Ben Stokes took two wickets in three balls on Monday to give England a nervous 22-run victory over Bangladesh on the last day of the first Test.
Bangladesh resumed on 253 for 8, needing 33 runs to win with two wickets in hand, and got through the first three overs of the morning, creeping 10 runs closer to victory.
Stokes struck with the first ball of the fourth over, making a successful review for an lbw decision against Taijul Islam, who was deceived by reverse swing and failed to flick the ball off his pads. The review seemed speculative, but showed the ball was on course to hit leg stump.
Last man Shafiul Islam went to the crease needing to either survive five deliveries to the end of the over or quickly turn over the strike to Sabbir Rahman (64 not out).
He lasted only two balls and was out lbw not offering a shot. He called for a review in vain, and Bangladesh’s innings was over on 263. It was the 26th video review of the Test, and the 15th unsuccessful one.
“I was fairly confident this morning if I’m brutally honest,” England captain Alastair Cook said. “30 odd runs and two wickets… I thought we’d create the chances, the doubt was whether we were good enough to take those chances. They might be half chances. But I thought we’d create enough to win the game so I was fairly relaxed.”
Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim had been pessimistic about his team’s chances going into the final day.
“Thirty-runs and two wickets is a difficult equation. The match was tilted towards them almost 90 per cent,” Rahim said.
“If we would have won, we wouldn’t become an extraordinary Test side. But we ended up achieving much of what we had set ourselves.”
It was a match-winning performance by Stokes, who made a crucial 85 in England’s second innings that allowed the visitors to set Bangladesh a challenging run target.
He had figures of 2-20 in the second innings to add to his four wickets in the first.
“The guy is that X-factor cricketer which every side would love to have,” Cook said of Stokes. “He balances our side, he gives us options, he allows us to play the extra seamer here or an extra spinner, which ever you look at it, and the one thing he has done over the last year is improve his method against spin.”
England was bowled out for 293 in its first innings, and took a crucial 45-run lead by bowling Bangladesh out for 248.