A brilliant rescue act by Dawid Malan, who struck a patient and classy century, has lifted England to a hard-fought three-wicket victory against Bangladesh in a low-scoring ODI in Mirpur.
Malan (114*) took his time to get into the groove and saw six partners go down at the other end before wrapping up the 210-chase with 8 balls to spare with Adil Rashid at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.
Bangladesh bowlers had tightened the screws on England batsmen by reducing them to 65 for 4 and then 161 for 7 to bolster hopes of a win.
But Malan’s calm innings, laced with 8 boundaries and 4 sixes, and Rashid’s 17* put the visitors 1-0 ahead in the 50-over affairs of the limited-overs series.
Malan has not been a regular in England's 50-over set-up, but took every opportunity that came his way over the past nine months.
He has now hit hundreds in each of the last four bilateral ODI series he has featured in and given the circumstances, this innings was the pick of them.
Shakib Al Hasan (1-45) produced a half-chance to dismiss Jason Roy (4) with the first ball of the England innings but it was marginally short of him.
But he made amends when Roy took a leading edge to Tamim Iqbal five deliveries later to bolster belief within the team, but in came Malan.
Shakib and a miserly Taskin (1-26) gave away only 13 runs in the first five overs. Taijul Islam (3-54) castled other opener Phil Salt (12) but Malan continued to swing his bat through the gaps.
Taijul had James Vince (6) stumped with an adaptive short delivery thanks to some quick work by Mushfiqur Rahim behind the stumps.
But Malan remained authoritative by slogging Taijul square of the wicket for a six.
Tamim opted to bring Taskin back into the attack and was rewarded with the scalp of the dangerous Jos Buttler for 9.
Malan then paired with Will Jacks (26) to add 38 for the fifth wicket but Mehidy Hasan Miraz, who bowled two maidens for his 2-35, took out the debutant as England crumbled to 103 for 5.
The wicket slowed down and stroking the ball appeared to get harder as Malan and Moeen Ali (14) resorted to some risky singles and doubles with the fielders squandering multiple shy at the stumps.
Malan’s gritty half-century came off 92 deliveries and the finishing line was still a long way off, but he hammered Miraz for a six and a four in successive deliveries to release some pressure.
Miraz finished his 10-over quota with the wicket of Ali with a round arm delivery before Taijul found Chris Woakes’ top edge for his third wicket as the home crowd blew the roof of the stadium. England were still 44 runs away from the win.
However, Woakes was the last Englishman to fall as Malan and Rashid showed sensibility with good running between the wickets and eye for the occasional loose deliveries to coast to the win.
Earlier, Bangladesh lost wickets regularly with only one 50-run partnership.
England bowlers ran through the hosts’ wickets for 209 in 47.2 overs sharing the spoils almost evenly as four bowlers bagged two wickets each with two others closing down innings.
Shanto continued his impressive run from the Bangladesh Premier League to topscore with a determined 58 runs off 82 balls.
Tamim Iqbal (23) chose to bat hoping the surface would get slower and lower as the match progressed.
After surviving an early caught-and-bowled scare, Tamim clubbed four boundaries with Jofra Archer struggling for line and length.
Litton Das, at the other end, blasted Chris Woakes (1-28) for a six before being trapped in front by the seamer in the next ball on review.
Shanto, who also got a reprieve when Roy failed to hold on to a tough catch at backward point, cracked two boundaries and a six to pull back the momentum.
Woakes then dragged his length back in the last over of initial powerplay to find Tamim’s elbow into the opener’s stumps as the Tigers stuttered at 54 for 2 in the powerplay and needed to consolidate again.
After a scratchy 34-ball 16, Mushfiqur fell to a catch at deep midwicket off Rashid (2-47).
When Moeen Ali darted one in, went past a heave by Shakib (8) to crash into the stumps, the partisan home crowd fell silent. Bangladesh crumbled to 106 for 4 in the 23rd over.
Shanto then kept the scoreboard ticking, reaching his maiden ODI half-century off the 67th delivery in a 53-run stand with Mahmudullah (31). After a deft reverse-sweep off Rashid for a boundary, Shanto smashed a googly straight to Roy to walk back to the hutch.
Jacks, who received his debut ODI cap from Surrey teammate Roy, bowled five five tight overs, including a maiden wicket when Afif Hossain (9) pulled tamely to mid-on.
After Mahmudullah departed to Wood (2-34) and Miraz, the Tigers’ hero in the victory over India, edged behind for 7 off Archer, worries emerged about whether Bangladesh would fall short of 200.
Taskin (14) then bludgeoned Rashid for a six and a four, forging a 26-run stand with Taijul Islam (10) to steer the team past the figure.
The second match will be played at the same ground on Friday before the teams travel to Chattogram.
After the match, Tamim said: “I thought the position we were in, we should have scored at least 30-35 more. It was a good wicket for spinners. We started well and lost three back to back wickets. 250 is gettable on this wicket.”
“Bowling unit did well, we fielded well and fought very hard. Have to give it to Malan. We tried everything in our bowling option. Whenever the wicket was there, we kept catchers in. Proud of the bowlers the way they bowled. Have to credit one man, Malan."
Malan, adjudged Man of the Match, said: “Spent a fair bit of time in Bangladesh, especially at this ground. Told Jos it would have been tough to chase if they'd have got 30-40 more. Don't think you can knock the target with two down on this surface.
“We had a few 30-40 run partnerships and that helped wrest back the game. You know they have a lot of spin. Satisfying to get over the line, handling pressure is part of the job. Rashid has got 10 FC hundreds, as he reminds everyone. He has got good technique.”
Skipper Buttler said: “We are delighted to win. Spoke a lot about conditions before the match. These are tough conditions. Malan's innings is an example for us on how to play on these wickets.”
“There was plenty on the wicket for both spinners and pacers. We gave away too many extras, didn't hit the lengths early. But dragged them back. There's plenty of areas to work and improve. It's about small partnerships on wickets like these.”