Moeen plays dirty to keep England in hunt
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.”
Crucial runs: Moeen Ali plays a shot during his vital 68