Paceman Ben Stokes picked up the last two wickets in three balls to give England a thrilling 22-run victory over Bangladesh in the first Test at Chittagong on Monday, as the tourists maintained their perfect record against the South Asian side.
It was England’s ninth straight Test win over Bangladesh but the hosts also had the chance to record a famous victory, requiring 33 runs when they resumed on 253 for eight on the final morning.
“It was a really good Test match, I didn’t think we will be here on day five looking at that wicket,” England captain Alastair Cook said. “Such a tight game and credit to both sides.
“Actually batters played pretty well on that kind of wicket. I am really happy that we showed our character and held our nerve towards the end.”
Bangladesh debutant Sabbir Rahman (64 not out) and Taijul Islam (16) negotiated the first three overs safely, taking 10 runs off their target.
However, Stokes trapped Taijul in front and Cook successfully reviewed the umpire’s not out decision to end the dogged ninth-wicket stand of 25.
Bangladesh wanted Sabbir back on strike but Stokes needed only two more deliveries to dismiss number 11 Shafiul Islam leg before. The batsman’s attempt to review and overturn the decision proved futile and Bangladesh were all out for 263.
Skipper Mushfiqur Rahim was proud that his team had competed so well despite this being their first Test in 15 months.
“The boys really showed their character, they fought really hard over the last five days,” he. “I am really happy that after 15 months we played a test like this.
“Hopefully we’ll carry a bit of momentum forward from this Test.”
Mushfiqur said the loss of their last six wickets for 27 runs in the first innings had proved crucial, and pointed to the 127-run sixth-wicket stand of Stokes and Jonny Bairstow in England’s second innings as another key factor.
Stokes (2-20) was man of the match for his 85 in the second innings and four wickets in the first. Off-spinner Gareth Batty picked up three wickets for the touring side in the second innings.
“Not just with ball in hand but the way he batted, he balances the side,” Cook said of Stokes. “Those cricketers don’t come around very often and he’s got an enormous heart as well. He’s a seriously good cricketer.”
The second and final Test will be played in Dhaka from Friday.