STAND-IN England skipper Jos Buttler savoured having the last laugh as his side claimed the spoils of a fractious series with a tense four-wicket victory over Bangladesh in Chittagong yesterday.
Vice-captain Ben Stokes was involved in a flashpoint at the post-match handshakes at the now infamous fracas in Dhaka on Sunday, but led England home with an unbeaten 47. All-rounder Chris Woakes sealed the win and a 2-1 series triumph with a straight six.
Northamptonshire’s Ben Duckett top scored with 63 while Sam Billings struck 62 as England chased down their target of 278 with 13 balls to spare. Leg-spinner Adil Rashid has earlier snared 4-43 as Bangladesh amassed 277-6.
Victory proved a fitting way for Buttler to end his stint in temporary charge, and he appeared to revel in the moment after the sizzling tensions of Dhaka where he was reprimanded for reacting to over-zealous celebrations from Bangladeshi fielders.
“It’s definitely nice to win, especially after what happened,” said Buttler. “It does feel pretty sweet to win the series.
“It is hugely satisfying. It should not be underestimated what we have achieved here. Physically it’s been a tough tour for us, and mentally as well, with everything that’s gone on before.
“This is a pretty young and inexperienced team but I thought we played really well with room for improvement as well. It’s great to learn when you’re winning, and good teams win games when they are not at their best.
“Moving forward, this tour will stand us in great stead.”
Bangladesh had won their last six one-day series on home soil, including defeats of South Africa, India and Pakistan, while England’s triumph represented their second consecutive tour success in the perennially treacherous subcontinental conditions.
England entered yesterday’s clash fifth in the one-day rankings behind Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and India, although Stokes believes his side’s latest achievement is further evidence of their potential to hit the summit.
“It’s really exciting,” said the Durham all-rounder. “If we carry on like this we’ll achieve our target of being world No1.”
England’s top three had a distinctly inexperienced feel to it although under-pressure James Vince made a fluent 32 before Billings, playing his first ODI in more than a year, and Duckett took centre stage.
A wobble was hinted at as Jonny Bairstow and then Duckett departed in quick succession to leave England 179-4 and after Buttler and Moeen Ali failed to take the tourists to victory, Stokes and Woakes joined forces to finish the job.