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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

England plod to predictable victory

Sometimes you require more than just a win to be totally satisfied with a performance. I get that feeling with England following their steady, if unspectacular, win over Bangladesh in Dhaka.

The six wicket victory was built largely on the dogged determination of Paul Collingwood and the lopsided Bangladeshi batting line-up. But England are looking for more at the moment.

It seems to me that each side lacks what the other has in spades. England seek fireworks at the top of the order, Bangladesh need calm heads in the middle of their innings.

For England, their latest candidate was Craig Kieswetter. The South African born batsmen has been in sparkling form of late and a century against a BCB XI in a warm up game in Fatullah last week cemented his place for this match.

However, he had a nervy innings before eventually falling to Naeem Islam for 19. Experiment over with, England reverted to type as they once again had to deal with the cheap loss of an opening batsmen.

For Bangladesh, Tamim Iqbal hit a splendid 125 that should have been the platform for a formidable Tigers total. Instead while he was plundering at one end, wickets were collapsing at the other - just when they needed some calm assurance to match Iqbal's youthful exuberance.

Oh how they could have done with an old-warhorse like Paul Collingwood, whose pushes and probes edged England towards their modest target of 228. He ended the game unbeaten in 75.

He had able support from Alistair Cook at the top of the order who hit 64, while Eoin Morgan and Matt Prior hit handy knocks to see England home in a workmanlike fashion with the minimum of fuss.

But can either team take anything out of the game?

England were expected to beat Bangladesh, both sides knew that. So the game was more than about winning and losing, it was looking for answers to questions that have been hanging over both sides for the past year.

Even though England's ODI odds make them firm favourites for the series, these questions will still remain.

Meanwhile, in horse racing news trainers are gearing up for this year's Cheltenham races and the Festival promises to be one of the most exciting ever.

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