England spinner Gareth Batty admitted his first Test appearance for more than 11 years was the most nerve-racking moment of a career spanning nearly two decades.
The 39-year-old shared new-ball duties on day two of the first Test against Bangladesh, who were also the opponents when Batty made his previous appearance in the format in June 2005 at Chester-le-Street.
The much warmer climes of Chittagong provided the venue for his comeback and a pitch offering prodigious turn saw him bowl the second over, only the third time since 1928 that England have opened a first innings with a spinner.
Bradford-born Batty was thumped for four first ball but he finished the day as the most economical of England’s three frontline spinners with 1-51, as Bangladesh closed on 221-5 in response to the tourists’ 293 all out.
Batty said of his seventh Test appearance: “You stick the shirt on, it’s an amazing feeling.
“I was very nervous, I’ve not been like that, I don’t think, ever before in my career because you want to do well and I suppose it’s a human and natural thing.
“But that’s a good thing – you’re alive, if the nerves are jangling and you’ve got an England shirt on.
“I’ve never bowled with the new ball which added to the nerves. My first ball was a bit of a pie as well so it was nice to get that one out the way. There were a few decent balls and a few balls to get better.
“As the game goes on there will always be a ball that spins big, it’s just the balls in-between.
“I leaked 10 more than I should have done – if I had gone for 40, that’s job done. A different day you might get another wicket.
“You need to look at the run rate, hold the game, don’t let them get away from you and hopefully the nick comes.”
Batty marked his comeback by snaring Tamim Iqbal, whose fine innings was ended by one that went on with the arm and a bottom edge was snaffled by wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.
The Surrey captain, who began his career at Yorkshire, looked like he enjoyed the wicket immensely and he added: “Unfortunately that’s just me.
“I suppose when you’re just an average player, you enjoy every little bit of success. I felt like I’d set him up a little bit and hopefully skidded it through and it’s nice to get very good players out.”
Ben Stokes finally claimed the first wicket by a seamer – after the previous 14 had gone to spinners – when Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim edged behind on 48 as England finished strongly.
Batty added: “That actually massively brought us back into the game and hopefully put them on the back foot a little bit more.”
Tamim believes Bangladesh remain in a promising position – despite the late blow – with all-rounders Sabbir Rahman and Mehedi Hasan, whose 6-80 was the second-best bowling figures by a Bangladeshi on debut, still to bat.
He said: “I think we are slightly at an advantaged position at the end of the second day. We still have wickets in hand. We will gain the upper hand if we can bat well in the first session.
“A batsman is never set on this wicket, even if he is batting on 70, 80 or 100.
“You will be in trouble if you think you are set. Something keeps happening every over. It is a difficult wicket.”
Tamim continued his love affair with England as his 78 was the seventh time in nine Test innings that he has gone past a half-century.
He added: “I had to work very hard for each run this innings. I would have felt bad if I made a mistake and it led to my dismissal.
“I am not too concerned about not getting a century, though I would have been happy to get a bigger score. But I will take this,” he added.
The ‘Decision Review System’ will be used in England’s forthcoming Test series against India after their hosts agreed to the technological aids for the first time.
India have long been reluctant to use the system, expressing concerns about its effectiveness.
But following modifications, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced it has sanctioned DRS on a trial basis for the five-Test series against England, which begins next month.
A statement read: “The Board of Control for Cricket in India will deploy the ‘Decision Review System’, in toto, in the forthcoming series between India and England starting from November 9, 2016, on a trial basis to evaluate the improvements made to the system, over a period of time.”
BCCI made the decision after a meeting with officials from Hawkeye, the company which devised and provides DRS’s ball-tracking facility for leg before wicket decisions.