Bell's sweet return
Ian Bell marked his recall to the one-day international arena with an assured 84 not out as England won the opening match of the NatWest Series at a canter under lights in Nottingham.
Bell, batting in the number three position vacated by the injured Kevin Pietersen, anchored England's pursuit of 251, his 80-run partnership with a less fluent Paul Collingwood ending Bangladesh’s thin hopes of victory.
Not only did Bell’s first ODI since November 2008 yield his 16th fifty in this form of the game, it earned England their eighth victory in 10 matches this year.
Bell, who batted for 101 balls, saw England to the finishing post in the company of Michael Yardy, to win by six wickets and with 29 balls remaining.
In a match notable for being the first to be televised in 3D, Bell’s batting class stood out ahead of everyone, with the possible exception of his captain Andrew Strauss.
Bangladesh go to the second match in Bristol battered and bruised, and having lost all 24 of their international matches in 2010.
Raqibul Hasan top-scored with 76, but a blow on the foot by James Anderson late in his innings kept him off the field when England batted. His own comeback to international cricket, which began today, seems destined to be put on hold.
Mushfiqur Rahim, their wicketkeeper-batsman, then took a sickening blow to the cheekbone standing up which led to him being taken off in an ambulance.
It took expert death bowling from England to prevent Bangladesh from making the commanding score they needed having won the toss.
England initially struggled to take wickets on a beautiful batting surface, but their methods of containment met with considerable success, thanks to canny pace and unusually circumspect batting from the tourists. Stuart Broad, with 2-43, was particularly good.
Their ground fielding was less impressive, though no individual actually was guilty of a howler.
England were able to stop Tamim Iqbal playing another prolonged innings of abandon at their expense.
Tamim hit Anderson out of the attack, taking 17 from his first two overs with a combination of cuts and lateral flicks off his hips.
In six overs Bangladesh raced to 40, but the first ball of Broad’s second over was slanted low across the left-hander, who was unsure whether to defend or dab through third man. The ball may have gone on to miss off stump, but Tamim’s tentative position probably cost him.
The return of Anderson from the Pavilion End was more successful, with Imrul Kayes driving him straight to extra-cover.
Junaid Siddique survived an uncertain edge inches above Craig Kieswetter’s head to take the lead in a partnership with Raqibul worth 66.
Too many boundaries came for England’s liking, with Raqibul content to use the pace of the ball to guide through third man.
Their success prompted Strauss to use Yardy and Collingwood in tandem, taking the pace off the ball in the manner of an ODI in Chittagong.
Though Siddique went to 50 from 63 deliveries, England's ploy worked in Yardy’s second over when, attempting to work to leg, Siddique was adjudged lbw.
A handsome straight drive off Collingwood earned Raqibul his seventh ODI half-century. That at least allowed him to claw back some brownie points from his team-mates, following his bizarre decision to 'retire' from international cricket on the eve of the winter's Chittagong Test in protest at his omission from the ICC World Twenty20 squad.
By this point, England had turned to the age-old solution of bouncers to the short batsmen. Raqibul was so desperate for runs that he was almost run out scampering back to a refused single.
Kieswetter had dropped Shakib Al Hasan during a Collingwood maiden, but it was not a costly miss. Shakib departed in the next over in almost identical fashion as Kayes.
A total of 300 was now a pipedream. Mushfiqur did relieve some pressure with two hauled sixes over midwicket off Anderson, before he perished for 22 trying to do the same to Tim Bresnan.
Bangladesh pondered too long over the final powerplay; it yielded just 28 runs and four wickets as England hauled them back to 250 for nine.
One of those wickets was Raqibul’s, in tragi-comedic fashion, stranded by his runner Shakib who was seeking a suicidal single.
England felt no need to hold back in reply, and it was an indication of Strauss’ confidence that he dominated an opening stand of 75 with Kieswetter.
The captain mixed trademark cuts with confident advances down the track to the new ball, hitting seven fours by the time he reached 50 in the 12th over.
But England would coast no further. The ball after celebrating his landmark, the pair pondered over a single and Strauss was run out by Mahmudullah. His decision not to dive into the crease may have made the difference.
Bangladesh, with their phalanx of spinners now deployed, immediately took the bowling powerplay in an attempt to unsettle the incoming Bell.
Kieswetter, unsure thus far, attempted to take the lead, and briefly succeeded with a couple of lusty blows. But on 32, he tried to loft Shakib over square-leg and picked out Faisal Hossain running back.
There were still 35 overs left to score the remaining 158, and the third-wicket pair knew it, biding their time with the field up.
Collingwood was so becalmed that he did not hit a four until his 44th delivery, when he swung away Abdur Razzak’s long-hop.
Mushfiqur had already let one ripper through for four byes when Faisal struck him clean on the face in the 26th over. The pained 'keeper had to be carried off on a stretcher, although Siddique did a tidy job as replacement.
England’s serenity was broken when Collingwood attempted a slog-sweep and hit straight up in the air to offer Siddique a simple catch.
Eoin Morgan, the scourge of Bangladesh in Mirpur, played freely until he picked out long-on for 23.
It mattered not a jot as Bell opened his arms on the way to the finish.