Strauss fields the questions ahead of surprise decider

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The Independent Online

Between innings at Bristol on Saturday, when everything was going more or less to tediously predictable plan, Wally Hammond was inducted into cricket's Hall of Fame. By the close, Hammond might have been spinning in his grave.

It was no way for England to mark the overdue elevation of one of the greatest of all batsmen, on the ground he graced across three decades for Gloucestershire. Defeat by Bangladesh in a one-day international was inevitable eventually but not now, not when the tourists, in grotesque form and depleted by injury, were defending a miserable total of 236 for seven, and that amount reached only because of an insipid fielding performance.

England's five-run defeat, coming after they completely mucked up what ought to have been a routine pursuit, means that the NatWest Series is improbably level at 1-1. Bangladesh, who had lost their previous 24 matches in all forms of the game, had beaten England at the 21st attempt.

It ought to have little bearing on today's suddenly decisive match in Birmingham, or on England's form for the rest of the summer. But it was what is fashionably described as a wake-up call – and if ever proof were needed that England remain a work in progress, this was it. Bangladesh were worth their victory and it was gratifying it was observed by a rapt, all but capacity attendance.

Some serious promotional activity by the Gloucestershire club has helped to make the sceptics look fools. Suddenly a three-match one-day series involving these two teams at this time of year looks a masterstroke of timing. It could and should have an effect on attendance at Edgbaston for the day match today when England, it must be presumed, will be taking nothing for granted.

Andrew Strauss, the captain, was contrite but realistically phlegmatic after the final-over defeat. Jonathan Trott, back in the side, was last man out for a stoic 94 flailing valiantly but vainly. At the other end was Ian Bell, sporting a surgical boot on his left foot, the fifth metatarsal of which he had broken while fielding. Bell is expected to miss the rest of the international summer.

Ravi Bopara has been called up to the squad, and so worryingly short of fire- power and runs has England's specialist batting become that it would be no surprise if he got a game. Although Bopara's Championship form has been nothing to write home about he made 168 for England Lions against West Indies A a few days ago and has been in reasonable Twenty20 order for Essex.

The C word, objectionable though it may be, is always the first on questioners' lips after a giant-killing act of this nature. Strauss was ready for it and denied that his team had been complacent.

"I wouldn't have thought so but at the same time we have to ask ourselves why," he said. "Was it just one of those days? Did we prepare well enough? Were we clear enough in what we were trying to do on that wicket? Did we have a hand in our own dismissals? If we did, we need to learn from that.

"We lost the last two against Australia and now we've lost this one but I'm still very happy in this one-day set-up. We're still buoyant as a group of players but you need to learn from your mistakes. There are a few to learn from today."

While Strauss and Craig Kieswetter were conducting their rumbustious opening partnership, England seemed in no danger. The home fielding, for once, had been lacklustre. Handling errors, poor throwing, lack of sharpness were all evident. The bowlers were largely up to it though it was obvious that the resting Graeme Swann is missed, and that Mike Yardy is a more influential bowler for Swann's presence.

Once the openers were gone, with Kieswetter still in need of runs, the rest of the batting fell away. It did not quite crumble but it was flabby stuff. Nobody, save for the recalled Trott who could not quite accelerate sufficiently when it counted, took responsibility.

Strauss stressed that Bangladesh were worth their win after losing eight Test matches and 12 one-dayers to England and having a horrible run this year, losing every match. They were forced into emergency changes after losing two important players, the vibrant wicketkeeper, Mushfiqur Rahim, and the top scorer in the first match, Raqibul Hasan.

Mushfiqur was hit in the face while keeping, Raqibul struck on the foot while batting. Without them, Bangladesh stuck wonderfully to their task, barely crediting England's oafish batting. The spinners kept it tight, the seamers were intermittently hostile. It was gritty stuff, with five of the bowlers each taking two wickets. With this out of their system – England were the only side they had yet to beat – they may be a different proposition today. Overnight the prospect has become less enduringly banal than temporarily intriguing.

Scorecard

County Ground, Bristol: Bangladesh beat England by 5 runs

England won toss

BANGLADESH

......... Runs......... 6s......... 4s......... Bls

T Iqbal c Kieswetter b Shahzad......... 18......... 0......... 3......... 23

I Kayes c Collingwood b Shahzad......... 76......... 0......... 4......... 111

M J Siddique c Kieswetter b Broad......... 21......... 0......... 4......... 23

†M J Islam c Kieswetter b Shahzad......... 40......... 1......... 1......... 53

S Al Hasan b Collingwood......... 1......... 0......... 0......... 3

M Ashraful run out......... 14......... 0......... 1......... 29

M Mahmudullah not out......... 24......... 0......... 0......... 34

*M B Mortaza run out......... 22......... 1......... 2......... 25

A Razzak not out......... 1......... 0......... 0......... 2

Extras (lb 4, w 12, nb 3)......... 19

Total (7 wkts, 50 overs)......... 236

Fall: 1-19, 2-65, 3-148, 4-149, 5-174, 6-196, 7-233.

Did Not Bat: S Islam, M R R Hossain.

Bowling: J M Anderson 9-0-46-0, A Shahzad 10-0-41-3, S C J Broad 10-0-60-1, L J Wright 6-0-30-0, M H Yardy 10-0-39-0, P D Collingwood 5-0-16-1.

ENGLAND

......... Runs......... 6s......... 4s......... Bls

*A J Strauss c Islam b Hossain......... 33......... 1......... 4......... 36

†C Kieswetter c Islam b Hossain......... 20......... 1......... 2......... 17

I J L Trott c Islam b Islam......... 94......... 0......... 8......... 130

P D Collingwood lbw b Razzak......... 10......... 1......... 0......... 24

E J G Morgan lbw b Razzak......... 1......... 0......... 0......... 3

M H Yardy b Al Hasan......... 10......... 0......... 0......... 24

L J Wright c Siddique b Islam......... 15......... 1......... 0......... 22

A Shahzad b Al Hasan......... 5......... 0......... 0......... 9

S C J Broad c Al Hasan b Mortaza......... 21......... 1......... 1......... 25

J M Anderson c & b Mortaza......... 2......... 0......... 0......... 7

I R Bell not out......... 0......... 0......... 0......... 0

Extras (lb 7, w 13)......... 20

Total (49.3 overs)......... 231

Fall: 1-49, 2-58, 3-86, 4-90, 5-115, 6-146, 7-166, 8-209, 9-227, 10-231.

Bowling: M B Mortaza 10-0-42-2, A Razzak 10-0-43-2, S Islam 9.3-3-38-2, M R R Hossain 9-0-52-2, S Al Hasan 10-0-40-2, M Ashraful 1-0-9-0.

Umpires: A Rauf & R K Illingworth.

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