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Kieswetter whets his appetite

Posted in England in UAE and Bangladesh

Craig Kieswetter will have to wait until June to dine at the one-day international table again, but he has undoubtedly reserved his place there.

The 22-year-old went into the third ODI against Bangladesh knowing another opportunity to stamp his mark at the top of the order may be some way off.

With resting captain Andrew Strauss due to return next time England play 50-over cricket, against Scotland on June 19, Kieswetter was drinking in a makeshift ‘last-chance saloon’ in Chittagong.

That may have been harsh on the exciting opener, who earned a call-up with a series of outstanding innings for England Lions in the United Arab Emirates and forced his inclusion in the one-day team with a stunning 143 versus a Bangladesh Cricket Board XI.

However, with Alastair Cook also making the most of his run in the side, Kieswetter’s ‘failures’ in the first two ODIs at Mirpur undermined his position.

In the first match, Kieswetter’s international debut, he unexpectedly had to face spin early in his innings. The right-hander looked uncomfortable and succumbed to Naeem Islam’s off-breaks.

He did not get to face any of Bangladesh’s twirlers in the second match, falling to paceman Shafiul Islam in England’s first over, and suddenly Chittagong was make or break - for his short-term one-day international future at least.

In spite of the undoubted pressure on Kieswetter, he rose to the occasion magnificently at the Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium.

Like in the first encounter, he had to face spin as early as the fourth over. This time, however, he was ready for the challenge.

Scoreboard, Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong

The scoreboard in the third one-day international at Chittagong was on first-name terms with Craig Kieswetter

Having picked up four fours in the opening 10 powerplay overs, he knuckled down after the loss of Cook but kept the scoreboard - which only had room for his first name - ticking over.

Although he did not find the rope from the end of the 14th over until the 33rd, that caused the youngster no panic. Indeed, he looked assured, even when he and Paul Collingwood found it slow going faced with a lack of pace on the ball.

A rapier-like cover drive off Suhrawadi Shuvo broke the shackles and brought Kieswetter a half-century from 80 balls.

But if the thought he had done enough to keep his place crossed his mind, he showed nothing to suggest as much.

Realising his responsibility as England’s set batsman, he continued to accumulate steadily, only giving a glimpse of what was to come when he used his feet against Mahmudullah and smashed the off-spinner for six over long-on.

With seven wickets in hand, the tourists took their batting powerplay after 41 overs. Kieswetter and Eoin Morgan cashed in.

Shakib Al Hasan was first to go to the rope as Kieswetter flayed him down the ground for a mighty maximum.

In the next over he took consecutive fours off Abdur Razzak and another soon followed off Rubel Hossain, taking him to the verge of a maiden ODI century.

That landmark, from 120 deliveries, came in the final powerplay over with a single off Rubel.

Kieswetter received hearty congratulations from Morgan, who had been oblivious to his first England hundred in the previous match when the Mirpur scoreboard and crowd were slow to react.

Eoin Morgan & Craig Kieswetter

Eoin Morgan made sure Kieswetter did not miss his milestone, as Morgan had at Mirpur in the second game of the series

Two balls later Kieswetter sent the hapless Rubel for the batsman’s third six as 55 came from the powerplay.

Razzak eventually accounted for Kieswetter in the next over, but his 107 - occupying 123 balls - set England on course for a daunting 284 for five.

A disciplined display in the field, where the specialist wicketkeeper showed no weakness without the gloves, ensured a 45-run triumph completed a 3-0 whitewash.

Kieswetter, who was unsurprisingly named man of the match, will have to wait over three months for the possibility of a fourth ODI cap.

However, his inclusion in the 30-man squad for the ICC World Twenty20 means his next international appearance may not be so far away.

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