The wait is over, summer is here, and test cricket is back on in England. No more headlines about spot betting (also known as match fixing, to irresponsible press members) and rows about the rotation of key players, lets just talk about what happens on the pitch.
It may be a low key test series against Bangladesh, but at least it is being played in better conditions than last years early May artic test series against West Indies, a series which ended like this one might well do.
Lets be honest about it though, it may well be disrespectful to Bangladesh, and may also be to Pakistan later in the summer, but these two series are going to be used to warm up and prepare a squad to go to Australia for the Ashes later this year.
The selectors look to be using this match to check out Eoin Morgan’s test credentials. Morgan has a 1st class average of around 36, nothing flattering, but the selectors have obviously seen something they think can be worked with at test level during Morgan’s time spent in the ODI squads.
I was a bit surprised that they went with the six batsmen today, the only reason I can guess, is so they can see how Morgan does. Otherwise, surely it would have been better to give Ajmal Shahzad his chance, Shahzad has been filling the Adil Rashid role for a few months now, and we don’t want too see a repeat of that for much longer.
He deserves to be given a game, carrying drinks and net bowling is not enough. He has gained some invaluable experience of being around the squad of late, but he surely must be given a game soon, otherwise it will start to become counterproductive.
England will probably be looking to create a pool of fast bowlers in the long run. The fact that Stuart Broad has been left out, shows that the selectors are prepared to share the bowling responsibilities around more. Taking that into account, Shahzad must surely have to come in for the 2nd test.
With the prospect of England reverting back to the 5 batsmen policy later in the summer, Jonathon Trott did his chances of not being the fall guy no harm today. It might not be against the greatest bowling attack, but his 175 not out will have no doubt reminded the selectors of his powers of application and concentration, the sort of thing needed for an Ashes series, as he showed last year at the Oval.
There is a double hundred there for the taking for Trott, it is far harder to get dropped after a score of that magnitude.
All-in-all we got the predicatable day we expected, Bangladesh played well in small spells, but on the whole they look out of their depth. They don’t travel well, and it is showing. It’s hard to see anything more than a comfortable England win already, the 1st innings total should be enough to bat Bangladesh out of the game, and only really rain should prevent the obvious from happening.