Moeen plays dirty to keep Eng­land in hunt

The Cricket Paper - - FRONT PAGE - By Chris Stocks in Chittagong

MOEEN ALI spoke of his sat­is­fac­tion at scor­ing the “dirty” runs that dug Eng­land out of a hole on an ac­tion-packed open­ing day of the first Test against Bangladesh.

Moeen rode his luck, suc­cess­fully over­turn­ing three lbw dis­missals via the De­ci­sion Re­view Sys­tem, on his way to a bat­tling 68 to help Eng­land re­cover from 23-1 in the first hour to 258-7 by the close.

Teenage spinner Me­hedi Hasan, 18, be­came the youngest Bangladesh player to take a fivewicket haul in Tests, fin­ish­ing the day with 5-64.

How­ever, half-cen­turies from Moeen and Jonny Bairstow, who put on 88 runs for Eng­land’s sixth wicket on a sharply-turn­ing pitch, en­sured the Test re­mains in the bal­ance head­ing into day two.

“It was very tough,” said Moeen.“Today was the hard­est 60 I’ve ever got.They were dirty runs but it was nice. It was a mas­sive men­tal chal­lenge, es­pe­cially with the re­views. I kept miss­ing the ball and it was hit­ting my pad. I couldn’t fig­ure out why.

“It’s a de­cent po­si­tion.We said at one point even 250 might be a good score but that part­ner­ship be­tween Jonny and my­self was cru­cial.We’re go­ing to have to be greedy to­mor­row and get close to that 300.”

Moeen was given out on three oc­ca­sions by Sri Lankan um­pire Ku­mar Dhar­masena, in­clud­ing twice in the first over after lunch bowled by Shakib Al Hasan. He also sur­vived two un­suc­cess­ful Bangladesh DRS ap­peals.

Dhar­masena, a for­mer off-spinner who played 31 Tests, had helped Moeen with a tech­ni­cal is­sue with his own bowl­ing dur­ing the sum­mer of 2014. He went on to take 23 wick­ets and help Eng­land win their Test se­ries against In­dia 3-1.

How­ever, there was no love lost be­tween the pair yes­ter­day. “We’re nor­mally pretty tight but we didn’t re­ally speak for a ses­sion,” said Moeen. “It’s a tough pitch to um­pire on but the guy gave me out three times. He didn’t say any­thing.”

Moeen, 29, is con­fi­dent Eng­land’s three spin­ners – he is joined in the team by Adil Rashid and Gareth Batty – can take ad­van­tage of the con­di­tions when Bangladesh bat.

He said: “Yes, def­i­nitely. Hope­fully we can bowl th­ese guys out. Ob­vi­ously there’s a lot of pres­sure on us to de­liver on th­ese wick­ets and I think with the win­ter ahead we’re go­ing to have to get used to that sort of pres­sure.”

PIC­TURE: Getty Images

Cru­cial runs: Moeen Ali plays a shot dur­ing his vi­tal 68

Over­ruled: Dhar­masena

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