Novak Djokovic was losing the French Open semifinal against Dominic Thiem around the time England's innings was going from above-par to indomitable, and the Serbian tennis great could have used some of the astonishing forehand power that was on display at the Cardiff Wales Stadium. The straight boundaries in the oblong-shaped ground were very short and made for some comfortable six hitting, with the England batsmen hitting 14 big ones in total. Two of them, both off the bat of Jos Buttler, had the partisan crowd, radio commentators and neutrals in raptures. In the 38th over, off-spinner Mosaddek Hossain bowled a length ball and Buttler stepped back and flat-batted from waste height over the sightscreen and out of the ground -- an amazing shot given that he had to manufacture most of the power off the back foot against a slow bowler. The second was slightly more awe-inspiring and the shape of the shot was more at home on the high-bouncing clay of Roland Garros. Mohammad Saifuddin delivered a slower bouncer in the 46th over and Buttler, having skipped down the wicket, fetched it from head height and well outside off stump to deposit it over wide long off and also out of the ground.
Bowled and six
Watching the 14 sixes his teammates hit while piling on 386 for six, England pacer Jofra Archer may have been feeling left out. In the fourth over of Bangladesh's chase, the speedster produced an unplayable delivery to Soumya Sarkar -- a 143 kph ball that pitched on the left-hander's off-stump and straightened to hit the top of off. After it had done its job, however, the ball actually sailed over the keeper's head and, unbelievably, straight over the boundary ropes. It will not be in the record books, but despite the power hitting earlier from Jos Buttler and Jason Roy, it was perhaps the best 'six' of the day.
Bangladesh's ground fielding yesterday was woeful, with the instances of outfielders failing to collect balls cleanly being too numerous to count. But Bangladesh skipper Mashrafe Bin Mortaza showed how to make a fumble look good. In the 48th over, Ben Stokes miscued a slash off Mustafizur Rahman and the bal lobbed towards backward point, where Mashrafe settled under what looked like a dolly. When the ball hit palm, however, it popped out and Mashrafe failed to gather it on the second attempt. Milliseconds before it hit the turf, Mashrafe willed his dodgy knees to do his bidding and put in a dive, catching the ball with one hand. That picture alone would indicate a stellar catch, but not to those who witnessed what went before.