The meteoric rise of Craig Kieswetter reached its natural conclusion here in Chittagong yesterday. Having been plucked from obscurity via South Africa to represent England only two weeks ago, he scored his maiden international century at the third time of asking. It will not be his last.
Kieswetter's innings, played at two distinct paces, was instrumental in taking the tourists to a total that was always likely to be out of Bangladesh's reach. So it proved. England's 284 for 5 was ample and they won the match by 45 runs and the series 3-0.
This was as it was meant to be but how Bangladesh will continue to rue their missed opportunity in the second game last Tuesday when they came within two measly wickets of defeating England for the first time. It was never as close as that yesterday and it was never about to be.
There can have been scant rationale to Bangladesh's decision to ask England to bat first, unless they thought, first, that the moisture in Chittagong in March could be a handful, or second, that there was something to be read into the fact that the side batting second had won five of the previous seven matches at the ground.
Maybe they reckoned that Kieswetter could be breached early and that would help create further incursions. Bangladesh had dispatched him early in the first two matches and it must have caused a few doubts where before there had been none.
It might have worked, too. Kieswetter looked distinctly uncomfortable after the early introduction of left-arm spin and a convincing case could have been made for putting his innings out of its misery. But Kieswetter worked his way through it somehow and a four pushed through point off the back foot took him off life support.
It was still fairly pedestrian stuff for a while as he lost both Alastair Cook, failing to make 50 for the first time in five innings in Bangladesh, and more resonantly Kevin Pietersen. For the 15th time in one-day internationals and the third in this series, Pietersen was out to a left-arm spin bowler but, worrying as that enduring fallibility was, he never truly settled. It looked like a trial for him.
The Test series, which begins next Friday, has assumed an importance to him out of all proportion to its lowly status in such things. England need him and he needs them, but not like this.
Kieswetter is the South African of the moment. Only the previous day, the former England captain Michael Vaughan, who was such a champion of Pietersen, had cast doubts on his eligibility for England. He is qualified, of course, for he was selected for this squad only four days after becoming formally available last month, but that is a different matter.
But Kieswetter, 22, cuts an impressively mature figure either side of the white line and he said: "I think it's going to be with me my entire career and I've just got to put up with it. But I have a British passport, I am British. Everybody is entitled to their opinion."
Sport being what it is, he will not have to play many more innings like the one yesterday to be granted honorary membership of the MCC and the freedom of Taunton. He took 80 balls to reach his first 50 but even then there were sufficient power and certainty in his strokeplay to be sure that the selectors had not been misguided in their estimation of his cricket.
The second 50 took 41 balls and Kieswetter's power and timing were plain. The boy has something and every time he goes out to bat in the years ahead South Africa will wonder how and why they lost him.
By the time Kieswetter went for 107, which contained nine fours and three sixes, England were set up. Having been contained in the first part of their innings, they broke free to score 107 runs in the last 10 overs. Eoin Morgan made 36 from 29 balls, Luke Wright 32 from 13, finishing the innings with a six.
It was too much for Bangladesh and their innings was overwhelmed by the sense that their chance of beating England for the first time had come and gone in a whirl of Morgan shots earlier in the week.
Ajmal Shahzad took a wicket with his third ball in a one-day international, having done likewise on his Twenty20 debut for Emgland in Dubai last month and, though Bangladesh threatened to mount a challenge, they lost daft wickets.
It did not help that Shakib Al Hasan, their captain, was given out lbw when the ball hit him outside the line and was missing the stumps. It lent abundant credence to the assessment of Andy Flower, England's coach, that weaker teams might suffer more from umpiring decisions.
With Shakib went Bangladesh's slender hopes. Tim Bresnan finished with 4 for 28, career-best figures. Liam Plunkett, who has been dragged around two continents by England this winter as no more than a net bowler, was at last selected because of injuries. He was given two overs. No wonder the poor lad spends so much time in the gym.
Third one-day international
England beat Bangladesh by 45 runs
Bangladesh won toss
†A N Cook c Mushfiqur Rahim b Shakib A: 32
C Kieswetter b Abdur Razzak: 107
K P Pietersen lbw b Abdur Razzak: 22
P D Collingwood c Abdur Razzak b Shuvo: 36
E J G Morgan c Iqbal b Shafiul Islam: 36
L J Wright not out: 32
T T Bresnan not out: 6
Extras (lb3 w10 pens 0) 13
Total (for 5, 50 overs) 284
Fall: 1-59 2-96 3-170 4-237 5-257
Did not bat: *M J Prior, A Shahzad, G P Swann, L E Plunkett.
Bowling: Shafiul Islam 5-0-35-1, Rubel Hossain 6-0-62-0, Abdur Razzak 10-0-40-2, Shakib Al Hasan 10-0-45-1, Naeem Islam 7-0-36-0, Shuvo 10-1-45-1, Mahmudullah 2-0-18-0.
Iqbal c Bresnan b Shahzad: 0
Kayes c Prior b Bresnan: 17
Aftab Ahmed run out: 46
*Mushfiqur Rahim c Bresnan b Swann: 40
†Shakib Al Hasan lbw b Pietersen: 38
Mahmudullah c Cook b Bresnan: 33
Naeem Islam c L J Wright b Swann: 18
Shuvo c Shahzad b Bresnan: 11
Abdur Razzak not out: 17
Islam c Prior b Bresnan: 0
Rubel Hossain not out: 2
Extras (lb3 w14 pens 0) 17
Total (for 9, 50 overs) 239
Fall: 1-0 2-40 3-96 4-125 5-162 6-204 7-211 8-228 9-228
Bowling: Shahzad 9-0-55-1, Bresnan 9-1-28-4, L J Wright 2-0-16-0, Plunkett 2-0-12-0, Collingwood 10-0-51-0, Swann 10-0-38-2, Pietersen 8-0-36-1.
Umpires: Enamul Haque and R J Tucker (Aus).
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