WHAT England captain Alastair Cook will have taken away from the first Test in Bangladesh is that it is typically a very hard place to play cricket. The pitches are slow and low, and that makes it particularly tough on the bowlers. Racking up the runs was never going to be a problem for England’s batsmen in Chittagong, and they amassed more than 800 with relative ease. You can say what you like about Test status, but one glance at the tables will show you that Cook’s men playing the Tigers is like Chelsea taking on a Conference football team.
Bangladesh’s bowling attack is not up to much and, although it was a shame he did not quite get that long-awaited century, Kevin Pietersen’s 99 was a very welcome return to form, and I would be surprised if the batsman did not follow that up with a big knock in the next Test.
Where Cook made a mistake, I think, is in not playing a second spin-bowler.
I thought Graeme Swann was terrific in claiming 10 wickets – the first time an England spinner has done so on the subcontinent – but in order to do so he had to bowl almost 80 overs, which, on that ground, is knackering. That surface just isn’t as physically demanding of seamers.
Looking ahead to the second and final Test, which gets underway on Saturday, I would sacrifice one of those seamers or opening batsman Michael Carberry and give Kent’s James Tredwell a chance to impress. Whether Cook agrees with that selection, we will have to wait and see.