Bangladesh v England: Ben Stokes inspires resurgence

By Jamie LillywhiteBBC Sport
Bangladesh v England: England need to add a few more runs - Ben Stokes
First Test, Chittagong (day three)
England 293 & 228-8 (76 overs): Stokes 85, Shakib 5-79
Bangladesh 248 (86 overs): Tamim 78, Mushfiqur 48, Stokes 4-26
England lead by 273 runs

Ben Stokes produced an outstanding all-round display as England built a lead of 273 after three days of the first Test against Bangladesh in Chittagong.

His spell of 3-9 saw the hosts all out for 248, losing 5-27 in 12 overs to concede a first innings lead of 45.

England then slipped to 28-3 at lunch and were only 107 ahead when Moeen Ali became the fifth man to depart.

But Stokes hit three sixes in a superb 85, putting on 127 with Jonny Bairstow (47) as England closed on 228-8.

Stokes finished with 4-26 - the best figures by any overseas pace bowler at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium - and England will be confident of maintaining their 100% record against the Tigers, having won all eight of their previous encounters.

The match remains delicately poised, though, after Shakib Al Hasan's 15th five-wicket haul gave the home side hope.

Stokes shines with the ball...

Kamrul Islam Rabbi is bowled by Ben Stokes
Last man Kamrul Islam Rabbi sees his stumps shattered by Stokes

England had gained the momentum when Stokes took the important wicket of Bangladesh skipper Mushfiqur Rahim shortly before the close on day two.

And the tourists were handed an early gift on the third morning as Shakib charged down the wicket with a wild lunge at Moeen and was stumped off the second ball of the day.

Stokes bowled with hostility, sending down deliveries consistently close to 90mph and striking the dangerous Sabbir Rahman - who hit three fours in his 19 - on the helmet with a bouncer.

The all-rounder extracted movement away from the bat off the seam and reverse swing inwards as England chose not to take the second new ball.

Leg-spinner Adil Rashid had nightwatchman Shafiul Islam caught at mid-on and, in the next over, Stokes swung one in to trap Mehedi Hasan Miraz lbw for one, before quickly capturing the final two wickets in four balls.

...and then with the bat

It was another sultry day, with temperatures feeling like 41C (105F) in the high humidity.

After his superb bowling display in the heat - a 10-over spell either side of the day two close yielding 4-10 - Stokes was back at the crease in the 19th over of England's second innings.

He was impressively circumspect in the high-pressure situation, waiting 40 balls to hit his first boundary. However, supported by the consistently purposeful Bairstow, he began to deflate the home side and their supporters.

The left-hander reached his half-century from 102 balls with a six and, after Bairstow edged on to his stumps three short of a fifth successive fifty, Stokes recorded a third maximum with a mighty blow into the stands at mid-wicket.

He finally fell lbw after missing a sweep in the 65th over, unselfishly not opting for the review despite pleas from partner Chris Woakes.

Michael Vaughan on Twitter

Top order travails again for England

For the second time in the match, England lost their top three within 12 overs, stifling the rapid progress made by the bowlers.

Bangladesh began with spin from both ends and captain Alastair Cook's modest display with the bat in his record-breaking 134th Test ended when he edged another sharply turning delivery from debutant Mehedi to slip, the 18-year-old's seventh wicket of the match.

Key batsman Joe Root made only a single before he was lbw sweeping in the next over, his review merely confirming the ball would have struck the middle of middle stump.

Ben Duckett (15) completed a challenging debut when he was caught at short-leg off the glove in the final over before lunch, while Gary Ballance's troubles continued when he fell for just nine after sweeping straight to leg slip.

But the strength of England's middle order was borne out again as they became the first team to have seven successive partnerships of over 50 for the sixth wicket.

'Reverse swing is a massive weapon'

England all-rounder Ben Stokes on BBC Test Match Special: "It would be nice to get a few more, we're lucky in that sense that we've got a really strong batting line-up, so hopefully we can get up to 320.

"Sometimes it was quite tough to control how much the ball was going to swing but I've been working a lot of reverse swing and we were very careful to keep the ball in good nick, Rooty has been non-stop keeping the smooth side shiny and the rough side as dry as possible.

"Reverse swing is a massive weapon and we have three seamers who can all do really really good reverse swing skills.

"We didn't have the greatest start with the bat, we were a bit shocked with how many wickets we lost, but there was so much time left in the game that it was a matter of occupying the crease, rotating the strike and putting the bad balls away.

"The pitch is very similar to how it was in our first innings, once the shine came off and the ball got soft it was a bit easier but against the spinners with the new ball - one spinning, one picking up pace and skidding on - it was very tough."


BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew

Stokes and Bairstow came together with England in dire straits but patiently they built the partnership that should win the match.

Former England spinner Vic Marks

Stokes has played superbly and, slightly in his shadow because he came in afterwards, Bairstow was very good as well.

At 62-5, this game was firmly in the balance but the whole complexion has changed. Stokes accelerated but he did the hard yards to start with and paced the innings beautifully.

Former England women's batter Ebony Rainford-Brent

What I liked about Stokes and Bairstow's partnership is that they were playing in conditions which don't suit their natural game.

Stokes found the perfect balance between knocking the ball into gaps and hitting the boundaries. He's changed the course of the Test match.

Stats of the day

  • Shakib Al Hasan became the first Bangladesh bowler to reach 150 Test wickets
  • England lost their first three wickets for under 30 in both innings of a Test for the first time against an Asian team - a total of 233 matches
  • Jonny Bairstow passed Andy Flower's record (1,045) for the most Test runs by a wicketkeeper in a calendar year
  • Kumar Dharmasena is the first umpire to have six decisions overturned in a Test and it the first time nine decisions have been overturned
  • There have been 19 reviews in the match, equalling the world record


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