Stuart Broad believes the thrilling finale that awaits England and Bangladesh on the final morning of the first Test in Chittagong today will be one of the most nerve-wracking finishes of his career.
But he claimed the tourists were happy to walk off the field at the end of an engrossing fourth day’s play that saw Bangladesh close on 253-8 in pursuit of 286 for a momentous victory.
While the Tigers are no longer the whipping boys among full member nations, they have not played Test cricket for nearly 15 months and possess a record of seven wins in the format from 93 matches – two against an under-strength West Indies and five against lowly Zimbabwe.
Indeed, the sole team they have beaten on home soil is Zimbabwe, who sit at the foot of the International Cricket Council rankings.
But they have shaken off the rust and the form book to play their part in a low-scoring Test where the momentum has swung back and forth – and with Bangladesh needing 33 runs and England requiring two wickets, the opener is still on a knife-edge.
Broad said: “I’m glad the Test has been this exciting. I don’t think anyone likes 600 v 600. Everyone is drawn to Test cricket when it is tight and exciting.
“I’ve been fortunate to play 99 Test matches and this would certainly be in my top five of nerve-wracking finishes.
“It shows how far Bangladesh cricket has come. They have some high-quality players, but we’re in a big battle and we need to come out on top.
“It’s a bit of a shame the game didn’t finish (on Sunday) – there was excitement, a lot of noise from the crowd, but from our point of view we’re quite happy coming back.
“A lot of wickets have fallen in the first hour. We can get batsman on 60 not out coming in and starting again. It could be advantage us, but 33 runs isn’t a lot either.”
Broad bowled a superb spell towards the end, taking two wickets after Gareth Batty dismissed Mushfiqur Rahim for 39 to end an 87-run stand between the Bangladesh captain and Sabbir Rahman, who is unbeaten on 59 not out on his Test debut.
Broad is hoping England can utilise any potential reverse swing in the morning in an effort to claim the final two wickets.
He said: “We’re desperate for it to move off the straight, hopefully the pitch will wear more overnight and we’ll come back and it’ll do everything.”
Broad, Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes were encouraging in the final session on a pitch that has offered plenty for the spinners, with a lot of of turn and now variable bounce, but not a lot for the seamers – at least not early on.
England opened the fourth innings with spinners bowling from both ends and Broad accepts the roles of the slow bowlers and the pacemen have been reversed in this Test and may continue to do so this winter with a five-match series to follow in India.
He said: “You’ve got to change your mindset for sure. It’s a lot of hard work for very little reward and (head coach Trevor Bayliss) is almost saying we’re doing the spinners’ job in England so we’re trying to tie up for a bit, create pressure and let the spinners do their magic.
“It is quite a different mindset and I don’t think we’re under any illusions it’s going to be a tough winter if we’re going to play on wickets like this.
“You’ve got to forget thinking you’re going to get 5-25 off six overs, you really have to work hard for your wickets and do it a different way.
“But as long as you see that as a challenge that’s exciting, it’s fine.”
Bangladesh coach Chandika Hathurusingha has urged Rahman and Taijul Islam (11no) to bat sensibly on the fifth morning.
He said: “If we bat 10 to 15 overs, we will get that target. We have to get in there, spend as much time as possible in the middle.
“I am happy to be still in the game in the fourth day against a team like England. I don’t think anyone gave us the chance four days ago.”