England openers shine in warm-up draw
England's final dress rehearsal for the first Test against Bangladesh on Thursday ended with a draw in the second two-day warm-up against BCB XI at the MA Aziz Stadium yesterday.
Responding to BCB XI's first innings score of 294 all out, an innings powered by Abdul Mazid's glittering 106 on Sunday, England XI were bowled out for 258 in 80 overs of batting, with Tanveer Haider picking up four for 58.
Openers Ben Duckett and the 19-year-old Hasib Hameed put their names in the mix, in their contrasting styles, to be skipper Alastair Cook's opening partner in the absence of Alex Hales, who chose to sit the tour out because of security concerns. The two put on 90 without loss in the morning session with Duckett hitting 60 off 101 balls with 10 boundaries. The left-hander, who also played a starring role in England's 2-1 ODI series win over the hosts, retired over the lunch break to give other batsmen a go.
"It's nice to get out in the middle and play a game as opposed to playing in the nets," Duckett said after the match. "The main thing was spending some time out in the middle and getting used to conditions."
"The wicket we played on the other day was slightly better, slightly easier to score on. This one was a little more up and down. You could still play your shots, but they bowled well this morning. Bowled very straight, which is quite hard to score off," he added.
Duckett's natural aggression was at odds with Hameed's. While Duckett needed one session to score 60, Hameed batted out two sessions to score 57 off 117 and retired during the tea interval, which England XI reached with the score on 178 for the loss of Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler -- all claimed by the part-time leg-spin of Haider.
His four hours of batting revealed a player who plays within the limits of an organised playbook and one who can bat on and on once he gets in. This quality, coupled with the long sleeves he was wearing in stifling conditions, made him seem from a different age.
He was also batting with someone who is in direct competition with him for a place in the Test side.
"We are teammates at the end of the day, so it's not necessarily competition" Duckett said when asked about his younger teammate. "Whoever plays surely deserves it. Like he did today, Haseeb can bat for days. That's the way we play, we are different players. Whoever they want to pick."
There were also reasonable outings for Ben Stokes before he was bowled for 25 by Subhashis Roy two overs after tea, and Gary Ballance, who remained not out on 36 off 75 balls. Moeen Ali was bowled by Mosaddek Hossain for 15, before Haider claimed his fourth wicket by bowling Chris Woakes. Taskin Ahmed then brought an end to the proceedings by bowling last man Gareth Batty with a Yorker 10 minutes before the close of play.
From Bangladesh's perspective, England's troubles against Haider will give them some confidence ahead of Thursday's first Test at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, where the pitch is likely to be spin-friendly. It may also mean that the chances of Sabbir Rahman, another part-time leggie who troubled England XI with three wickets in the first warm-up, getting his first cap just increased.
After the truncated first warm-up game this will have been a satisfactory outing for both teams.
SCORES IN BRIEF
BCB XI: First innings 294
ENGLAND XI: First innings 256 all out (Hameed rtd out 57, Duckett rtd out 60, Root 24, Stokes 25, Ballance 36 not out, Woakes 23; Tanveer 4-53, Taskin 1-46, Subashis 1-26, Mosaddek 1-38)
Result: Match drawn.