CHITTAGONG: Ben Stokes took the last two Bangladesh wickets in three balls as England won a thrilling first Test by 22 runs in Chittagong Monday, narrowly depriving their hosts of an historic victory.
Bangladesh, needing 33 runs for what would have been their first win over England in nine attempts, added just 10 runs to their overnight total and were all out for 263 after 20 minutes of play on the fifth and final day at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury stadium.
Sabbir Rahman, the overnight half-centurion, was left stranded on 64 as the allrounder Stokes dismissed the other two batsmen in his second over.
Stokes had Taijul Islam lbw for 16 following a successful review, after umpire Kumar Dharmasena initially turned down a muted appeal.
Two balls later it was the turn for Bangladesh to ask for a review as Dharamsena declared the number 11 batsman Shafiul Islam out lbw for a duck.
The replay again came to England’s aid as Hawk-Eye indicated that the ball was hitting off stump, meaning the umpire’s initial decision stood.
England captain Alastair Cook, who had flown back to Bangladesh only days after attending the birth of his daughter back home, said that both sides had played their part in thrilling match.
‘Held our nerve’
“It was a really good Test match, to think we were here on day five with that wicket,” Cook said after the game.
“It was such a tight game, so credit to both sides. I’m glad we held our nerve, the quality we have in our attack, we got it reversing.”
Despite coming agonisingly close to what would have been their most famous Test victory, Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim said he was proud of his team’s performance.
“Probably it was not in our favour, 33 runs and two wickets, but the boys put in so much effort over the last five day. After 15 months, I’m really proud,” Rahim said.
“Our boys fought it out which is really impressive and hopefully we’ll do the same in the next match.”
The match was Bangladesh’s first Test in nearly 15 months but showcased how the one-time whipping boys of international cricket have made steady progress in recent years.
The hosts played some impressive cricket during the match, with the debutant Mehedi Hasan taking six for 80 in England’s first innings.
Bangladesh had appeared on course for a comfortable first-innings lead but lost their last six wickets for just 27 runs to give England a crucial 45-run lead.
They then had England reeling at 52 for five in the tourists’ second innings before Stokes and Jonny Bairstow turned the match with a partnership of 127 for the sixth wicket.
Stokes was named man of the match for taking six wickets in the two innings and also scoring a swashbuckling 85 in England’s second innings which included six fours and three sixes.
“We started off pretty well but we have a long way to go from here,” said Stokes.
The second and final Test will start in Dhaka on October 28 before England then head to India for a five-Test tour.