Dawid Malan boosts World Cup chances with commanding display against Bangladesh
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Dawid Malan made another compelling case for a World Cup spot by resisting Bangladesh’s spin onslaught and ushering England cricket to victory with a remarkable unbeaten hundred in the first ODI.
Set 210 in a muggy day-night game in Dhaka on a slow and low surface which may resemble what awaits them in India when defending their crown, England slipped to 65 for four in front of a fevered crowd.
But Malan, shifted to first drop to accommodate opening batter Phil Salt, was defiant and he peeled off 114 not out off 145 balls for his second successive ODI ton to lead England to a three-wicket win.
Malan had a lone hand as no other Englishman reached 30, going through the gears as he had a month ago when underpinning a consolation win against South Africa in Kimberley.
Six of England’s seven wickets fell to spin, with Taijul Islam claiming three for 54, but Malan launched the slow left-armer for three of his four sixes to make sure their bowling effort was not wasted.
Barely 24 hours after the thrilling climax of their Test finishing in New Zealand, England’s white-ball side were in action, skittling Bangladesh for 209 in 47.2 overs after a polished bowling display.
Mark Wood, playing his first ODI since July 2021, and Jofra Archer both touched 93mph and took a couple of wickets apiece while Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali exploited the turn and each claimed two scalps.
Tamim Iqbal asked the tourists to bat first in oppressive heat and haze, and he capitalised on being dropped by Chris Woakes in his follow through in the opening over. The Bangladesh captain then pierced the infield on several occasions to help his side race to 55 for one after nine overs.
Wood’s introduction helped dragged them back as his pace clearly unsettled Tamim, dismissed for 23 when his attempt to fend off a 92mph brute caught his elbow before splaying the stumps.
Najmul Hossain Shanto had a let-off on four when Jason Roy was unable to cling on to a one-handed grab and was a calm and composed presence in the middle, belying his previous ODI average of 14, with the more experienced heads of Mushfiqur Rahim and Shakib Al Hasan out to injudicious shots to spin.
Mushfiqur was done in the flight by Rashid and top-edged into the deep while Shakib missed a wild swipe across the line off Moeen. Mahmudullah, another member of Bangladesh’s old guard in the middle order, was more measured as he put on 53 in 80 balls with Najmul.
However, Najmul was out for 58 when he miscued Rashid’s long hop to a diving Roy at short midwicket, Mahmudullah departed for 31 off 48 balls after being strangled down the leg-side by Wood and the debuting Will Jacks had his maiden ODI wicket when Afif Hossain clothed to mid-on.
Archer chipped in with a couple of lower-order wickets as Bangladesh’s innings ended with a whimper.
But they had at least got past 200 and while the total would ordinarily be meat and drink for England, confidence was low after seven losses in 10 ODIs and the conditions meant a tricky pursuit lay ahead.
Bangladesh turned to Shakib’s spin straight away, perhaps in a bid to exploit a perceived weakness of Roy, who has struggled when starting against slow left armers in the past. The ploy worked as Roy skied a leading edge to Tamim, with the opener now averaging 23.91 in his last 13 ODIs.
Salt and James Vince were unconvincing and both fell to Taijul for single digits but it was not just spin that was troubling England, with quick Taskin Ahmed getting due reward when he found extra bounce to surprise captain Jos Buttler, who steered to a lone slip on nine.
Malan was ploughing a lone furrow as the wickets tumbled all around him, clattering Taijul over the boundary twice, but was mainly content to take a low-risk approach. He had brief support from Jacks to take England into three figures, but the debutant fell for 26 after lashing out at Mehidy Hasan Miraz.
Mehidy had been England’s tormentor-in-chief in the 2016 Test series and struck with his final delivery, castling Moeen for 14 through the gate with an arm ball that skidded on, but Malan was the prize wicket.
He upped the ante considerably after reaching a 92-ball fifty, managing to beat the boundary riders on both sides of the wicket more often while he slog-swept Taijul for another six to move into the 90s.
With Rashid (17no) providing capable support, Malan reached three figures by clipping Taskin Ahmed for four and later on he did so off Najmul to get England over the line with eight balls to spare.
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