The England batters perhaps, including Moeen Ali, assumed that the pitch at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in the port city will be a good one to bat on, at least for the first two days, but the Bangladesh spinners, especially debutant Mehedi Hasan Miraz’s five-for, made life difficult for the visitors.
At the end of the first day, England were 258/7 with left-handed batsman Moeen top-scoring with a patient 170-ball 68. It was Moeen who showed the most fight among the England batsmen.
The visitors found it difficult to cope with the conditions and the spin-friendly wicket and according to Moeen, it was his toughest half-century yet in Test cricket.
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England's Joe Root takes a breather DHAKA TRIBUNE
The southpaw also praised the Bangladesh bowlers for putting in a disciplined performance.
“It was very tough. [Thursday] was the hardest 60 I’ve ever made. They bowled well. They bowled very accurately. And it’s not just about surviving, it’s about scoring runs. It’s tough. They set good fields,” Moeen told the media.
“They were dirty runs. It was a massive mental challenge, especially with the reviews. I kept missing the ball and they hit my pad. I couldn’t figure out why. It was a good mental challenge,” he said.
It was a rather eventful 219-minute stay at the crease as he survived five reviews, including three in an over.
“We are normally pretty tight, but we didn't speak for a session. It was a tough pitch to umpire, but what can I say? The guy gave me out three times! I knew I had a hit the first one or gloved it, there was definitely something there. [Joe] Root saved me on the other two,” he said.
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Bangladesh's Tamim Iqbal and Mehedi Hasan Miraz talk after the end of the day's play DHAKA TRIBUNE
The 29-year old went on to heap praise on debutant Miraz, informing that he bowled quite accurately, which in turn paid rich dividends for the home side.
“I thought they might open with a spinner but I didn’t think it was going to spin as much. You saw the new ball, it spun straightaway. He (Miraz) bowled very accurately with the new ball. Definitely he is a good prospect for Bangladesh,” he said.
Moeen is of the opinion that they are still in a good position and that their initial target would be to post close to 300 runs, or above, in the first innings. He added that the pitch has a lot to offer for the spinners and expressed hope that he, along with Gareth Batty and Adil Rashid, will play a vital role.