Alastair Cook – First time round, did the hard work in getting to 21, then holed out to the one man at cow corner in the worst piece of cricket of the tour (including Trott dropping a dolly). Made amends second time round with an accomplished ton in what might have been a tricky chase. Still captained by numbers, but showed more purposefulness in his field setting. England continue to have a bit of luck and win the vital moments under left-handed opening batsman captains.
Jonathan Trott – Put his hand up and took on the opening job so the fifth bowler could bowl an average of 8 overs per day. Had a bit of luck with the umpiring, as did many of his teammates, but anchored the first innings in pursuit of Bangladesh’s very decent 419. Scores ugly runs and is even uglier when not scoring them, with his scratching and scuffing. Had he hit one up in the air like his captain, England might have been 300 behind with their keeper at the crease. Trott divides opinion, but the Trumpet sees a bit of Graham Thorpe in him and that’ll do for me.
KP – 119 runs off 178 balls is the upside and yet another crazy dismissal the downside. Looks like he thinks it’s all about KP, but plays like he thinks it’s all about England.
Colly – Got the low score that The Trumpet could see coming last time round. The team veteran did his work in the First Test and deserved the quiet match in Dhaka.
Ian Bell – Arrived at the crease with England 312 runs behind and left it with England just a boundary hit from levelling the scores. That’s pretty much the brief of a middle order bat when your captain has lost the toss on a flat track – that he played some stylish strokes is a bonus. Surely his career will be defined in The Ashes later this year.
Matt Prior – Still looks anything bit a natural with the gloves on a low, slow wicket, but hit tiring bowlers well from the Number Six slot which he is likely to inherit as the clamour grows for five bowlers.
Tim Bresnan – Has the discipline and stamina to perform the stock bowler’s job and throws in the odd jaffa too at a regular 140+ kph. Batted conventionally and intelligently until outdone by one that turned and spat and might have got Sobers. So why does he have his doubters? Partly because it’s “only Bangladesh” but mainly because he doesn’t look a natural athlete and that it took a while for him to emerge from county cricket. The same can be said of Swanny, who can’t be a flash in the pan after 18 Tests can he?
Graeme Swann – Lacked his customary ebullience at times, but gave little away and probed the all too frequent gaps between bat and pad until he made something happen. Will he be found out? Not likely before The Ashes, but by then he may be too far gone to bring back to earth.
Stuart Broad – Pinned the hapless Kayes for two of his three wickets and still looks raw after 28 Tests. Barely plays county cricket, which is showing in his batting, as there is no substitute for time in the middle. Might be showing in his bowling too, as he can’t decide whether to be a quick or a fast-medium, an opening bowler or a second change. Had a little tantrum just before bowling Rahim – not much in itself, but he has so much form that he doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt.
James Tredwell – Andy Flower must have said, “Bowl long spells in support of Swanny, pick up a few wickets and strengthen the tail.” And that’s exactly what he did. Much more of a stylist with the bat than the ball (at Number Ten!) he’s in the frame with Monty and Adil Rashid behind Swanny – will we see regular spin twins to remind us of Edmonds and Emburey? Sadly, I doubt it .
Steve Finn – Trusted with just 19 of 220 overs, there were times when he looked like the work experience kid being humoured by the grown-ups. Unlike Tredwell, he has a long way to go before he will be comfortable in the Test arena, but much more likely to play 25 Tests than the baldy Kent man.
Just a quick word on the Bangla boys. The First Test did little to dispel doubters like The Trumpet of their credentials to be Test cricketers, but they came back strongly in the Second Test to give England a real fight. In Tamim Iqbal, they have a batsman in the mould of Jayasuriya, in Shakib an all-rounder shaping up to challenge Dan Vettori as the best lefty bowler/batsman in the game and the likes of Rahim and Mahmadullah visibly growing into top class performers. They’ll need more luck with the umpiring, tighter techniques with the bat and more penetration with the new ball if they are to win Tests and then series – but you can see it coming clearly now.