THERE’S NO ISSUE WITH ME ON THE ROTATION
WHAT a superb win for England in the first Test against Bangladesh; you wouldn’t have been saying that a couple of years ago, but it shows the strides being made that the hosts fought so valiantly over four days before falling just short on the fifth morning.
I was very impressed with their all-round game, but I was equally as impressed with England’s display. They fought back in each innings: after struggling on the first morning with debutant Medehi Hasan opening the bowling and spinning them into trouble, they regrouped and found a way to graft out the runs; in Bangladesh’s first innings they cleaned up the tail to ensure they had a crucial lead of 45 runs; then, after crumbling again early in their second dig, the partnership of Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow edged the tourists in front, before another fightback on the fourth evening thanks to Stuart Broad’s superb bowling.
It was a fantastic advert for Test match cricket, and a counter blow to those who are suggesting four-day Tests are the way forward.
Immediately after the win, captain Alastair Cook hinted strongly at rotating the squad with such a heavy workload on the menu for the rest of the winter, and it is the bowlers who will be shuffled about, with Zafar Ansari making his debut today.
The decision has been met with some criticism, but I don’t have an issue with it. The workload on the seamers in the opening Test was immense. Again, the critics will be pointing at Alastair Cook’s lack of faith in his spinners, thus handing his quicker bowlers more overs to get through. But I didn’t see it that way. What I saw was Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes bowling so well and putting Bangladesh under such pressure that he had no choice.
Tailenders do not like pace and, as harsh as it may sound, most are scared of the ball. This creates a lack of foot movement – three of the last four wickets to fall as England chased down victory came via lbws with England bowling fast and targeting the stumps.
As harsh as it may sound, tailenders are scared of the ball, which creates a lack of foot movement and the threat of LBW
It was clinical bowling of the highest class.
I can also see why they are bringing in Ansari before India. They will want to see if he can adjust his length and variation on the slow decks in the Sub-continent when he is put under pressure. Being thrown in at the deep end with Virat Kohli trying to put you off your length is not what England want and bringing him in is the right call.
The naysayers are arguing you can’t bring people in and out and that such a hard-fought victory doesn’t warrant your best performers sitting on the sidelines for the next game. But it’s good that England are tapping into their resources.What is also refreshing is that they have come out and stated their intentions. It gives the players coming in belief and it also gives the players who are making way confidence that they are not being dropped.
It’s a sensible move that will only help them and I do believe even with new, young blood in the ranks that England have enough about them to come through unscathed in Dhaka.
Earning his call: Zafar Ansari brings another option of spin to the England attack