them lose a series to Bangladesh for the first time.
Despite a fiery two-wicket spell from Jofra Archer injecting late drama into the contest, Bangladesh took an unassailable 2-0 lead by making the 19th over, and the first sent down by Chris Jordan, the most profitable of the innings.
Fifteen runs were taken from just five deliveries but defeat in bowler-friendly conditions highlighted the complete absence of alternative top-six options after England chose not to replace the injured Tom Abell and Will Jacks, parachuting Moeen Ali and sam Curran into the top six instead.
‘ The way cricket is at the moment, there are a few players who have opted not to be here for various reasons, so it felt like instead of calling someone else up, we would try to use the guys who would be exposed to these conditions in this year’s 50- over World Cup,’ said Buttler, whose side set the hosts a target of 118.
A raucous full house of 25,000 added to the chaotic spectacle of nine wickets being lost for 67 once the fielding restrictions were over.
Had England underestimated the quality of their opponents? ‘ Definitely,’ claimed the offspinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz, who celebrated his recall with a careerbest four for 12, including Moeen and Chris Woakes stumped two balls apart, and then struck a 16- ball 20 alongside Najmul Hossain shanto in the match’s biggest stand of 41.
Buttler conceded that, on a wretched surface, an extra 10 to 15 runs would have made all the difference. England might have got them but for the tinkering that saw him sacrifice himself by batting outside the top two. Buttler came in at No 4 and succumbed before he had got his eye in when Hasan Mahmud’s yorker rushed through him. When Moeen picked out deep square, it was 57 for four and capacity for a lateinnings assault was fast receding.
Rehan Ahmed, now England’s youngest cricketer in every format, crunched a couple of fours on debut, and burgled a wicket from his second ball when Towhid Hridoy chased a wide one.
When Archer, who earlier provided one of two new-ball breakthroughs, completed figures of 4-0-13-3 either side of Moeen luring shakib Al Hasan into a trap, Bangladesh needed 13 from the final dozen deliveries. Just as in Chittagong, however, shanto played the decisive innings and remained unbeaten at the end to set up the chance of a whitewash here tomorrow.