All the fuss eventually amounted to a hill of beans. In keeping with expectation, England duly won the first Test against Bangladesh yesterday by eight wickets, the sort of margin that a computer prediction might have come up with.
Bangladesh played well in parts but not well enough, England played indifferently but not indifferently enough for the natural order to be changed. England have now won all their 18 international matches against these opponents – seven Test matches and 11 one-dayers – and that will probably increase by one when they gather in Manchester later this week for the second and final match of the series, the fourth Test between them in three months. It is possible to have too much of a good thing.
That is not to imply that this opening match lacked appeal. Indeed, in its minor way, it was constantly appealing.
The crowds, healthy throughout, were perpetually engaged and when they were allowed on the outfield during the lunch interval yesterday it was a scene to remind all what cricket used to be like and still could be. Bangladesh are improving by the innings and there were many stages when their batting was of authentic Test standard. Unfortunately, their bowling is of genuine club quality.
From England's viewpoint it may come to be seen as the match when a new fast bowler, Steve Finn, emerged. It is important not to be premature in hailing his arrival but he took nine wickets, the best return by an English fast bowler at Lord's since Graham Dilley 22 years ago, and was voted man of the match.
He was again the most potent of the fast men yesterday, unsettling the Bangladeshis with steep bounce and growling at them when he thought fit. Finn is the real McCoy but not the finished article – what a bowler he will be when he is.
England must manage his workload in the next few months, if only because the health and safety inspectors will be round if they do not, while finding out about his stamina. It would be remarkable, however, were he not to be in the Ashes squad later this year.
The winning runs were struck by Jonathan Trott, who will not have made many friends in making 36 runs from 75 balls while all around him were dashing for the line. He came into this match under close scrutiny and although he scored 226 in the first innings he merely placed a shroud over the question marks, he did not remove them altogether. The way he batted at the start of his first innings, like a man with something to prove intent on playing the correct shot to the appropriate ball, is how he must play all the time.
Whatever their public proclamations, England must have privately acknowledged that anything less than a handsome win would be perceived as failure, for the simple reason that it would have been failure. They have better cricketers who were playing in familiar conditions. That said, there never was a law in sport prohibiting the opposition from playing well. Bangladesh had only to do so for an hour beyond lunch and they might have been dreaming of escaping with a draw, which would have made them feel like an Englishman winning the Ashes. More than 30 minutes had passed without undue alarm before Finn created the cracks to bring down the house.
First he removed the tourists' captain, Shakib-al-Hasan with a short, wide ball which was carved to point. The delivery followed a spell of seriously probing bowling at pace aimed the ribcage. When Shakib sensed relief was at hand he threw the kitchen sink and perished.
Finn then ended Junaid Siddique's painstakingly correct vigil after four hours with a ball that he held back slightly. Siddique knew not whether to drive or defend and lobbed a simple catch to Tim Bresnan at mid-off.
Finn took his first five-wicket haul in a Test innings in only his third match when Mushfiqur edged a ball which lifted just enough to induce the shot. Jimmy Anderson, who took five wickets in an innings at Lord's when he was younger than Finn, was unluckier on this occasion.
Again pitching the ball up as he should (though he did not open the bowling with the new ball that he had used with dramatic efficiency the previous evening) he went wicketless. It was Bresnan who snaffled the final two wickets to finish with four in the match – a decent return considering he was far from what was expected of him.
England had 73 overs to gather 160 and thanks to Andrew Strauss's urgency – he made 82 in 88 balls, following his first-innings 83 – made them by the 36th. Joined by a much more circumspect Trott after the dismissal of Alastair Cook to a debatable leg-before verdict, he took England to the brink. England have a realistic aspiration to win all six home Test matches this summer. Onward to Old Trafford.
Key moments from the final day at Lord's
11.40 Just as England might have started to get irritated, they get the break through as Shakib Al Hasan slashes Steve Finn hard to point.
12.05 At 21 years and 51 days, in his third Test and his first at home, Finn takes his first five-for in a Test innings
12.58 Tim Bresnan finishes the innings, giving 'keeper Matt Prior his fifth catch of the match. England need 160.
1.38 The first over of England's innings yields 11 runs, with Andrew Strauss in attacking mode.
2.07 England's fifty comes up after 44 balls. It is the 21st time that Strauss and Alastair Cook have shared a half-century stand for the first wicket.
2.51 Strauss reaches fifty again.
3.41 On the stroke of tea Jonathan Trott hits the winning runs.
First Test (Final day of five) Bangladesh won toss
ENGLAND First Innings 505
BANGLADESH First Innings 282
BANGLADESH Second Innings (following on)
Overnight: 328-5 (Tamim Iqbal 103, Imrul Kayes 75)
J Siddique c Bresnan b Finn......... 74
162 balls 7 fours
*S Al Hasan c Morgan b Finn......... 16
36 balls 1 four
†M Rahim c Prior b Finn......... 0
M Mahmudullah c Prior b Bresnan......... 19
49 balls 2 fours
R Hossain c Strauss b Bresnan......... 4
R Islam not out......... 0
Extras (b 7, lb 14, w 2, nb 1)......... 24
Total (110.2 overs)......... 382
Fall (cont): 6-347 (Al Hasan), 7-354 (Siddique), 8-361 (Rahim), 9-381 (Hossain), 10-382 (Mahmudullah).
Bowling: J Anderson 29-8-84-1 (w1) (4-0-21-0, 3-1-14-0, 7-1-24-0, 2-2-0-0, 4-2-7-1, 9-2-18-0), T Bresnan 26.2-9-93-3 (w1) (4-1-19-0, 7-3-36-0, 5-1-21-0, 4-0-12-1, 2-2-0-0, 4.2-1-5-2), S Finn 24-6-87-5 (nb1) (7-2-30-0, 7-2-20-2, 2-0-16-0, 8-2-21-3), G Swann 27-5-81-0 (3-0-15-0, 14-3-41-0, 3-1-8-0, 5-0-16-0, 2-1-1-0), J Trott 4-0-16-1 (0-0-0-0, 4-0-16-1).
ENGLAND Second Innings
*A J Strauss c Rahim b Al Hasan......... 82
88 balls 6 fours
A N Cook lbw b Mahmudullah......... 23
41 balls 4 fours
I J L Trott not out......... 36
75 balls 4 fours
K P Pietersen not out......... 10
13 balls 2 fours
Extras (lb 5, w 1, nb 6)......... 12
Total (2 wkts, 35.1 overs)......... 163
Fall: 1-67 (Cook), 2-147 (Strauss).
Bowling: Shahadat Hossain 2-0-19-0 (w1nb3) (one spell), Robiul Islam 1-0-12-0 (nb1) (one spell), Shakib Al Hasan 16-1-48-1 (1-0-1-0, 15-1-47-1), Rubel Hossain 1-0-8-0 (one spell), M Mahmudullah 15.1-1-71-1 (one spell).
Umpires: B F Bowden (NZ) & E A R de Silva (S Lanka).Reuse content