Bangladesh’s hearts were shattered on the fifth and final morning of an amazing Test match at Chittagong.
Ben Stokes with an excellent all-round display with two wickets in three balls which were his fifth and sixth of the match, to go along with his total of 103 runs for the match.
Returning on 253 for 8, with 33 runs still needed, Bangladesh had there sights on obtaining only their eighth Test victory in 94 attempts, including their first versus England in nine matches.
However, a couple of lbws in the fourth over of the morning – the first reviewed in anticipation by England, the second in pain by the last man, Shafiul Islam had left Bangladesh hero of the second innings, Sabbir Rahman, on 64 not out.
Alastair Cook showed his hand from the start, giving Stuart Broad the first over of the morning, which followed his marathon nine-over spell on the fourth evening, and companioning him with Stokes, the man whose brilliance of reverse swing had shown so unintelligible to Bangladesh’s lower order in the first innings.
Bangladesh opened their morning’s work with spirit. Sabbir started his account with a drive through the covers for two, before Taijul who once again relied upon to carry his own with the bat – blazed a Stokes short ball above the keeper’s head for four.
The new ball which became available after two overs, but Cook opted to continue with the old, with the Joe Root once again entrusted to preserve its dear shine. But the reverse of the first innings persisted to be elusive as Bangladesh carved out their singles, every run received with delight by a small group of Bangladesh fans who gave an otherwise empty stadium sound packed to the rafters.
Nevertheless, Stokes’ conviction could not be refused, and after coming round the wicket to Taijul Islam, he convinced Cook to gamble one of England’s two reviews – which had been topped up at the 80-over mark. Taijul advanced a bit too far across his stumps and was pinned in front of middle and leg.
The verdict – the 26th trial by DRS of the game – was received with a huge explosion of joy from the gathering of England players following the big screen, and there was an extra sense of hope as Shafiul shuffled out to face the enthusiastic Stokes.
Five years ago, on this same ground, he was Bangladesh’s hero with a glorious 24 not out in Bangladesh’s two-wicket World Cup win over England.
This time, however, he was caught on the crease, not quite offering a shot, as Kumar Dharmasena raised his finger for the final time in the game.
Ben Stokes for his marvelous display as adjudged to me Man of the Match.