England Player of the Match Dawid Malan said “handling pressure is part of the job”, after his quite superb 114 not out guided England to victory in their first ODI on the tour of Bangladesh.
Malan’s magnificent innings anchored a tense chase of 210 on a challenging surface, steering England to a three-wicket win in Mirpur.
Will Jacks (26), Moeen Ali (14) Adil Rashid (17 not out) partnered Malan for key spells, in a contest that looked to be heading Bangladesh’s way but for the intervention of Malan.
Asked about his ability to handle the pressure and guide his side home, Malan said: “If we can’t, we shouldn’t be here.
“I’ve spent a fair bit of time in Bangladesh, especially at this ground, which is nice. It definitely helps having a bit of experience.
“I definitely didn’t find it easy out there. And I just said to Jos [Buttler] if they’d have got 30-40 more runs it would have been incredibly tough to chase that.
“But credit to us, we hung in there with the ball, and managed to peg them back after they had a decent start, and then we managed to get over the line in the end.
“I think it’s expected [to lose partners and wickets] on a wicket like that, I don’t think you can walk out and think you’re going to knock the target off with only two down on this surface.
“One of the things we did really well was have small partnerships. We had a couple of 30-40 run partnerships. As Bangladesh wrestled the momentum back, we managed to find ourselves back in the game.
“It’s never easy when you’re playing on a wicket which is slow and quite hard, and you’re looking up seeing the rate climb a little bit each time. And you know they have a lot of spin to come with the tail we’ve got.
“It was satisfying in the end to get over the line, and handling pressure is part of the job. If we can’t do it, we shouldn’t be here.
“Rashid has got 10 first class hundreds, as he reminds everyone all the time. He has got a fantastic technique.
“And talking about us handling the pressure, it’s the lower order handling the pressure, who don’t really bat too often in situations like that, so all credit to them.”
In addition to paying tribute to Malan for his wonderful effort with the bat, England skipper Jos Buttler made the point that there are areas to make big improvements on before the second ODI in Mirpur on Friday.
“We are obviously delighted to win. We spoke a lot about the conditions before the match. These are the toughest conditions for us as a group to face,” Buttler said post-match.
“I thought Dawid Malan’s innings was outstanding and a great lesson for all us in the group on how you can adapt your game and play on these wickets. To come out on top is a great day for us.
“There was plenty in the wicket for both the seamers and the spinners today. I think if we’re completely honest with ourselves, we can actually improve in a lot of areas with the ball as well.
“I thought gave away too many extras, and we probably didn’t hit the lengths quite as early as we’d have liked to. But having said that, we dragged it back fantastically well.
“There’s plenty of areas to work and improve on. And it’s great to have that when you’ve won a game as well.
“We’ve got a quick turnaround and look forward to what I’m sure will be a similar challenge.
“It’s about small partnerships on wickets like these, 20/30 run partnerships actually have great value.”
England’s tour of Bangladesh schedule:
1st ODI: Wednesday March 1 – Dhaka – England win by three wickets
2nd ODI: Friday March 3 – Dhaka (live on Sky Sports from 5.30am, play starts at 6am).
3rd ODI: Monday March 6 – Chattogram (live on Sky Sports from 5.30am, play starts at 6am).
1st T20I: Thursday March 9 – Chattogram (live on Sky Sports from 8.30am, play starts at 9am).
2nd T20I: Sunday March 12 – Dhaka (live on Sky Sports from 8.30am, play starts at 9am).
3rd T20I: Tuesday March 14 – Dhaka (live on Sky Sports from 8.30am, play starts at 9am).