England’s bowlers and middle-order were given a thorough test but they came out of the Fatullah practice match with a four-wicket win and their confidence boosted.
Imrul Kayes’ hundred kept them in the back-foot but they fought back in the slog overs. Later when they slipped to 170 for 5 chasing 310, the stand-in ODI captain Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali pulped a challenging target as they won with 22 balls to spare. They added 139 runs for the sixth wicket in just 16.5 overs.
England started off the chase as they should have, going after the home bowlers. Jason Roy struck couple of sixes, over midwicket and mid-on, and two more fours in his 22-ball 28. James Vince was also going well but in the ninth over, Roy fell to the rookie paceman Ebadat Hossain in the deep leg-side field where Kamrul Islam Rabbi took the catch.
Vince fell two short of a fifty after he was caught behind off Ebadat in the 13th over. His 39-ball stay had eight fours and while the innings wasn’t long enough, it seems enough to suggest that England may as well go for the Roy-Vince opening partnership.
Jonny Bairstow and Ben Duckett kept the run-rate almost intact but in the 19th over, Bairstow was caught behind off Kamrul Islam Rabbi for 11. Duckett who took a bit of time to get settled under the fading light, struck three fours in his 37-ball 29 before Shuvagata Hom bowled him in the 24th over.
Things got a little nervy for the visitors exactly five overs later when Ben Stokes fell to Al-Amin Hossain for 28, having struck three fours and a six in 40 balls.
From 170 for 5 however, new captain Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali mounted a counter-attack that would put them in good stead for the first ODI, especially if they are chasing under lights.
By the 35th over, the pair had settled down with some boundaries and maintained the required run-rate. Five overs later, they accelerated further as they made it to 251 for 5, needing 59 runs in the last ten overs. Moeen fell when England needed just one run, after making 70 off 51 balls with eight fours and two sixes. Buttler was unbeaten on 76 off 63 balls with two fours and four sixes.
When the home side batted first, Imrul wasted no time in setting his innings in motion, blazing the first ball of the innings, bowled by Chris Woakes, for a cover-driven boundary. There was no let-up whenever he got strike but at the other end, Soumya Sarkar struggled to get the ball off the square. He fell in the fifth over, beaten by Woakes’ pace and, judging by his slight crouch, a bit of uneven bounce. By that time Imrul had sped to 26.
Imrul was excellent on the off-side whenever the English bowlers were too full or slightly short. He blasted sixes over midwicket off the front foot, and was severe on the spinners, particularly Adil Rashid. With Nazmul Hossain Shanto, he added 85 runs for the second wicket in 15.5 overs. Nazmul struck four boundaries in his 46-ball 36, at times matching Imrul shot for shot.
Imrul reached the mark in the 27th over and hardly showed any let up, hammering his fifth and sixth sixes in the David Willey over in which he was finally bowled, leaving 21 overs remaining. His 121 came off 91 balls and included eleven fours and the six sixes. Imrul had added 71 runs for the third wicket with Mushfiqur in just eight overs.
Mushfiqur too showed that he could middle the ball, adding another 69 runs for the fourth wicket with Nasir Hossain. During this partnership, Mushfiqur reached his first 50-plus score since June this year. He soon fell to Stokes in the 41st over, bowled for a 57-ball 51 that had five fours.
Despite their brilliance for 40 overs, the BCB XI made only 49 runs in the last ten overs, losing five wickets. England’s bowlers, hitherto struggling to find their bearing in the heat, came back strongly. Woakes finished with three wickets while Stokes and Willey picked up two wickets each. Between the two England spinners, Rashid and Moeen, there was only one wicket giving away 117 runs in 17 overs.